Ray Welch | Daily News

Jaylin Smith dribbled by Middlesboro’s Kailey Owens during Tuesday’s game. She finished with 11 points as the Lady Bears won 67-39.

Lady Bears pull away in second half for win over Middlesboro

MIDDLESBORO — During their current three-game winning streak, the Harlan County Lady Bears have become a second-half team. The Lady Bears had rallied for recent wins over Perry Central and Knox Central, then overcame an ugly first half Tuesday to pull away in the second half for a 67-39 victory.

“Middlesboro played hard and played well, but we weren’t very good the first half. We have to play with more intensity than that,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “We stood around too much on offense, and we just can’t do that. We looked a little better the second half.”

Senior forward Morgan Blakley sparked a 9-0 run in the third quarter that helped expand a nine-point halftime lead to 17. Blakley finished with 30 points and eight rebounds.

“Morgan took it to them, like she always does,” Green said. “I also thought Jaylin Smith was more aggressive on offense, which we have to have from her every night.”

Smith finished with 11 points as the Lady Bears improved to 11-8 overall and 3-2 in district action.

Eighth-grade guard Emrey Glover scored 10 to lead the Lady Jackets, who fell to 3-15 overall and 0-4 in district play.

The youthful Lady Jackets, who feature two starters in middle school, stayed ahead through much of the first quarter with Kailey Owens and Gracie Gent each hitting 3-pointers and Harlan County struggling to take care of the basketball with nine turnovers in the period. Two 3-pointers by Kelly Beth Hoskins and one by Hannah Wood accounted for all three HCHS baskets in the period and gave the Lady Bears a 13-12 lead by the end of the period.

Two baskets each from Blakley and Smith helped Harlan County slowly build a lead in the second period. Kassy Owens and Blakley had consecutive baskets late in the half as the Lady Bears took a 31-22 advantage into the break.

Harlan County returns to action Monday at home against Letcher Central. Middlesboro travels to Red Bird on Thursday.

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Harlan County 67, Middlesboro 39

HARLAN COUNTY (11-8)

Hannah Wood 2-6 0-0 6, Kelly Beth Hoskins 2-5 3-3 9, Jaylin Smith 3-6 5-6 11, Morgan Blakley 9-16 11-14 30, Kassy Owens 3-7 0-0 6, Dixie Ewing 1-2 1-1 3, Jaylin Preston 0-2 0-0 0, Hailey Austin 0-1 0-0 0, Kylie Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Haley Middleton 1-1 0-0 2, Izzy Kirby 0-0 0-0 0, Paige Phillips 0-0 0-0 0, Jenna Wilson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-47 20-24 67.

MIDDLESBORO (3-15)

Grace Gent 2-6 2-2 7, Keevi Betts 1-3 2-4 5, Emrey Glover 1-10 8-14 10, Kailee Owens 3-6 0-1 9, Gracie Moles 0-2 0-0 0, Kirsten Keith 1-3 0-0 2, Kamryn Keith 0-2 0-0 0, Grace Temple 1-3 2-2 4, Malaya Brown 1-3 0-0 2, Priscilla Mahler 0-0 0-0 0, Aiza Ahmad 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-40 14-21 39.

Harlan County 13 18 16 20 — 67

Middlesboro 12 10 9 8 — 39

3-point goals: Harlan County 5-14 (Wood 2-5, Hoskins 2-5, Blakley 1-1, Owens 0-1, Preston 0-1, Austin 0-1), Middlesboro 5-17 (Owens 3-4, Betts 1-1, Gent 1-5, Moles 0-2, Glover 0-5). Rebounds: Harlan County 35 (Wood 8, Blakley 8, Owens 6, Hoskins 4, Smith 4, Preston 2, Ewing 1, Middleton 1, Austin 1), Middlesboro 17 (Moles 5, Owens 4, Betts 3, Glover 2, Gent 1, Brown 1, Green 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 20, Middlesboro 25. Fouled out: Middlesboro (Gent).