An Enterprise Staff Report
When the Barbourville Lady Tigers finally found a way to score against the Harlan County defense Monday it was already too late . The Lady Bears held Barbourville without a field goal until approximately the six-minute mark in the second quarter, and cruised to a 54-40 victory over the visiting Lady Tigers.
Freshman Brooklyn Massingill provided plenty offense, scoring 16 of her team-high 21 points in the second quarter as Harlan County built a 14-point lead at the half.
“They were focusing on her a lot to start the game, but she stayed in the rhythm of the game. Our other girls did a good job of collapsing the defense and setting her up,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan.
Senior center Sarah Evans was a matchup problem for the Lady Tigers in the paint. Evans finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
“I think Sarah moved better tonight,” Nolan said. “I think our kids fed the post better tonight. We had several nice assists.”
Barbourville (14-7) featured a balanced attack as Kara Erslan scored 12 followed by Amber Mills with 11 and Kelsey Erslan with 10.
Evans took control early with three baskets in the first quarter as Harlan County took a 12-6 lead over the Lady Tigers, who missed all nine shots from the field.
Massingill took over in the second quarter, hitting six of eight shots to help the Lady Bears build a 31-17 advantage by the break.
Evans had two baskets off outbacks and Kaitlyn Stittums added one as Harlan County used a 10-0 run to stretch its lead to 45-25 with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
The Lady Tigers didn’t give up though, scoring the final six points of the third quarter to pull within 14.
A Kara Erslan 3-pointer pulled Barbourville to withing seven with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Bella Noe found Evans for a layup to stop the rally. Evans and Noe each hit two free throws in a 7-0 HCHS run to end the game.
“We got a little sloppy the second half,” Nolan said. “We executed in spurts tonight, but we were soft with the ball the second half instead of attacking the basket. We have to get to the free throw line.
Harlan County (19-3) will host Whitley County on Friday in a showdown between two of the 13th Region’s top teams.
Sophomore Bridgette Bennett scored 13 points and freshman Lindsay Branson added 12 as Harlan County downed Barbourville 49-23 in the junior varsity game.
Lauren Smith contributed nine for the Lady Bears, followed by Kaitlin Evans with seven, McKenzie Farley and Becky Freeman with three each and Leah Evans with two.
Harlan County (54) — Kaitlyn Stittums 2, Brooklyn Massingill 21, Lauren Lee 0, Bella Noe 6, Sarah Evans 18, Madison Cornett 5, Keisha Mimes 2, Shauntae Lewis 0.
Barbourville (40) — Brianna Tate 6, K.K. Liford 0, Amber Mills 11, Kelsey Erslan 10, Kara Erslan 12, Tyra Bunch 0, Madison Hicks 0.