BEN HUR, Va. — With just over one week before the start of the 52nd District Tournament, Harlan County is running out of time to get back on track before postseason play. The Black Bears got off to a good start on Wednesday, putting together one of their best performances of the season in an 86-41 victory at Lee, Va.
“Our main concern going in was not to have a repeat performance of Barbourville. Not to overlook any more teams. We have got a week to get this thing straightened out, and the kids responded,” said Harlan County assistant coach Michael Jones.
The Black Bears opened the game on an 11-2 run and were never seriously threatened. A basket from senior Chad Massingill put Harlan County up by as much as 14 points in the first quarter, but Lee’s Adam Pendleton closed the period with a basket to make it 21-9.
Massingill was aggressive in the passing lanes throughout the night, resulting in several steals and 14 points from the senior guard.
“The last two games, Chad has played like he is capable of. We bragged on him in practice yesterday, and we need that effort out of Chad. He makes us a better team when he is playing that way,” Jones said.
Sophomore Tyler Miller had six points in the second quarter as Harlan County extended its lead to 38-24 at the half. Miller finished with 12 points despite being limited with foul trouble for much of the night.
Alex Sergent took over from the perimeter in the third quarter. Sergent drained three treys in the period to push the lead to 58-32. The senior had six 3-pointers and 20 points to lead all scorers.
“We have had confidence in Alex all year long and told him to keep shooting. One of Alex’s problems in the past is he would get down when he missed some – we don’t want him to. We want him to keep shooting if he’s got room,” Jones said. “That not only gives him confidence, but it opens it up inside.”
The lead continued to grow in the final period. The Harlan County bench accounted for 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Bears cruised to the win.
Harlan County (20-5) returns to action Saturday at home against Montgomery County at 2 p.m. in the Black Bears Classic.
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Harlan County (86) – Dylan Brewer 4, Alex Sergent 20, Chad Massingill 14, Aaron Caldwell 8, Tyler Miller 12, Cody Bumgardner 2, James Bond 7, Zach Caldwell 3, Fred Massey 5, Trey Sanders 9, Josh Lee 2.
Lee (41) – Taylor Livesay 3, Dylan Houndshell 7, Adam Pendleton 8, Jordan Hoskins 6, Zach Eldridge 9, Justin Gilliam 6, Brandon Dillman 0, D.J. Lawson 0, Dillon Webb 2.