HARLAN —The Middlesboro Lady Jackets dropped their district opener at Harlan County 71-36 on Friday.
Middlesboro got 18 points from Blair Green and 16 from Bailey Hensley, but only two points from the rest of the rest of the team agaisnt a stingy Lady Bear defense.
“I feel my two main scorers are Blair and Bailey. We just need some others to step up and hit shots. I don’t know if it’s confidence or what,” said Lady Jacket coach Elgie Green. “Those two have to average double figures and we need a few others scoring seven or eight a game. We have to find somebody else to rebound. We have to have some kids who want the basketball. We just don’t have that right now.”
Harlan County forced a Middlesboro team that had been competitive through three games into 22 turnovers and allowed just 11 made baskets in a dominant defensive effort.
“I think our defense probably took a toll on them. We were able to turn them over and get some transition baskets, which always helps us out offensively,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan.
Harlan County had success from the perimeter on the offensive end. Three Lady Bears combined to drain eight 3-pointers in the win. Sophomore Brooklyn Massingill had four treys and finished with 18 points. Junior guard Bella Noe added three from beyond the arc and finished with 13.
“We are not as big as we have been in the past right now, but we are able to put the ball on the floor and have people that can stretch the defense,” Nolan said. “We were still passing up some shots we should have took and forcing the extra pass.”
The Lady Bears outscored Middlesboro 14-6 in the first quarter to quickly take control. Sophomore guard Lindsay Branson and eighth-grade center Kaylea Gross came off of the bench to score the last seven Harlan County points in the period. The duo combined for 15 points.
Green had all six of Middlesboro’s points in the first eight minutes as well as the Lady Jackets’ only made shot from the field in the second quarter as Harlan County continued to pull away. The Lady Bears forced seven turnovers in the period, and took 38-12 advantage into the half.
Middlesboro was unable to cut into the deficit in the second half.
Green continued to carry the offensive load for the Lady Jackets. The eighth-grader recorded 10 of her 18 points in the final two quarters.
Middlesboro (2-2, 0-1) plays at Harlan on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. while Harlan County (5-0) was set to host Hazard on Monday.
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MIDDLESBORO (36) — Bailey Hensley 16, Blair Green 18, Amanda Biscardi 0, Hannah Warren 0, Morgan Thompson 1, Lauren Spurlock 0, Jamaya Poe 1, Baylie Woody 0, Malorie Carter 0.
HARLAN CO. (71) — Kaitlyn Stittums 9, Lauren Lee 2, Brooklyn Massingill 18, Bella Noe 13, Shannon Shackleford 7, Lindsay Branson 8, Kaylea Gross 7, Lauren Smith 3, Breann Turner 0, Bridgett Bennett 0, Noah Canady 2, Morgan Napier 2, Hannah Gaw 0.