It was ‘Think Pink’ night at Middlesboro High School on Tuesday. Both the Lady Jackets and Bell County Lady Cats wore special black jerseys trimmed in pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On the court the Lady Cats pulled out a competitive 25-15, 25-17, 18-25, 25-17 win.
“We picked up our momentum from last week and that was good to see. We’ve got to learn to bump-set-hit and keep talking, but that momentum is what’s going to carry us through the district tournament,” Bell coach Amber Hinkle said. “We practiced hard this weekend and we’re going into the tournament hoping we can pull everything out that we’ve got.”
A strong service game, keyed by Danielle Parks and Morgan Mills, played a big role in the Lady Cat win. Though the Lady Jackets showed a lot of improvement in their ability to handle some of those serves.
“One thing I was really happy about tonight was our serve receive. Earlier in the season we were dynamite on serves and then we sort of lost it. We’re starting to get those serves back a little bit, but our serve receive was the big thing tonight,” MHS coach Mike Spradlin said. “Coming in to this late in the season it’s nice to be able to peak at something.”
After the Lady Cats took the first two sets, Middlesboro rallied to take the third and carried that momentum into the early part of the fourth set.
Junior Karrah Hart had a pair of kills in the early going and a service point from Shae Moyers put the Lady Jackets up 3-2. One kill from Katie Jarvis and two from Parks put Bell County in front 6-4, but a serve from Middlesboro’s Adreana Lefevers that the Lady Cats couldn’t return evened the score at 6-all.
Mills subbed in to serve with Bell leading 7-6 and provided two service points. The lead was 10-7 with Parks turn to serve came around and she used a strong jump serve to put the Lady Cats in control. Jarvis won two points at the net and Middlesboro couldn’t return four other serves as the lead grew to 16-7.
Hart and Jarvis traded kills and the Lady Jackets got a point from Lauren Padgett to get as close as 19-13.
Bailey Powers added a service point when Moyers spiked the ball out of a Lady Cat player and it was 20-15.
“(Powers) has been playing on the JV team and I bring her up just for serving, basically. But she’s been making a marked improvement on the rest of her play,” Spradlin said. “I’m actually pleased with the way the girls are growing. I don’t want to blow off the rest of this season, but I think next year we’ve really got something to look forward to.”
Bell County got strong serves for points from Courtney Cinnamon and Mills and then took match point when a Lady Jacket serve went out of bounds.
Hinkle said her team had spent a lot of time working on their serves over the weekend.
“We worked on that quite a bit Sunday. I know I wore Danielle out serving and going up with my blockers and working on when to go up and timing things and what to expect,” she said.
Bell County (12-13, 4-2) hosts Knox Central on Thursday with the JV match starting at 5:30 p.m. The Lady Cats host the 52nd District Tournament next Monday and Tuesday.
Middlesboro (5-18, 0-6) closes out the regular season on Thursday at Lynn Camp.