Senior guard Emily Osborne, who set a school record by hitting seven 3-pointers against the Lady Lions last season, nearly equaled the feat by nailing six from long range Thursday.
Osborne led all scorers with 20 points in the game and hit four treys in the first period as the Lady Jackets opened up a 20-9 lead. They gradually pulled away before emptying the bench in the fourth quarter.
“A win is a win, and we needed a win,” Middlesboro coach Elgie Green said.
He said the key was that the Lady Jackets were patient on offense.
“We watched film pretty hard and noticed that we only reversed the ball one time during the whole Cawood game,” he said. “We got most of our shots out of (running) our offense tonight. If we do that the three-pointers are going to come.
“We made the defense work harder and got some better looks at the basket.”
The Lady Lions were led by senior guard Ashley Madon's 12 points. Playing without the cast on her right wrist she regained her shooting touch and hit a pair of 3s and also went 2-of-3 from the line. Junior forward Leslie Howard added nine points for Pineville.
Middlesboro junior Brooklynn Jimison rebounded from a four-point game against Cawood on Tuesday with 15 points, including twelve in the second half. She went five-for-five from the free throw line and only turned the ball over once.
“They were packing us in a 2-3 zone and we kept moving the basketball around,” said Green. “Brooklynn kept her composure and waited for the opportunities to come.”
Ashley Williams had six points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while freshman point guard Mallory Shoffner added eight points.
Middlesboro led 34-17 at the half and 50-28 at the end of three quarters.
Green worked in young guards Carissa Overbay, Shanice Gilbert and Kristen Davis early and often to spell Osborne and Shoffner and the move seemed to pay off.
“Hopefully those kids will keep playing well enough so that we can keep playing them,” he said.
The Lady Jackets turned the ball over a season-low 20 times on Thursday.
“Pineville didn't play a lot of pressure defense, but a lot of our turnovers have been unforced,” Green said. “I thought Mallory did an excellent job taking care of the ball. She wasn't overly aggressive and she made good decisions. The more she plays the better she's going to get.”
Middlesboro (1-3, 0-1) travels to Harlan tonight for a district double-header.
Pineville (2-7) is at Lynn Camp tonight for their district opener.
- - -
Pineville 9 8 11 11 - 39
Middlesboro 20 14 16 6 - 56
PINEVILLE (39): Lindsey Roan 2, Leslie Howard 9, Genia Partin 2, Ashley Madon 12, Brittany Smith 2, Blair Combs 4, Victoria Gilley 2, Mary Elliott 6.
MIDDLESBORO (56): Ashley Williams 6, Brooklynn Jimison 15, Emily Osborne 20, Mallory Shoffner 8, Tara Gambrel 5, Shanice Gilbert 2.