Harlan County didn’t offer the warmest of welcomes for the visiting Lee Generals on Tuesday, as both the Black Bears and Lady Bears routed their Virginia counterparts. Harlan County dominated from the start in both games of the girls/boys double-header before cruising to emphatic wins.
The Lady Bears put together a nearly flawless first quarter on their way to a 59-23 victory over Lee. Harlan County outscored the Lady Generals 20-0 in the opening period to quickly take control. Seven Lady Bears scored in the opening period, led by sophomore Bella Noe with four points. Harlan County was perhaps most impressive on the glass, outrebounding Lee 17-3 in the opening period.
“We came out really focused early. We played sloppy at times last night (at Pineville), but we came out and played with a lot of energy,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan. “We got a lot of easy transition baskets out of our defense tonight, and we play better when we do that.”
Senior Sarah Evans had four points in the second quarter as Harlan County extended its lead to 22 points at the half. Evans finished with a double-double at 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Brooklyn Massingill was on fire to start the second half, opening the third quarter with four straight 3-pointers. Massingill led all scorers with 18 points. After another trey from Kaitlyn Stittums, Evans scored the final two basket of the period for Harlan County as the lead grew to 50-14.
Harlan County substituted heavily throughout the contest, with the bench accounting 21 points.
“I wanted to make sure those kids sustained that effort, and they actually extended it. We rotated as deep as we could go and those kids play hard,” Nolan said. “They work hard in practice and deserve to be rewarded.”
Harlan County (5-0) returns to action Friday at Middlesboro in a 52nd District matchup.
Coaches can always find something wrong with their team, but the Harlan County Black Bears are making that difficult for head coach Mike Jones. The Bears have certainly looked like the regional favorite through three games this season. Harlan County’s latest impressive outing came Tuesday in a 76-38 thrashing of Lee.
Much like the Lady Bears, the Harlan County boys put the game away in the first quarter. The Black Bears scored the game’s first 19 points and led 25-4 after the opening period. Seven players scored in the first quarter for Harlan County, led by senior Tyler Brewer with six points. Brewer and fellow senior Aaron Caldwell each had 12 points to lead all scorers.
Eight of Caldwell’s points came in the second quarter, as he helped the Bears build a 32-point lead at the half.
Harlan County was relentless on the defensive end of the floor, forcing the Generals into 22 turnovers in the first half.
The teams traded baskets in the third quarter, as Harlan County appeared to take its foot off the gas. The Bears’ reserves received plenty of playing time in the final two periods and helped to build the lead to as much as 41 points in the fourth quarter.
“We scored a lot of points in the first half, but I felt like we lost our intensity right before the end of the half. We just weren’t sharp at all in the second half. We will take the win and build on what we have done,” said Harlan County coach Mike Jones. “I told them at halftime that we are all pleased with their effort they are trying to give. But, you also have to execute.”
Harlan County (3-0) returns to action Friday at Middlesboro in its 52nd District opener.
Harlan County (59) — Kaitlyn Stittums 6, Brooklyn Massingill 18, Lauren Lee 2, Shannon Shackleford 2, Sarah Evans 10, Bella Noe 7, Keisha Mimes 2, Shauntae Lewis 5, Madison Cornett 0, Bridgette Bennett 2, Lauren Smith 1, Becky Freeman 4, McKenzie Farley 0.
Lee (23) — Samantha Ely 4, Courtney Tabor 0, Kelly Scott 0, Chelsey Parsons 2, Kelsey Skaggs 6, Mackenzie Arney 2, Alyson Robbins 0, Taylor Medley 0, Kayla Terry 6, Jessica Crabtree 1, Sarah Crumby 2, Savannah Resnic 0.
Harlan County (76) — Tyler Brewer 12, Alex Sergent 5, Chad Massingill 6, Aaron Caldwell 12, Tyler Miller 6, James Bond 5, Zachary Caldwell 7, Cody Bumgardner 4, Fred Massey 4, Zack Wilson 8, Trey Sanders 6, Dallas Howard 0, Kolby Vanover 0, Josh Lee 1.
Lee (38) — Dylan Houndshell 6, Kemp Yeary 6, Justin Gilliam 0, Adam Pendleton 6, Jordan Hoskins 10, Taylor Livesay 6, T.J. Edwards 0, Cody Haynes 0, Nathan Haynes 2, Brandon Gilliam 2, Zack Eldridge 0.