Cumberland kept the game close with a strong second half before falling to the Middlesboro Lady Jackets 62-54.
The Lady Jackets, who own the top seed in the upcoming 52nd District Tournament, forced 30 Cumberland turnovers with a strong full-court press.
Cumberland lost by 18 points in the teams' first meeting of the season, so coach John Bond was pleased with the Lady Skins' effort particularly in the second half as they cut into an 18-point deficit.
"Despite the loss, I'm proud of this team for their effort and not giving up when they got down in the third quarter," he said.
The Lady Skins got as close as four points late in the game, but Middlesboro freshman Sophie Robinson drained a pair of free throws and Ashley Williams closed the scoring with a shot at the buzzer.
The game was a little on the sloppy side as the teams combined for 50 turnovers compared to just 13 assists.
"This was a very physical as well as emotional game, and I think that down the wire having the homecourt advantage helped," Middlesboro coach Elgie Green said.
The Lady Jackets rolled up a 33-23 halftime advantage behind senior forward and eighth-grader Samantha Coleman, both of whom came off the bench to score nine points before the break.
Middlesboro continued to frustrate the Lady Skins as the third quarter began. Cumberland turned the ball over on six straight possessions early in the period, allowing the Lady Jackets to push their lead to 48-30.
Eighth-grader Samantha Sexton kicked off Cumberland's comeback bid with a three-point play. A Brianna Cornett layup and a three-point play by senior Sarah Adams pulled the Lady Skins within 10.
The Lady Skins trailed by eight late in the game as Middlesboro answered every Cumberland basket. Junior center Erika Letanosky came up with a basket and drew a foul. She missed the ensuing free throw, but Sexton grabbed the offensive rebound and dropped in a putback to pull the Lady Skins within four.
That was as close as Cumberland could get, however.
Letanosky and Adams led the Lady Skins with 17 and 14 points, respectively.
Middlesboro was led by Flanary with 15 points and Robinson with 14.
Cumberland (10-12) returns to action Monday at Barbourville. Middlesboro (21-7) will play host to Jackson County on Thursday.
Mallory Shoffner poured in 14 points as Middlesboro won the junior varsity contest 45-30.
Cumberland (4-7) was led by Samantha Sexton with eight points. Lyndsey Cornett and Jessica Tackett scored six apiece. Ewanna Wilson scored four, Amber Martin added three and Bria Letanosky contributed one.
Brianne Cornett 1-5 5-12 7, Kendra Russell 2-6 0-0 5, Brianna Cornett 1-4 2-4 4, Sarah Adams 6-7 2-4 14, Erika Letanosky 7-9 3-6 17, Lyndsey Cornett 0-2 1-2 1, Samantha Sexton 2-2 2-4 6. Totals: 19-35 15-32 54.
Sophie Robinson 4-13 6-7 14, Shaleesa Coleman 0-2 2-2 2, Emily Osborne 0-1 0-1 0, Amber Johnson 1-2 0-1 2, Brooklyn Jimison 5-8 1-3 11, Mary Flanary 6-8 3-5 15, Ashley Williams 3-4 0-0 6, Samantha Coleman 2-5 6-7 10, Mallory Shoffner 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 21-43 20-28 62.
Cumberland 7 16 15 16 54
Middlesboro 11 22 16 13 62
3-point goals: Cumberland 1-5 (Russell 1-4, L.Cornett 0-1), Middlesboro 0-6 (Osborne 0-1, Robinson 0-5). Rebounds: Cumberland 33 (Letanosky 8), Middlesboro 38 (Flanary 12). Assists: Cumberland 6 (Letanosky 3), Middlesboro 7 (Robinson 3). Turnovers: Cumberland 30, Middlesboro 20. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Cumberland (bench).