Ray Welch | Daily News

Bell County coach David Teague has a discussion with his team during a timeout against Middlesboro. The Lady Cats, led by Abby Harris’ 22 points, defeated Harlan 53-44 on Tuesday.

Strong defense carries Lady Cats past Harlan

Putting up 33 and 22 points in a two-game span will draw attention, a problem that Harlan forward Natalee King faced Tuesday against visiting Bell County.

With Bell County senior forward Brea Browning chasing her all over the court, King was held to nine points and the Lady Cats pulled away late for a 53-44 district win.

“We knew had to do a good job on both King and (Payeton) Charles, and I thought we did,” Bell County coach David Teague said. “Brea did a good job on King and several of our guards played well on Charles. Our kids did a good job on defense.”

After losing two district games recently to county rival Middlesboro, the Lady Cats needed a district win against Harlan to avoid the fourth seed and a potential matchup with Harlan County in the postseason.

“This was a big win for us, especially on the road,” Teague said. “We’ve lost some tough games lately. I hope this gets us going.”

Junior guard Abby Harris scored 22 points to lead Bell County (10-14). Freshman guard Ashtyn Meyers added 18.

Harlan (7-18) was led by Charles with 13 points.

The Lady Dragons scored the game’s first four points before Meyers hit two straight 3-pointers to break a zero-for-five streak by Bell to start the game. Harris also hit a 3-pointer as the Lady Cats took an 11-8 lead after one period.

Another 3 by Harris, this one from the corner, pushed Bell’s lead to six. Another 3 by Meyers stretched the advantage to 10 before Charles, who had two of three baskets for Harlan in the quarter, hit a 3-pointer to help cut the halftime deficit to 24-15.

Harris scored six straight points in the third quarter as Bell’s lead grew to 11. Angel Wynn came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers as the Lady Dragons got as close as two. A Meyers trey extended the lead back to five, at 35-30, going into the final period.

King went out with her fifth foul, on a charge, early in the fourth quarter. Baskets by Anna Karst and Charles helped Harlan get as close as four before Bell put the game away at the free throw line.

Harlan plays host to Lynn Camp on Friday. Bell County plays host to Knox Central on Thursday.

———

Bell County 53, Harlan 44

BELL COUNTY (10-14)

Abigail Cornett 1-2 2-2 4, Ashtyn Meyers 6-18 2-3 15, Abby Harris 5-13 10-13 22, Brea Browning 1-2 0-0 2, Mackenzie Griffin 1-2 0-1 2, Ashley Middleton 0-1 1-4 1, Sarah Kidwell 2-6 0-0 4, Lenia Miracle 0-0 0-0 0, Taliyah McQueen 0-0 0-0 0, Mary-Kate Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-41 15-23 53.

HARLAN (7-18)

Payeton Charles 6-17 0-3 13, Ella Karst 4-10 0-1 9, Savanna Smith 0-4 0-0 0, Natalee King 3-5 3-4 9, Alli Thompson 1-3 0-0 2, Angel Wynn 2-7 0-0 6, Reagan Jones 1-4 0-0 2, Peighton Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylee Leslie 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Cole 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 18-51 3-10 44.

Bell County 11 13 11 18 — 53

Harlan 8 7 15 14 — 44

3-point goals: Bell County 6-15 (Meyers 4-9, Harris 2-3, Cornett 0-1, Kidwell 0-2), Harlan 5-19 (Wynn 2-5, Cole 1-1, Karst 1-3, Charles 1-6, Smith 0-4). Rebounds: Bell County 29 (Griffin 10, Browning 8, Harris 3, Kidwell 3, Middleton 2, Meyers 1, Cornett 1, Smith 1), Harlan 30 (Thompson 10, King 6, Charles 4, Smith 4, R. Jones 2, Wynn 2, Karst 1, P. Jones 1). Turnovers: Bell County 10, Harlan 11. Fouled out: None.