BEN HUR, Va. — The Harlan County Lady Bears have found their trips to Lee, (Va.) more difficult than than expected in recent years, but they had little trouble on their latest visit across the border. The Harlan County defense held the Lady Generals without a made basket for more than 16 minutes Wednesday to cruise to a 42-24 win.
“We played good offensively in spurts. We just missed shots that we normally make. As many years as we have been coming over here we have never shot well. But, I was really proud of our defensive effort,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan.
After falling behind early, the Lady Bears’ defense quickly took control. Lee opened the game with six straight points before Sarah Evans scored in the lane for Harlan County’s first points. Brooklyn Massingill then drained a 3-pointer, while Lauren Lee and Kaitlyn Stittums followed with two straight baskets to put the Lady Bears up 9-6. Lee’s Mackenzie Arney closed the first quarter scoring with a trey to tie the game at nine.
The Lady Bears limited Lee to just one point in the second quarter as they began to pull away. Bella Noe had five points in the period while Massingill and Lee each hit 3-pointers to make it 20-10 at the half.
Harlan County held the Lady Generals without a made shot again in the third quarter, as Sarah Evans and Keisha Mimes took control in the paint. The senior duo combined for seven rebounds and six of the Lady Bears’ 10 points in the period as the lead grew to 30-13. Arney had three free throws for all of Lee’s points in the period.
“We knew we had to be strong defensively. We have focused on that all season long. It is really going to be big for us towards tournament time. They did a good job of helping each other out,” Nolan said.
The teams traded baskets in the fourth quarter as Harlan County maintained the lead. Noe and Shauntae Lewis each had four points in the final period as the Lady Bears cruised to the win.
Harlan County (22-3) returns to action Friday at Corbin in a 13th Region showdown.
“Corbin is playing really well right now. They have five players on the floor that can score and beat you off of the dribble,” Nolan said. “They are very balanced. They are playing as well as anybody in the region right now. We are going to have to go down there ready to play.”
— — —
Harlan County (42) – Kaitlyn Stittums 5, Brooklyn Massingill 6, Lauren Lee 7, Madison Cornett 2, Sarah Evans 6, Keisha Mimes 2, Shauntae Lewis 4, Bella Noe 9, Bridgette Bennett 0, Lauren Smith 0, Kaitlin Evans 0, Becky Freeman 1, Lindsay Branson 0, Leah Evans 0, Mackenzie Farley 0.
Lee (24) – Keli Scott 0, Samantha Ely 5, Courtney Tabor 2, Chelsey Parsons 5, Kelsey Skaggs 4, Mackenzie Arney 5, Alyson Robbins 0, Taylor Medley 1, Jessica Crabtree 0, Savannah Rasnic 0, Kayla Terry 0.