The Bell County Lady Cats made quick work of the Middlesboro Lady Jackets in Wednesday’s make-up game. Bell raced out to a 28-2 lead early in the second quarter and coasted to a 58-29 win in 52nd District action.
“We were just glad to get to play. With the weather we hadn’t played in about twelve days and had just one game in the last 18 or 19 days,” Bell County coach David Teague said. “Anytime you can pick up a district win it’s a big one. I thought the kids came out with a lot of focus and energy. I think they were just eager to be back out on the floor playing.”
Junior guard Maci Morris led the Lady Cats with 14 points while senior guard Morgan Garnett added 10. Bell County also got seven points each from Jess Sanders and Sarah Collins, six from Kelli Smith, and five each from Katrina Johnson and Allison Howard.
Sophomore guard Bailey Hensley led Middlesboro with 12 points while Amanda Biscardi added five and Blair Green four.
The Lady Cats seized control early as they held the Lady Jackets to just a Green basket in the first quarter. Morris, Sanders and Garnett all hit 3s in the opening period with Morris totalling seven points in the frame, Sanders five and Smith four as the lead was 19-2 after one.
“We were just playing straight-up man to begin the game and I thought our kids did their jobs well and followed their assignments like we had talked about in practice,” Teague added.
A basket by Anna Howard made it 28-2 by the 4:45 mark of the second quarter. Middlesboro got 3s from Biscardi and Hensley, but a basket from Bethany Miracle put Bell’s lead at 35-11 by halftime.
“We’re just not physically and mentally in the same league with them right now,” Lady Jacket coach Elgie Green said. “We looked mentally and physically tired in the first quarter and we weren’t very competitive.”
Bell County’s defense continued to limit the scoring opportunities for the Lady Jackets in the third quarter. MHS managed just one basket and a free throw from Hensley and a Lauren Spurlock basket off a pretty pass inside from Hensley in the period.
Meanwhile, the Lady Cats got baskets from Morris, Sanders, Smith, Garnett and Collins as the lead grew to 46-16 after three quarters.
Threes from Baylee Woody and Hensley along with three free throws from Hensley after getting fouled on a 3, got Middlesboro as close as 24 points in the final period. The Lady Jackets also got a basket from Green and a layup after a steal by Biscardi in the quarter.
“Middlesboro played hard. I know Elgie plays a lot of young kids, but they keep playing and I give them a lot of credit for that,” Teague said. “Our defensive intensity was good and we were able to get a lot of things out of transition.”
Collins and Howard scored three points each, Morris and Johnson added baskets and two free throws from Caleigh Collett set the final at 58-29.
“Bell County is the number one team in the Mountains. Coming in, you know it’s a game that if you win it’s because you played your best ballgame and they played bad. But we just never gave ourselves a chance to be in the ballgame,” Green said. “Right now we’re just struggling.”
Bell County (13-3, 3-0 in district play) was scheduled to play at Clay County on Thursday. Middlesboro (6-11, 0-3) is set to visit Pineville on Friday.
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MIDDLESBORO (29) — Bailey Hensley 12, Amanda Biscardi 5, Lauren Spurlock 2, Blair Green 4, Hannah Warren 1, Morgan Thompson 2, Malorie Carter 0, Baylee Woody 3, Jamayha Poe 0.
BELL COUNTY (58) — Maci Morris 14, Morgan Garnett 10, Kelli Smith 6, Jess Sanders 7, Katrina Johnson 5, Sarah Collins 7, Kaitlyn Taylor 0, Allison Howard 5, Caleigh Collett 2, Bethany Miracle 2, Alex Brock 0, Kaylia Hoskins 0.