Brooklyn Massingill caught fire early against Middlesboro on Tuesday, scoring 13 of Harlan’s 18 points in the first quarter. Her efforts led to a 12-point lead over Middlesboro heading into the second quarter.
The Lady Jackets fought back to cut the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t stage the comeback. Middlesboro fell to the Lady Dragons, 46-33.
“I challenged them (Middlesboro) the first few minutes of the ball game. They’re (Harlan) the best team in the region and All A champs. I said let’s step up and play,” said Middlesboro coach Ron Edwards, referencing his pregame speech. “We stepped up. It got a little bit physical, and we got to play through the bumps.
“I’m proud of my girls. We had an opportunity to score and missed. The last time we played (Harlan) the game was over in the first quarter. We’re still getting better.”
A strong defensive effort from Middlesboro held Harlan to just five points in the third quarter. The Lady Jackets cut the lead to single digits twice in the fourth before Jordan Brock extended the lead back to double digits.
“We got it down to single digits. I challenged them again. I said that was one half. You’ve got to play two halfs,” said Edwards. “We got to learn, as we get better, that we’ve got to put four quarters together. You’ve got to play night in and night out.”
Middlesboro was led by Erica Gambrel. The senior guard finished the game with 10 points. Bailey Brunsma added seven points, with the majority of them coming in the second half.
Brock and Massengill tied for a game-high 17 points apiece. Mackenzie King added nine points for Harlan.
The Green Dragons jumped out to an 8-1 lead early in the first behind Brock and Massengill. Lauren Spurlock was the only Jacket to score during that span.
Harlan ended the quarter on a 10-0 run to take an 18-6 lead heading into the second period.
Middlesboro fought the Lady Dragons toe to toe in the second. Harlan only outscored the Lady Jackets, 8-7. Middlesboro ended the quarter with a basket from Brunsma and a free throw from Gambrel. The Lady Dragons led 26-13 at the end of the half.
Middlesboro went on a 6-3 run to start the third quarter. Gambrel capped the run off with a layup to decrease the deficit to 29-19.
Massengill hit two free throws to increase the lead to 12. Another layup by Gambrel ended the quarter with the Lady Jackets trailing 31-21.
The Lady Dragons outscored Middlesboro 16-12 in the fourth quarter to secure the 13-point victory.
Harlan (17-3, 5-2) will travel to Knox Central (7-10, 3-0) on Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. start time.
Middlesboro (10-10, 0-5) will host Williamsburg (3-10, 0-2) on Friday. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Eighth-grade forward Natalee King scored 11 points as Harlan won 30-29 in junior varsity action.
Payeton Charles added eight points for the Lady Dragons. Taylor Simpson scored six. Katelyn Burkhart tossed in three. Amber King contributed two.
Freshman guard Baylee Woody scored 13 to lead Middlesboro. Aubrey Sowders added six, followed by Macey Mink with five, Brenna Voges with four and Bailey Brunsma with one.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN