Lady Cats use fast start to knock off Harlan, clinch top seed

Published 3:39 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

Staff Report

The Bell County Lady Cats enter the 52nd District Tournament in two weeks as the No. 1 seed for the fifth straight year after defeating visiting Harlan 58-49 on Monday.

Bell County built a 15-point lead at halftime and extended the margin to 20 after three quarters before holding off a late Harlan rally.

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“We came out and played well early. I thought we defended well, and that led to some baskets out in transition,” Bell County coach David Teague said. “I thought we hit some shots. I was proud of the way the kids were disciplined and ran our offense in the half-court set. It was good to get out to a good start.”

Junior guard Lauren McGeorge scored 22 points to lead the 16-9 Lady Cats, hitting six of eight shots in the second quarter as the Lady Cats took control.

“She shot the ball well and hit some big 3s. She did a good job with the ball in her hands, using screens and those type things,” Teague said, “She did a good job.”

Senior forward Gracie Jo Wilder added 20 for Bell County.

Harlan (14-11 overall, 3-3 district) was led by Aymanni Wynn with 20 points and Kylie Noe with 19.

The Lady Dragons hit only one of 12 shots in the first quarter as Bell built a 12-4 lead with Wilder hitting three of four shots. The Lady Cats’ advantage grew to 31-16 at halftime as McGeorge took over in the second period.

Harlan missed 11 of 14 shots in the third quarter as Bell’s lead grew to 45-25.

The Lady Dragons battled back in the fourth quarter by forcing six turnovers and hitting 10 of 17 shots, led by four baskets from Wynn and three from Noe.

Harlan coach Mackenzie King Varner declined comment.

The Lady Dragons will play host to Pineville on Thursday. Bell County will be at home against Jackson County on Tuesday.