With the 2013 13th Region Tournament being held at Harlan County, coach Anthony Nolan likely hopes his Lady Bears can close the season the same way they opened it — with a win at home. Harlan County began that path with a 64-35 rout of visiting Williamsburg on Monday.
The Lady Bears’ trademark defensive pressure forced 13 turnovers in the first half as they pulled away to a large lead at the break.
Freshman guard Brooklyn Massingill recorded seven of her game-high 16 points in the first quarter, but the Lady Bears led by just four at 14-10.
Harlan County turned the Lady Jackets over eight times in the second quarter, resulting in five baskets. Juniors Lauren Lee and Kaitlyn Stittums each had nine points in the second as the lead grew to 40-15.
“We were aggressive in the first quarter, but we weren’t getting much out of it. We were missing some easy shots and weren’t converting our possessions. In the second quarter we started finishing the plays off, and I think they got on their heels and got a little tired,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan.
Sarah Evans had four points to lead a balanced offensive attack in the third quarter. Evans finished with seven points and nine rebounds in her first game back from offseason knee surgery.
“You could just see the smile on her face. Sarah is playing without pain, and I think that is giving her a little more confidence,” Nolan said. “We need her to give us that balance all season long.”
Harlan County substituted heavily in the second half, with several young players contributing. The Lady Bears’ bench combined for 20 points, including 14 in the final two quarters.
“We go hard in practice every day. My philosophy is practice is the hard part. I want them to go out there and just perform in the game. If they practice as hard as they can, I think the games should be easier,” Nolan said. “I think going head to head with the older kids pays off for the younger kids.”
Harlan County (1-0) will host South Laurel on Friday, while Williamsburg (0-1) will entertain McCreary Central.
Becky Freeman had 10 points to lift Harlan County to a 35-21 victory in the junior varsity contest.
Lexie Boggs recorded seven points to pace Williamsburg.
Harlan County (64) — Kaitlyn Stittums 11, Brooklyn Massingill 16, Lauren Lee 9, Keisha Mimes 1, Sarah Evans 7, Bella Noe 2, Shannon Shackleford 6, Madison Cornett 2, Shauntae Lewis 2, Becky Freeman 0, Bridgett Bennett 4, Lauren Smith 4, McKenzie Farley 0.
Williamsburg (35) — Carissa Conlin 9, Kacie Brown 10, Lexie Boggs 2, Tarrah Davis 6, Audrey Ash 0, Billie Berry 5, Chayla Anderson 0, Haley Harris 0, Sydney Tye 0, Paige Ponder 2, Marah Crusenberry Krista Jones 0.
Harlan County (35) – Bridgett Bennett 4, Lauren Smith 2, Mackenzie Farley 5, Bella Noe 7, Becky Freeman 10, Chasity Stewart 3, Kaitlin Evans 4.
Williamsburg (21) – Lexie Boggs 7, Haley Harris 2, Cheyla Anderson 6, Paige Pender 3, Marah Crusenberry 3.