Lady Jackets pull away for 53-42 win

Middlesboro continued to build momentum toward the postseason on Friday when they hosted Barbourville. A rematch from the opening round of the All A tournament, neither team held more than a six-point lead through the first three quarters.

With the help of Lakin Burke’s eight fourth-quarter points, Middlesboro pulled away in the final frame to claim a 53-42 victory over the visiting Lady Tigers.

“It was close there for a while. We’re still getting better even at this point in the year. We’re moving forward,” said Middlesboro coach Bethany Evans. “Usually in a physical game like that they kind of shut down, but tonight we didn’t. We fought back, we kept pushing (and) we didn’t quit. I’m proud of them.”

Including a lopsided victory against Red Bird on Saturday, the Lady Jackets find themselves on a three-game winning streak with the win over Pineville on Feb. 6 being the launching point. Middlesboro has two games remaining in the regular season before squaring off against Harlan County in the first round of the district tournament.

Burke paced the Lady Jackets offensively with 27 points on 12 field goals. Jamayha Poe tallied nine points, and Hannah Warren chipped in seven points on two 3-pointers and a free throw.

While she didn’t fill up the stat sheet, Malorie Carter provided Middlesboro with a spark through her intensity and energy on the floor.

“Malorie Carter played her butt off tonight,” said Evans. “She fought down low, beating, banging (and) rebounding. She played a good ball game.”

In usual fashion, Anna Daniels led Barbourville on Friday finishing with 16 points while going 6-for-8 from the charity stripe. Caylan Mills added 11 points to the final tally, while Shelbie Jones scored seven points.

Middlesboro claimed a 7-4 lead midway through the first with a 3-pointer from Warren. A 5-0 run capped by a layup from Daniels gave the Lady Tigers a 9-7 lead. Baylee Woody hit a runner to tie the game at 9-all before baskets from Daniels returned the lead to Barbourville, 14-9.

Burke hit a shot near the end of the quarter to narrow the deficit to 14-11 heading into the second.

After Barbourville opened the second with a basket, a 3-pointer and layup from Burke tied the game at 16-16 early in the period.

The Lady Tigers temporarily took the lead on a pair of free throws from Daniels, but an 8-0 run by Middlesboro helped the Lady Jackets claim a 24-18 lead with just under two minutes left in the half. Burke scored six points during that stretch before a layup from Poe capped the run.

The two teams traded baskets with a pair of free throws from Abba Smith cutting the lead to four, 26-22, heading into halftime.

Middlesboro and Barbourville nearly battled even in the third quarter with the Lady Jackets earning a one-point edge to take a 40-35 lead into the final period.

The Lady Tigers cut the lead to three, 40-37, on a pair of free throws from Mills early in the frame. Middlesboro responded with a 7-0 run that gave them a 10-point lead. Burke sparked the run with a layup off a steal and then hit two free throws to give the Lady Jackets a 44-37 lead.

Warren capped the run with a 3-pointer that gave Middlesboro a 47-37 lead that forced Barbourville to call a timeout with 5:46 left to play in the game.

Coming out of the timeout, Mills converted the and-1 to narrow the deficit to 47-40. Burke returned the lead to nine, 49-40, with a put-back basket.

The Lady Jackets hit a rough stretch from the free-throw line going 0-for-4 over the course of a minute. The Lady Tigers couldn’t capitalize going scoreless over that time as well.

Middlesboro increased their lead to 12 on a Burke layup with just over a minute to play. Free throws from Smith narrowed the deficit to 52-42, but a free throw from Warren secured the 11-point victory for the Lady Jackets.

Up Next

Middlesboro (11-13) is set to square off against Williamsburg (18-10) at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.

Barbourville (8-18) will play Corbin (7-21) on Tuesday.

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Middlebsoro 53, Barbourville 42

MIDDLESBORO (11-13)

Baylee Woody 2 2-2 6, Jamayha Poe 3 3-7 9, Hannah Warren 2 1-2 7, Malorie Carter 1 0-2 2, Lakin Burke 12 2-3 27, Kailey Owens 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 8-16 53.

BARBOURVILLE (8-18)

Anna Daniels 5 6-8 16, Shelbie Jones 3 1-3 7, Lucy Robinson 0 0-0 0, Caylan Mills 2 7-9 11, Abba Smith 1 4-4 6, Grace Jones 1 0-0 2, Brianna Gallaher 0 0-2 0. Totals: 12 18-26 42.

Middlesboro 11 15 14 13 — 53

Barbourville 14 8 13 7 — 42

3-point goals: Middlesboro 3 (Warren 2, Burke 1), Barbourville 0.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN