Lady Cats edge Middlesboro, 41-38
Published 11:51 am Monday, January 8, 2018
As all rivalry games should be, Middlesboro and Bell County were in a battle all throughout Friday’s game on Log Mountain. In a game that saw both teams score only six combined points in the first quarter, it was the Lady Cats that walked away with a 41-38 victory.
After holding a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, it was Bell County who made the right plays down the stretch to slowly pull away. It was a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Middlesboro that cut the final score to three points.
“It wasn’t always the prettiest of games. I thought both teams played really hard. I thought both teams were battling with each other. You could tell it was a rivalry game, a district game,” said Bell coach David Teague. “We’re tickled to come out on the good side of it tonight. The kids made enough plays and enough buckets down the stretch for us to hang on and find a way to win.”
On a night where Bell County shot only 22.6 percent from the field, it was Abby Harris that paced the Lady Cats with 12 points. Brittney Cupp registered another double-double finishing with 10 points and 14 rebounds. She also hit eight of her nine free-throw attempts.
Karlee Cox chipped in seven points for Bell County.
“Those little plays are huge, coming up with a rebound or going to get an offensive rebound and getting yourself to the free-throw line. In a game like that it’s huge,” said Teague. “We made a couple of big three’s there at the end…and those are some plays (against Pineville) that we didn’t make. Tonight, we were fortunate enough to make enough of them to be able to squeak out of there with a win.”
For Middlesboro, it was a heartbreaking loss after the team led for the majority of the game. The defeat gives the Lady Jackets their first district loss under new coach Bethany Evans.
Middlesboro put pressure on Bell County’s Cupp and limited the center to just one basket from the field. The Lady Jackets took good shots hitting 50 percent of their attempts from the field. They knocked down nine of their 13 free-throw attempts.
“Our game plan worked. We worked all week on trying to shut (Brittney Cupp) down, double-teaming her on the bottom. We did what we wanted to do,” said Evans. “We executed on defense. They did what we asked them to do. We just came up short.
“When we made turnovers, they want to quit and kind of get their head down. In a game like this, there’s no time for that. You’ve got to go back, and you’ve got to keep playing. We’re learning, and I think we’re moving in the right direction. We were there. That means a lot for these girls because in a lot of games they’ve not been there — they’ve not been in a winning situation.”
Lakin Burke led the Lady Jackets scoring a game-high 14 points off the bench. She also tallied three rebounds. Jamayha Poe added 10 points to the scoreboard while going a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Hannah Warren led the team in rebounds with four board while chipping in eight points.
With just over five minutes left in the third, Middlesboro held a 17-15 lead over Bell. A pair of free throws from Cupp tied the game at 17-all. A layup by Harris gave the Lady Cats a 19-17 lead.
A 3-pointer by Warren and a layup from Poe returned the lead to the Lady Jackets, 22-19. Burke hit a floater to extend the lead to 24-19.
Bell County responded with a 6-0 run that gave the Lady Cats a 25-24 lead with only seconds left in the quarter. A floater from Burke at the buzzer gave Middlesboro a 26-25 lead heading into the final quarter.
Bell County opened the fourth with a 7-0 run that was capped by a Cox layup to give Bell County a 32-26 lead. Consecutive baskets from Middlesboro cut the deficit to two, 32-30, with a little under five minutes to go in the game.
With both Davis and Cupp on the bench in foul trouble, the Lady Jackets grabbed a one-point lead, 33-32, after a free throw from Grace Moles. Both Cupp and Davis entered the game for Bell after the free throw.
The Lady Cats ended the game on an 8-2 run down the stretch before a Woody 3-pointer at the buzzer lowered the final deficit to three points.
Bell County (9-7) returns to action on Tuesday when the team travels to McCreary Central (7-11). Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Middlesboro (4-7) will be competing in the 13th Region All A Classic this week. The Lady Jackets opened the tournament against Barbourville (5-8) on Monday.
Bell County 41, Middlesboro 38
BELL COUNTY (9-7)
Brittany Davis 2 2-4 6, Lindsey Bryant 1 0-0 2, Brittney Cupp 1 8-9 10, Abby Harris 5 1-6 12, Karlee Cox 2 2-2 7, Brea Browning 1 2-7 4. Totals: 12 15-28 41.
Hannah Warren 3 0-0 8, Baylee Woody 1 0-0 3, Jamayha Poe 3 4-4 10, Malorie Carter 0 0-0 0, Grace Moles 0 1-2 1, Lakin Burke 5 4-7 14, Kailey Owens 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 9-13 38.
Bell County 2 11 12 16 — 41
Middlesboro 4 9 13 12 — 38
3-point goals: Bell County 2 (Harris 1, Cox 1), Middlesboro 3 (Warren 2, Woody 1).
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN