BARBOURVILLE — Harlan and Harlan County ended the 2016 season as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the 13th Region. Chances are very good they will enter the 2016-2017 season in the top two spots again.
The two 13th Region heavyweights squared off Thursday in the top scrimmage from the Union College Team Camp, playing close all the way before HCHS pulled ahead late on the way to a 36-32 win.
Both teams finished 5-1 in varsity action with Harlan County suffering its only loss on Wednesday with a one-point loss to Clay County.
Junior guard Blair Green and junior center Kaylea Gross carried the Lady Bears’ offense against Harlan, scoring 15 and 14 points, respectively, but it was sophomore guard Phebe McHargue who came up big at the end as she handled the ball well and hit five of six free throws in the final 70 seconds. McHargue and Breann Turner added five and two points, respectively, for HCHS.
Mackenzie King, a junior center, hit five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points to lead Harlan. Jordan Brock added eight points. Emma Bianchi and Brandi Haywood contributed four and two points, respectively.
Harlan County defeated Lynn Camp 30-12 to start Thursday’s action. Gross scored 10 to lead the Lady Bears. Reanna Middleton scored six, followed by Green, Rebecca Middleton and Lainey Cox with four each and K.K. Johnson with two.
Harlan pulled away late for a 32-15 win over Middlesboro. The Lady Jackets got as close as six in the third quarter before Brock hit a 3-pointer and Haywood added a basket to start the decisive run.
Brock hit the game-winning shot as Harlan edged Clay County in overtime. Noah Canady hit a 3-pointer to force the extra period. No score was available.
The Harlan County junior varsity team won all of its scrimmages at Union College.
Freshman guard Hannah Wood scored nine points and freshman forward Morgan Blakley added six in a 35-7 rout of Clay County on Thursday. Nikki Creech, Emily Long, Dixie Ewing and Kassye Owens scored four each. Emily Evans and Hannah Johnson contributed two each.
Harlan County led 8-3 after one quarter and 15-7 at halftime before blowing the game open with a 10-0 run in the third period sparked by Blakley, Owens, Wood and Creech. Wood, Creech, Long, Johnson and Owens had baskets as HCHS outscored Clay 10-0 in the fourth quarter.
Harlan defeated Lynn Camp 44-22, Barbourville 44-13 and Bourbon County 38-22 in varsity action Wednesday. Harlan beat Bell County 29-18 and lost to Lynn Camp 26-20 in junior varsity scrimmages.
Harlan County downed Bourbon County 44-7 and Pineville 53-28 and lost to Clay County 28-27 in varsity action Wednesday.
HCHS downed Bell County 37-3 and Clay County 50-6 in junior varsity games Wednesday. Harlan County defeated Harlan 34-14, Clay County 35-7 and Lynn Camp 40-23 in junior varsity action Thursday.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134