Middlesboro tops Bell in overtime thriller

Published 9:29 pm Friday, February 1, 2019

After defeating Bell County on Jan. 26 by 16 points on the road, Middlesboro needed every minute of game time, and then some, to hold off the Lady Bobcats in Middlesboro on Friday night.

After falling behind by as many as 21 points in the first half, the Lady Jackets rallied in the third quarter. Led by Brittany Davis with 26 points and Baylee Woody with 21, the Lady Jackets found a way to defeat the Lady Bobcats 68-66 in overtime. The Lady Bobcats were led by Abby Harris with 21 and Ashtyn Meyers with 19.

“I’m very very proud of the way our girls played,” said Middlesboro coach Scott Overbay. “We got down by a lot in the first half of the game. Our girls could have easily just laid over and let Bell County take the game, but they played very hard and fought their way back and it paid off. We knew going in that David (Teague) would have his team ready to go, and they came out ready and fast. I just can’t stress enough how happy I am with the way we responded tonight. It was a great win for us.”

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Bell County coach David Teague said: “I’m really proud of the way our girls fought tonight. I thought we did a good job of executing the game plan and doing what we needed to do. That’s a tough game to lose, and I feel for our team, but I’m proud of the way we competed.”

Bell County outscored Middlesboro 21-5 in the opening period. However, Middlesboro wasted no time chipping away at the lead. Outscoring the Lady Bobcats 16-13 in the second quarter, the Lady Jackets pulled to within a manageable deficit, with Bell County leading 34-21 at halftime.

As play resumed in the third, the Middlesboro defense stepped up and held Bell County in check, allowing only seven points in the quarter. Outscoring Bell County 17-7 in the third period, Middlesboro was able to bring the game to within a single point heading into the final quarter at 41-40, in favor of Bell County.

Brittany Davis took over the game for the Lady Jackets in the fourth quarter, with 13 of her 26 points coming in the final period, including 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. With 4:34 remaining in regulation, the Lady Jackets took a two-point lead at 45-43. The Lady Jackets held the lead until the final seconds of the game. With under 10 seconds left, Middlesboro held a 59-56. The Lady Bobcats pushed the ball up the court with hopes for one last game-tying field goal attempt. Abby Harris found Abby Cornett on the left wing for a successful three-point basket to send the game to overtime.

Middlesboro struck fast in overtime, scoring two quick buckets for a 63-59 lead. The Lady Bobcats fought back, bringing the score to 65-64. In the final 30 seconds of the game, Brittany Davis connected on three-of-four free throws, propelling Middlesboro ahead of Bell County permanently at 68-66. Bell County attempted one more shot as time expired that rimmed-out.

“Hopefully we can learn from this, and build on it,” said Teague. “We had a pretty good lead on them in the first half and I think we just took our foot off the gas a little bit. When you have a team that is as well-coached as Middlesboro, on their home floor, you can’t let up at any point. We are going to try to polish up a few things before districts roll around. I’m still incredibly proud of our girls for the way they fought tonight.”

Overbay said: “I really don’t have enough words for how well our team played in the second half of the game. Brittany stepped up in the biggest way. She hit free throw after free throw late in the game. Baylee played a great game for us, too, and I thought Kailey played a great game. I can’t stress enough how proud I am of our girls.”

Middlesboro is back in action against Pineville, at Pineville, on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. Bell County faces off against Harlan, at Harlan, on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.

Middlesboro (10-14) (68) — Brittany Davis 26, Baylee Woody 21, Kailey Owens 11, Aubrey Sowders 6, Lakyn King 3, Grace Gent 1.

Bell County (9-14) (66) — Abby Harris 21, Ashtyn Meyers 19, Abby Cornett 11, Makenzie Griffin 6, Ashley Middleton 4, Sara Kidwell 3, Brea Browning 2.