Lady Lions defeat Middlesboro, falls to HC

Published 8:46 am Monday, January 2, 2023

BY PAUL LUNSFORD

Contributing writer

When your team struggles offensively, it’s good to be playing another team that’s struggling, too.

Pineville shot 33 percent from the floor on 20 of 61 shooting and defeated neighboring Middlesboro 53-25 on Friday in the Chain Rock Classic.

The Lady Jackets shot 30 percent, hitting eight of 27 from the field.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win,” said Pineville coach Elgie Green.

Junior guard Nadine Johnson paced the Lady Lions with 18 points. Abby Jackson followed with 10. Malley Smith hit three 3-pointers and finished with nine points. Ava Arnett and Rachel Howard each scored seven. Kamryn Biliter added two points.

Addyson Larew scored nine points and Keevi Betts added eight for Middlesboro. Millie Roberts tossed in four and Lily Partin and Halaya Brown each had two.

Pineville outrebounded  the Lady Jackets 29-20. Howard led the Lady Lions eight boards. Johnson and Arnett pulled down six apiece. Betts grabbed six for MIddlesboro.

Both teams return to action this week in the 13th Region All “A” Classic at Harlan.

Pineville (10-4) plays on Thursday in the semifinals. Middlesboro (1-9) played Harlan (4-7) on Monday.

The Lady Jackets will host June Buchanan on Saturday and Barbourville on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Pinerville let one slip away as Harlan County needed a strong fourth quarter to defeat the host Lady Lions, 51-46.

The Lady Bears outscored Pineville 17-6 in the last period. The Lady Lions took a 40-34 lead into the fourth quarter.

Smith opened the period with a short jumper, followed by a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 40-39 at the 6:16 mark.

Following a Pineville timeout, Rachel Howard hit a pair of free throws and Ava Arnett connected on one of two to put the Lady Lions ahead by four with 4:48 to play.

Smith hit two jumpers, tying the game at 43-all with 3:42 remaining.

Harlan County had possession, holding the ball two minutes and three seconds until Nolan called timeout at the 1:38 mark.

A basketball by Karst gave HC a two-point lead until Arnett nailed a 3-pointer with 1:03 left in the game.

Karst hit four of four free throws and Griffin nailed two as Harlan sealed the win.

Smith led the Lady Bears with 20 points. Karst scored 12. Griffin finished the game with 10 points.

Hoskins collected four points while Jones added three and Phillips had two.

“Jaylin Smith hit some big shots in the fourth quarter for them,” said Pineville coach Elgie Green. “We executed our game plan. I thought we played well defensively until the fourth quarter. We didn’t make free throws.”

Taylor Lunsford was held scoreless despite foul trouble for the Lady Bears. She did grab six rebounds, as did Griffin and Smith.

Howard, a freshman forward, powered Pineville with 17 points and eight rebounds. Arnett tossed in 12 points while Johnson added 10 points and six boards. Abby Jackson scored four and Kameryn Biliter collected three points.

HC took a 10-8 edge after eight minutes, but trailed 23-20 at the break.

Harlan County (10-3) hosted South Laurel (8-6) on Tuesday before traveling to Hazard on Thursday and Lynn Camp on Monday.

The Lady Lions missed nine of 16 free throws and shot 35 percent (18 of 52) from the field.

The 10 victories already past last year’s 8-win total for Pineville. The Lady Lions are currently seventh in the 13th Region in RPI rankings.

Following the All “A” Classic, the Lady Lions will host Harlan on Tuesday, visit Barbourville on Jan. 13 and return home to face Middlesboro on Jan. 17.