By Chris Parsons
SOUTH LAUREL —
The Barbourville Lady Tigers lost for just the second time in 11 games Thursday, falling to Harlan County by a score of 45-38 in the opening round of the 2012 Candy Cane Classic at South Laurel High School.
Coming into the contest, Barbourville had won four straight, including first place in the 2012 Bowman Memorial Classic at Lynn Camp High School.
A slow start and a tough outing offensively doomed the Lady Tigers as they fell behind 14-9 after the first quarter and saw the Lady Black Bears extend that lead to 26-16 by the time halftime rolled around.
Barbourville head coach Andrea Hillard said the difference in the game was her team not being able to make shots when they needed to after falling behind.
“It looked like an ugly game on offense, but it was really a good defensive games on both sides,” Hillard said. “We failed to make shots when we needed to, for example, we missed 11 free throws, and that will kill you.
“Harlan is a good team though and they have some good size,” she added. “We played them well and we didn’t really allow that size to hurt us. We just didn’t make some shots down the stretch.”
Barbourville failed to reach double digits in the scoring column for the third straight quarter as Harlan County outscored them 12-9, pushing the gap to 38-25 with eight minutes left to play in the contest.
Barbourville managed to outscore the Lady Black Bears 13-7 in the final quarter, but the deficit proved too large to overcome as the Lady Tigers fell to 9-2 on the season.
Hillard and company will be back in action today at 4:30 p.m. when they face Upperman, Tenn., in the Candy Cane Classic at South Laurel High School.
Harlan County 45, Barbourville 38
Barbourville 9 7 9 13 38
Harlan Co. 14 12 12 7 45
Barbourville (38) – Ke. Erslan 12, Ka. Erslan 11, Tate 9, Mills 3, Bunch 2, Liford 1.
Harlan Co. (45) – Lee 12, Massingill 10, Cornett 8, Stittums 6, Mimes 5, Evans 4.