BARBOURVILLE — The Middlesboro Lady Jackets advanced to the semifinals of the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic with a 62-45 win over Oneida Baptist Institute on Tuesday.
“It’s good to get this game under our belt and get a little confidence going,” MHS coach Elgie Green said. “We’d played one game in over a week now and took a thumping at Southwestern. I thought our kids responded well from that loss and really came out and played hard. They did a lot of good things.”
Eighth-grader Blair Green scored a game-high 27 points in her first game back from a knee injury. MHS also got 14 points from Bailey Hensley, seven from Amanda Biscardi and six off the bench from seventh-grader Jamayha Poe.
OBI was led by Madison Kehler’s 18 points while Paris Obike added 17.
Obike scored after grabbing an offensive rebound in the opening minute, but the Lady Mountaineers wouldn’t score again the rest of the first quarter.
A basket from Green tied the game and Hensley knocked down a 3-pointer at the 6:00 mark to give the Lady Jackets a lead they would never relinquish.
Green finished with eight points in the first quarter as the Middlesboro lead grew to 15-2 and. Morgan Thompson’s basket early in the second quarter made it 17-2.
OBI got 3-pointers from Obike and Kehler and two free throws from Obike brought the Lady Mountaineers within 17-10 with 4:06 to play in the first half.
Middlesboro scored the final eight points of the second quarter — two putbacks by Green and four free throws by Hensley — and took a 25-10 lead into the break.
“OBI has some athletic kids. On defense they can move their feet and they were getting up and blocking some shots. I thought our girls adjusted to it and gave some head fakes, got them up and then got around them,” coach Green added.
The Lady Jackets put the game away early in the third quarter. Hensley hit one 3-pointer and a Biscardi steal led to a trey from Green. Green then blocked a shot and took the rebound coast-to-coast for a layup that made it 33-10 with 6:45 to play in the quarter.
Green would go on to score 11 of her points in the period while Biscardi and Hensley added five apiece. A 3 from Biscardi put the Lady Jackets up by 25 and a basket from Poe made it 51-24 by the end of the quarter.
“We came out at the start of the second half and hit some big shots to widen the lead there,” Green said. “As a team our players were looking more to take the open shot and that’s something we’ve got to have in order to win some games.”
Middlesboro led by as many as 31 points early in the fourth quarter but Kehler scored 11 of her points in the final period as OBI rallied to make the final margin a more respectable 17 points.
The Lady Jackets lost eighth-grade post player Malorie Carter to a foot injury early in the fourth quarter and she had to be helped to the locker room before the game was finished.
“Malorie has been doing a good job coming off the bench for us as the sixth or seventh man. She’s rebounded well for us and played good, solid defense,” Green said. “Hopefully we’ll have her Thursday. If not, somebody else will have to step into that spot and do what she’s been doing for us.”
Middlesboro (5-8) will play Harlan in Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal. The Lady Dragons advanced with a 69-28 win over Jackson County on Tuesday. OBI (1-8) hosts North Laurel on Saturday.
“Thursday night is going to be a lot tougher. We’ll have to take care of the basketball better, hit some shots early and we’ll have to keep them off the boards,” Green said.
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ONEIDA BAPTIST (45) — Paris Obike 17, Madison Kehler 18, Lauren Nichols 2, Chinonso Ibe 3, Ashley Booher 0, Essence Wilson 2, Eileen Phocas 2, Mardori Flahn 1.
MIDDLESBORO (62) — Bailey Hensley 14, Amanda Biscardi 7, Blair Green 27, Morgan Thompson 2, Hannah Warren 0, Lauren Spurlock 2, Malorie Carter 2, Jamayha Poe 6, Baylee Woody 0, Brenna Voges 2, Hannah Crawford 0, Jackie Biscardi 0, Abby Harris 0, Macy Mink 0.