Middlesboro inches past Buckhorn

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Middlesboro girls basketball team picked up a win on Wednesday in the opening day of the Chain Rock Classic. In what was a defensive game, the Lady Jackets came away with a 29-27 victory.

It was a good win for a Middlesboro team who is trying to hit the ground running after the sudden resignation of former head coach Ron Edwards.

“They’ve been through a lot, (and) the kids are resilient. They act like nothing is going on. They just want to play ball. They just want to win,” said Middlesboro coach Bethany Evans. “We’ve changed somethings up, playing a different defense, and they seem to be enjoying it a little bit. That’s what it’s all about — having fun.”

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Lakin Burke paced Middlesboro throughout the game. The eighth-grader tallied a team-high 11 points while shooting a team-best 71.4 percent from the field. She also tied for a team-high five rebounds on the night.

“She is a special kid on and off the court,” said Evans about Burke. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. She’s the hardest worker we have. She’s and inside-outside player. Anything we need her to do she’s there. We’re lucky to have her.”

Jamayha Poe chipped in 7 points for Middlesboro, while Hannah Warren added five points to the final score.

For the Lady Wildcats, it was Ally Lopez that was the catalyst of the offense. The junior guard scored a game-high 15 points while going 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. Kenzie Herald tallied 7 points.

At halftime, Buckhorn held a slim 14-13 lead over the Lady Jackets. Burke opened the third with back-to-back baskets to give Middlesboro a 17-14 lead. Poe capped the 6-0 run with a layup off a steal to increase the lead to 19-14.

The Lady Wildcats responded with consecutive baskets to narrow the margin back to one, 19-18. Middlesboro responded with a five-point turnaround with Poe hitting a pair of free throws and Burke converting an old-fashion three-point play. The short run increased the Lady Jacket lead to 24-18.

The two teams swapped baskets down the stretch with Middlesboro taking a 28-24 lead into the final quarter.

Neither team found much offense in the fourth with the two combining for only four points. Lopez converted the and-1 to narrow the deficit to 28-27 with 4:18 remaining in the game.

Buckhorn had multiple chances to take the lead before the final buzzer sounded. After a missed free throw by Kailey Owens, the Lady Wildcats grabbed the rebound. Coming out of a timeout with 37 seconds on the clock, Rebecca Lopez was called for the offensive foul.

Poe missed the ensuing free throw and Buckhorn grabbed the rebound again. This time, Kelli Estes threw the ball away on a pass, and the team was forced to foul Poe again with 8.5 seconds remaining.

Poe hit one of her free throws to increase the lead to two. Herald got off a decent shot from beyond the arc as time expired, but it bounced off the rim.

Up Next

Both teams continue play in the Chain Rock Classic on Thursday. Middlesboro battles Lee, Virginia at 3:30 p.m. Buckhorn plays Lynn Camp at 2 p.m.


Middlesboro 29, Buckhorn 27


Hannah Warren 2 0-0 5, Baylee Woody 0 1-2 1, Jamayha Poe 1 5-7 7, Malorie Carter 1 0-0 2, Grace Moles 0 0-0 0, Lakin Burke 5 1-3 11, Kailey Owen 1 1-3 3. Totals: 10 8-15 29.


Rebecca Lopez 0 0-0 0, Kelli Estes 1 0-0 3, Ally Lopez 4 5-6 15, Abbi Griffith 1 0-1 2, Kenzie Herald 1 4-6 7. Totals: 7 9-14 27.

Middlesboro 7 6 15 1 — 29

Buckhorn 10 4 10 3 — 27

3-point goals: Middlesboro 1 (Warren 1), Buckhorn 4 (A. Lopez 2, Estes 1, Herald 1).

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN