It was senior night for the Lady Dragons and Harlan hit nine 3-pointers on the way to a 53-41 win over Middlesboro on Monday.
Guard Jourdan Ledford, the Lady Dragons’ only senior, knocked down four from long range on the way to 15 points. Jordan Brock added 13 and Masie Charles nine.
The game was stopped in the first quarter so Ledford could be presented with a game ball commemorating her 1,000 career point.
“Jourdan is our only senior and she’s my first four-year player. She started with me as a freshman so it’s kind of bittersweet, I’m happy to see the career she’s had but I’m going to be sad to see her go,” Harlan coach Derrick Akal said. “I can’t say enough about Jourdan Ledford, I’m proud of her. I thought she came out tonight and played hard, she’s played hard all season. I think she’s one of the toughest defenders that we have in this region along with being an excellent 3-point shooter. It kind of hurts me that she’s leaving.”
In the early going Middlesboro (8-14, 0-6 in district play) used their 2-3 zone to clog up the inside and slow the Lady Dragon offense. Blair Green hit a 3, Lauren Spurlock converted a three-point play and Bailey Hensley converted a steal into a layup to give the Lady Jackets an 8-6 lead with 3:10 to go int he first period.
Junior Masie Charles hit her second 3-pointer of the quarter to vault Harlan (17-10, 3-3) into the lead and Jordan Brock also connected from outside as the Lady Dragons built a 14-10 lead by the end of the first quarter.
“Early on I think they had decided they weren’t going to give Jourdan Ledford or Jordan Brock 3s. That gave Masie Charles some space and she hit a couple, I think that created some other openings for Ledford and Brock,” Akal said.
“They have three or four shooters that can step out and hit the three. They’re at home, it’s senior night and they hit some big threes,” MHS coach Elgie Green said.
Harlan turned up their defensive pressure early in the second quarter and created three steals with Brock finding Emma Bianchi for a layup and Charles hitting another 3 to push the lead to 19-10.
Two free throws from Hensley and driving layup by Green helped Middlesboro stay with nine until Ledford converted a three-point play and Torri Mitchell knocked down a 3 to make it 29-14. Mitchell’s basket from close range off a nice feed from Madelynn Henson gave the Lady Dragons a 34-18 lead at the half.
The Lady Jackets kept Harlan off the board for nearly three minutes to open the second half and Hensley’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 13.
Two baskets from Green had Middlesboro within 39-25 late in the third quarter, but Ledford hit a trey and Bianchi took a steal in for a layup as Harlan’s lead was 44-25 after three.
Bianchi had big games in the two previous meetings with the Lady Jackets this season, but Middlesboro held her to just six points on Monday. She finished with a game-high 11 rebounds but didn’t dominate the glass like she did against the Lady Jackets in the All “A” Tournament.
“Lauren Spurlock did an excellent job defensively on Bianchi. She kept a body on her and the last time we didn’t do that — we were more worried about their outside game,” Green said. “Tonight, we started out in the 2-3 and they hit some shots when we got lost in it a couple of times. We had to go man and when we did that Lauren did an excellent job of not giving (Bianchi) many good looks and keeping her off the boards a little bit.”
Ledford hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as Harlan’s lead grew to 20, but the Lady Jackets got six points in the final period from Hensley and five apiece from Spurlock and Green to get as close as 10. Katie King scored a late basket for the Lady Dragons to set the final at 53-41.
“They’re a young team, but we’re younger than they are,” Green added. “We’ve got a lot of kids learning and I told them what’s important is that they competed the whole basketball game. They hung in there and they kept chewing at the lead. I was just proud of the way they finished up the game.”
Green led Middlesboro with 16 points, Hensley finished with 15 and Spurock added 10.
Harlan is off until Feb. 21 when they visit Corbin. Middlesboro hosts Whitley County in the first game of a double-header on Tuesday and home again against Barbourville on Thursday.
With district play completed for the girls, host Middlesboro will play Bell County in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament while Harlan plays Harlan County. Game times will set a meeting on Monday.
“We’ll have to play Bell in the first round. But we’ve got six games left and hopefully we’ll improve. In tournament time you never know, it’s win or go to the house and there’s been many an upset,” Green said. “These young kids have been taking a physical beating. It’s important for them to keep their heads up and stay focused and know that we’re getting better with each basketball game.”
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MIDDLESBORO (8-14, 0-6)
Blair Green 5-13 5-5 16, Bailey Hensley 4-10 6-6 15, Lauren Spurlock 3-8 4-4 10, Morgan Thompson 0-3 0-0 0, Amanda Biscardi 0-1 0-0 0, Hannah Warren 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-36 15-15 41.
HARLAN (17-10, 3-3)
Jourdan Ledford 5-13 1-1 15, Jordan Brock 6-11 0-2 13, Emma Bianchi 2-7 2-4 6, Masie Charles 3-11 0-0 9, Kaitlyn Jenkins 1-3 1-2 3, Torri Mitchell 2-8 0-0 5, McKenzie King 0-3 0-0 0, Katie King 1-1 0-0 2, Shanae Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Leah Evans 0-1 0-0 0, Madelynn Henson 0-0 0-0 0, Bethany Day 0-0 0-0 0.
|3-point goals: Middlesboro 2-11 (Green 1-2, Hensley 1-6, Spurlock 0-2, Thompson 0-1); Harlan 9-23 (Ledford 4-9, Charles 3-8, Brock 1-3, Mitchell 1-3). Rebounds: Middlesboro 27 (Green 6, Biscardi 6, Hensley 6); Harlan 39 (Bianchi 11, Jenkins 8, Brock 5). Turnovers: Middlesboro 17, Harlan 13. Total fouls: Middlesboro 8, Harlan 12. Fouled out: Middlesboro (Biscardi). |