Hazard learned what the rest of the 13th Region already knows Monday — the Harlan County defense is pretty good. The Lady Bears limited Hazard to single digits in the first half on their way to a 67-32 victory over the 14th Region foe.
Seven Lady Bears scored in the first quarter as Harlan County jumped out to a 23-7 lead. Sophomore guard Brooklyn Massingill led the way with eight points in the period. Massingill finished with 11 points to lead a balanced offensive attack.
Hazard managed just two points in the second quarter as Harlan County continued to pull away. Senior center Shannon Shackleford had four of Harlan County’s eight points in the period as the lead grew to 31-9 at the half.
“We played in spurts again tonight. It’s my fault. I rotated a lot of people. We looked really good three or four minutes at a time. But, I think our kids relaxed,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan. “Defensively, holding them to single digits is a nice accomplishment.”
Harlan County substituted heavily throughout the second half. Senior Kaitlyn Stittums and junior Lauren Smith each had four points in the third quarter as the lead grew by two. The Lady Bears’ led by 20 with one minute left in the period when Smith scored four straight.
The Harlan County bench combined for 12 points in the final period as the Lady Bears continued to pull away. Eighth-grade guard Rebecca Middleton led the group with five points.
“We don’t want to have a letdown when we go to our bench. We want them to come in and execute,” Nolan said. They go head-to-head-with (the starters) every day so they have got to be ready.”
Harlan County dominated the glass throughout the night. The Lady Bears grabbed 21 more rebounds than Hazard.
“Our kids are aggressive. Every kid can play defense and rebound. Not every kid can score, but every kid can rebound and play defense. That is heart. I think our kids crashed the boards tonight. I like the way we got the 50/50 balls,” said Nolan.
Harlan County (6-0) returns to action Friday in Lady Pirate Holiday Classic against Pikeville in Berea. Hazard (1-4) will face Allen County in the Republic Bank Classic at Lexington Catholic.
— — —
Harlan County (4-0) stayed unbeaten in junior varsity action with a 37-22 victory over Hazard.
Eighth-grader Noah Canady drained three 3-pointers and finished with nine points to lead the Lady Bears.
Breann Turner contributed seven points. Rebecca Middleton and Kaylea Gross each had six points. Taylor Johnson tallied three points. Macie Napier, Sara Napier and Lindsay Branson each added two points.
— — —
Harlan County (67) — Kaitlyn Stittums 10, Lauren Lee 5, Brooklyn Massingill 11, Bella Noe 6, Shannon Shackleford 8, Lindsay Branson 6, Kaylea Gross 3, Breann Turner 4, Bridgett Bennett 3, Lauren Smith 4, Rebecca Middleton 5, Noah Canady 0, Morgan Napier 2, Hannah Gaw 0.
Hazard (32) —Maddison Niece 16, Kellie Patrick 0, Kelsi Caudill 2, Susie Chaney 0, Brittany Miller 8, Colbi Johnson 5, Lexi Griffie 0, Morgan Robinson 1, Alyssa Mula 0, Destiny Walker 0, Kiara Walker 0.