The Lady Jackets picked up their first victory of the season on Thursday as Middlesboro (1-1) defeated Barbourville (1-1), 58-44. The team showed an increase in intensity with players driving to the basket and forcing turnovers.
“Tonight, I told them we had to play with some intensity,” said Lady Jacket head coach Ron Edwards. “We dug down. We got behind and found a way to win the ball game. When we broke them down offensively, when we attacked we scored.”
The Lady Jackets were led by Bailey Hensley. The senior guard scored a team-high 18 points while going 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Baylie Brunsma and Hannah Warren aided in the effort scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Edwards said the team was able to recover from a few injuries since the game against Lynn Camp. The result was improved all-around play.
“That goes back to Monday night when we played at Lynn Camp. Bailey Hensley tweaked her ankle, Hannah (Warren) was playing on a tweaked ankle. Not making excuses, but they didn’t feel comfortable,” said Edwards. “Tonight, they let their hair down and played a little bit. We attacked and we scored.”
The coach said the team is beginning to come together.
“We’re starting to see things,” said Edwards. “It’s just the second ball game. We still got a long way to go.”
The first half was a back-and-forth battle between the Lady Jackets and Barbourville. The Lady Tigers jumped out on top 4-0 following two shots by Anna Daniels. Brunsma tied the game 4-4 after two shots of her own.
After exchanging the lead throughout the quarter, Kaylee Smith hit a two-point jumper with 15 seconds remaining in the first to give Barbourville a 13-12 lead heading into the second quarter.
Both teams stepped up their defense at the beginning of the second. Nearly two minutes ticked off the clock before Jordyn Smith hit a jumper to increase the Tiger lead to 15-12.
Hensley decreased the lead to two after hitting one of her two free throw attempts with four minutes remaining in the half. Jordyn Smith gave Barbourville a 17-13 lead after hitting both of her free throws with 2:45 remaining in the half.
The Lady Jackets ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to give them a 19-17 lead going into halftime. Middlesboro never relinquished the lead in the second half en route to a victory over the Lady Tigers.
Middlesboro (58) — Bailey Hensley 17, Erica Gambrel 9, Baylie Brunsma 11, Malorie Carter 4, Hannah Warren 10, Aubery Sowders 4, Baylee Woody 3.
Barbourville (44) — Anna Daniels 20, Whitney Brown 8, Kaylee Smith 3, Abbagail Smith 3 Jordyn Smith 10.