PINEVILLE – Despite earning his 300th career win as a head coach, Anthony Nolan wasn’t in a celebratory mood following the Lady Bears’ 54-38 victory at Pineville. After knocking off 13th Region contender South Laurel and 14th region power Pulaski County in their last two outings, the Lady Bears weren’t able to put the Lady Lions away until late in Monday’s contest.
“We were flat. We were a little tired. I gave them yesterday off, and you can see the result of that,” Nolan said. “We have a tendency to play with the competition. We were not focused like we need to be, and that is my fault.”
Harlan County trailed for much of the opening quarter Monday, before taking the lead late in the period. Junior Shannon Shackleford tied the game at 11 with a free throw with 44 seconds left, and fellow junior Lauren Lee put the Lady Bears up with a basket off of a turnover.
Harlan County held Pineville to just six points in the second quarter as it began to pull away. Senior center Sarah Evans powered the Lady Bears in the period, with six of her game-high 16 points. A free throw from freshman Brooklyn Massingill gave Harlan County a 10-point lead at the half.
The teams traded baskets throughout the third quarter. A basket from Kaitlyn Stittums put the Lady Bears up by 12 early in the period, but Pineville answered with five straight points to cut the deficit to seven.
“We don’t have the size to sit there and play a half-court game with somebody. Our motto is ‘Don’t be outworked,’ and I thought they did a good job of that,” said Pineville coach Matt Shafer. “Harlan County is one of the better teams in the region, so I told my girls they have something to look forward to. We are just really young. We will get better as the season progresses.”
Harlan County’s Madison Cornett snapped the run with a layup off of a turnover, and the Lady Lions were unable to get any closer. Massingill closed the scoring with a buzzer-beating jumper from the paint to make it 38-27 after three.
Pineville continued to hang around, and trailed by just 10 early in the fourth quarter, but Harlan County closed the game on an 11-5 run to take control.
The Lady Lions (2-1) were led by junior forward Devin Enix’s 14 points. Annalee Adams and Erica Gambrel finished with eight each and Stacey Washington added six. Pineville plays at Red Bird today at 6 p.m. in the opening game of a girls-boys double-header.
Nolan began his head coaching career as the boys basketball coach at James A. Cawood before being named the girls coach at Harlan County.
“All of my wins have come in Harlan County, and I am very proud of that. I love Harlan County and hope there are 300 more in the future,” Nolan said. “I love what I do, I love the kids, and thank God for having the opportunity to do it.”
The Harlan County (4-0) hosts Lee High, Va. today as part of a double-header.
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Harlan County (54) – Bella Noe 0, Brooklyn Massingill 15, Kaitlyn Stittums 7, Keisha Mimes 2, Sarah Evans 16, Lauren Lee 9, Madison Cornett 2, Shannon Shackleford 5, Shauntae Lewis 0, Bridgette Bennett 0.
Pineville (38) – Erica Gambrell 8, Annalee Adams 8, Devin Enix 14, Rachel Barnes 2, Stacey Washington 6, Emily Mullins 0, Tiffany Sutton 0.