By John Middleton
For the Times-Tribune
HARLAN — The Harlan Lady Dragons were unable to finish off a signature win in their regular season finale on Friday. The Lady Dragons turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter as visiting Corbin erased a three-point deficit and pulled away for a 39-34 victory.
“Those are the things that get you beat. We won one last week this way. Once again, when you are dealing with young players, it happens,” said Harlan coach Derrick Akal. “But, I’m proud of them. They gave really good effort tonight against one of the better teams in our region.”
Both teams struggled on the offensive end in the first quarter. Corbin’s Sarah Ashley opened the scoring with a jumper. Masie Charles tied the game at two on an offensive rebound putback nearly four minutes into the period. Jordan Brock gave the Lady Dragons a two-point lead with just 28 seconds left in the first, but Corbin’s Natalye Gallagher scored on an offensive rebound as time expired to tie it at six.
A Melanie Wilson jumper gave the Lady Dragons a four-point lead midway through the second quarter, but Jourdan Ledford responded with a 3-pointer on the opposite to reduce the deficit to one. Emma Bianchi gave Harlan the lead with a three-point play at the 1:43 mark. Ledford then extended the lead with another trey with just under two minutes left in the half. Corbin’s Gallagher closed the scoring with one-of-two from the free throw line to make it 21-18 at the break.
Miranda Wilson drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Holli Disney followed with a pair of free throws as Corbin opened the second half on a five-point run. The Lady Dragons responded with a run of their own from that point. Torri Mitchell stopped the skid with a layup from on an assist by Brock. Mitchell’s basket started a 10-3 run that saw the Lady Dragons go up by as many as five points. Miranda Wilson pulled Corbin to within two at 31-29 with a 3-pointer to close the period.
Corbin’s Miranda Wilson tied the game at 31 with a baseline jumper to start the fourth quarter, but Cox put the Lady Dragons back on top with a trey. However, that was the extent of the Harlan offense in the period. The Lady Hounds closed the game with 10 straight points to pull away with the win.
“We just have to do a better job of understanding the game more. That is an experienced team we played. When you turn the ball over and don’t rebound it you are probably going to get beat,” said Akal.
Friday’s contest marked the final regular season home game for Cox, who missed the first half of the season with heart surgery.
“What Kelly has gone through transcends what basketball is about,” Akal said. “Her story going into this year is big to me. I am so happy to see her get a chance to participate in Senior Night.”
Corbin (22-8) will face Williamsburg in the opening round of the 50th District Tournament on Monday.
Corbin 39, Harlan 34
Corbin (39) – Miranda Wilson 11, Kayla Wilson 2, Brooklyn Ashurst 6, Sarah Ashley 7, Holli Disney 4, Natalye Gallagher 7, Melanie Wilson 2.
Harlan (34) – Kelly Cox 5, Jordan Brock 6, Jourdan Ledford 8, Masie Charles 6, Torri Mitchell 6, Emma Bianchi 3.