A meeting was held Wednesday at Harlan County High School to plan for the upcoming 52nd District Tournament, to be held Feb. 22-26 at HCHS.
The tournament will open on Monday, Feb. 22, with top-seeded Harlan playing Middlesboro at 6 p.m. The 20-4 Lady Dragons, district and region runner up each of the past two seasons, have three wins over Middlesboro this season — 68-33 at home on Dec. 8, 68-35 at Harlan in the 13th Region All “A” Classic on Jan. 14 and 46-33 at Middlesboro on Jan. 19.
Harlan is undefeated in regular-season district play but did lose twice to district opponents in the WYMT Mountain Classic in early January, falling 38-32 to Bell County in the semifinals and 48-44 to Harlan County in the consolation game. Harlan defeated Bell County 55-45 in a regular-season game on Dec 15 at Harlan.
Harlan County bounced back from the worst season in school history last year to an 18-7 mark so far this year with a starting lineup that includes no seniors or juniors. The Lady Bears defeated Bell County 71-56 on Jan. 2 at Bell County and 63-55 on Jan. 28 at HCHS.
Bell County is the defending district and region champion and has a 14-8 record overall this year with a 2-3 mark against district competition.
Middlesboro is one of the region’s most improved teams with a 12-12 record so far this season after posting a 4-20 mark in 2015.
Defending champ Harlan County will open the boys tourney on Feb. 23 against Middlesboro. The Bears, who are 6-0 in district competition, defeated Middlesboro 78-17 on Dec. 11 at HCHS and 72-23 on Feb. 2 at Middlesboro.
Bell County, seeded second at 10-13, will play Harlan in the second game at 7:45. The Bobcats defeated Harlan 62-56 on Dec. 15 at Harlan. The rematch scheduled for Tuesday at Bell County was snowed out and has not been rescheduled.
Harlan County High School Athletic Director Mark Bailey conducted the meeting Wednesday and told coaches and school officials that admission would be $5 each night. He also said the official scorekeepers would be Ronnie Cox for the girls tourney and Elizabeth Shackleford for the boys tourney, with Rodney Sellars serving as clock keeper and Rainbo Johnson as the public address announcer.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134