PINEVILLE — The Middlesboro Lady Jackets finally broke through for their first win of the season. MHS took control of the game with a decisive second quarter and coasted to a 60-40 win over Lee County Thursday at the Pine Mountain Classic.
“When you’re 0-9 any win is a step forward. I think they’re kind of relieved to get that first one out of the way. Hopefully it will carry on ‘til (Friday),” Lady Jacket coach Elgie Green said. “I really don’t think they’ve been mentally down because they know we’ve played some really good competition.”
Middlesboro was led by 7th-grade forward Blair Green’s 26 points. Freshman guard Bailey Hensley added 11 while seniors Kelsie Hensley and Carissa Padgett chipped in with six each.
The Lady Kats were led by senior guard Sara Ross with 16 points while Johan Walker added six.
The Lady Jackets opened up with a strong defensive effort, holding Lee County scoreless for nearly four minutes. Green’s steal and layup opened the scoring and Kelsie Hensley added a layup. Another basket from Green and a free throw from Padgett made it 7-0.
Lee County got on the board with 4:19 to play in the first quarter when Walker hit a free throw. Padgett scored a pair of inside baskets and the lead was 11-5 after one.
Middlesboro opened the second quarter on a 12-3 run to push the lead to 15 points. Hensley scored five points during the spurt and Green added four. A basket by Lauren Spurlock followed by a Kelsie Hensley steal and free throw made it 23-8 with 5:48 to play in the half.
The Lady Kats got a basket from Ross and a 3-pointer from Natalie Watterson to get within 12, but Green knocked down a 12-foot floater and Taylor Prater scored inside off a nice feed from Padgett. A pair of Bailey Hensley baskets off turnovers stretched the lead to 20 at 33-13 at the 2:12 mark of the second quarter and it was 35-15 at the break.
Green and Hensley hit 3-pointers in the third quarter to keep Lee County at bay.
“They’re our two outside shooters. We’re trying to get Bailey to move without the ball more so she can get those looks. A lot of times after she passes, she’ll stand and watch the ball instead of looking for the open spot. Blair will look for her shot, I don’t have to tell her,” coach Green said. “When they’re making those shots it opens up the middle, especially for Carissa. We need those three to be averaging close to double-figures each night to be successful.”
A pair of free throws from Green with 6:20 to play gave the Lady Jackets their biggest lead of the game at 52-24 and they went on to win by 20.
Both teams are back in action with two games today. Middlesboro (1-9) takes on Lynn Camp at 12:30 p.m. and host Pineville at 5:30 p.m. while Lee County (8-6) plays Pineville at 11 a.m. and Lynn Camp at 4 p.m.
“Things will be a lot more physical and a lot more intense. I just hope they’re ready to play. I still think we can step our game up a lot more,” Green added. “It’s going to be a long process this year. Hopefully by the time the All ‘A’ comes around in couple weeks we’ll be playing better.”
— — —
Middlesboro…11…24…13…12 — 60
Lee County……5…10…..7…18 — 40
MIDDLESBORO (60): Blair Green 26, Bailey Hensley 11, Kelsie Hensley 6, Carissa Padgett 6, Taylor Prater 4, Lauren Spurlock 4, Taylor Moyers 2, Amanda Biscardi 1, Sophia Knuckles 0, Hannah Warren 0.
LEE COUNTY (40): Sara Ross 16, Johan Walker 6, Savanna Noe 3, Natalie Watterson 3, Sheyene Johnson 2, Peyton Henry 2, Nickia Combs 2, Ashley Gibson 2, Jacqualine Judd 2, Samantha Estes 2, Lynsey Overbee 0, Jade Campbell 0, Katie Noe 0.