Senior Sarah Pryor, who has been sidelined since the summer with a knee injury, could be released to play today. Without her, the Lady Cats had no answer for Barbourville center Monica Mills on Tuesday as the host Lady Tigers claimed a 52-42 victory.
The 6-foot-2 senior center scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Barbourville, which was able to overcome 23 turnovers.
"She played strong, going to it and wanting the ball. Last year, she was kind of hesitant and wasn't going after it as hard," Barbourville coach Janet Jones said.
Evarts 5-foot-11 senior Caitlin Enix, making her first career start, held her own against Mills but was hampered by foul trouble for much of the game. She fouled out in the fourth quarter, finishing with four points and five rebounds.
Enix wasn't the only Evarts player who experienced foul trouble. Junior Beth Cochran also fouled out, and junior Amy Baird and freshman April Shackleford each picked up four fouls. Barbourville went to the line 26 times, compared to just 10 for the Lady Cats.
Evarts coach Ed Harris, in his first game at the helm, said he was pleased with his team's execution, and particularly with the Lady Cats' aggressive defensive effort.
"We're thin, so we got tired. But we had a good game plan we were going to play man in the first half, then come out in the second half and go to that trap. It worked perfectly, but then we slacked off. We just don't have the numbers," he said.
The Lady Cats trailed 24-9 late in the second quarter before closing the period with a 6-0 run to cut Barbourville's lead to nine. Enix and Samantha Cochran each scored a basket and senior guard Brittany Cornett connected on two free throws in the run.
Evarts picked up where it left off in the third quarter. After surrendering a short jumper to Mills, the Lady Cats embarked on a 12-1 run. Junior guard Tiffany Jones scored four points in the run and Cornett's second 3-pointer knotted the game at 27-27 with 3:52 to play in the period.
The score was 29-29 with less than a minute remaining before Mills scored two consecutive second-chance baskets to put the Lady Tigers on top 33-29 heading into the final period.
Shackleford knocked down a short jumper to open the fourth quarter, but Barbourville (1-0) rallied with a free throw by Kaitlyn Doan and an offensive rebound and putback by Shawna Reid to stretch the margin to five. The Lady Cats could get no closer than three the rest of the way.
Cornett paced Evarts (0-1) with 15 points and also dished out five assists. Jones scored seven for the Lady Cats, and sophomore Samantha Cochran came off the bench to add six.
Harris said he was particularly pleased with the performance of his younger players, several of whom saw significant action due to foul problems.
"I had contributions off the bench I never dreamed of. I had an eighth-grader play great; I had freshmen play great. Everybody that came off the bench contributed," he said.
The Lady Cats fell behind 5-0 to open the game but tied the score with a trey by Cornett and a basket inside by Enix. Barbourville, however, scored the final nine points of the period, including six by Mills, to take a 14-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Jones said her team must get greater offensive contributions from other players.
"We had a lot of guards looking at her. We've got to have some more scoring out of other people," she said.
Callie Mills added 12 points, including 10 in the first half, for Barbourville.
Evarts returns to action Thursday at home against Bell County, while the Lady Tigers will travel to Williamsburg.
Callie Mills scored 13 points and Samantha Grubb added 12 as Barbourville claimed a 40-24 victory in junior varsity action.
Kendra Williams paced Evarts with 10 points, and Kayla McCreary and Brooke Ward added four each. Rounding out the scoring were Sierra Cochran and April Shackleford with two each, and Samantha Cochran and Mindy Smith with one apiece.