LOG MOUNTAIN — The Harlan Lady Dragons dropped a heart-breaker in the opening game before fading late in a straight-set loss to host Bell County in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament on Monday. The Lady Dragons pushed the first game into extra points before eventually falling 24-26, 9-25, 7-25 to the Lady Cats.
“We came out and communicated, played team ball and stuck with the game plan in the first set,” said Harlan coach Tara Posey. “We veered from that and played out of control in the next couple of games and couldn’t recover.”
The first set of Monday’s second contest proved to be the most dramatic of the entire first round. Harlan and Bell County exchanged points throughout the game.
Bell County jumped out to a 5-1 lead before Dominique Dupar delivered a kill. The Lady Cats maintained a three point lead until several miscues tied the game at seven. The Lady Dragons trailed 14-10 when Shanae Thomas reduced the deficit to three with a point on a return. Danielle Miller followed with a service point to make it 14-12. The Lady Cats’ advantage remained at two late in the contest. Bell County led 23-21, but a spike and return were long on consecutive points to tie the game at 23. A Miller serve was short on the ensuing point, but Bell’s Katie Jarvis followed with a long serve to tie the game at 24. The Lady Dragons were never unable to take the lead. Danielle Parks put the Lady Cats up with a spike for a point. Courtney Cinnamon then delivered an ace to close out the set.
Harlan was unable to recover from the opening-set loss. The Lady Dragons never led in either of the final two sets. Harlan trailed by just one at 7-6 in the second game, but the Lady Cats closed on a 18-3 run to take control. The Lady Dragons fell behind 4-0 to open the third and final set and were never able to recover.
Bell County (13-14) will take on Harlan County in the district title game today. Harlan closes the season at 6-22.