By John Henson / For The Times Tribune

Good defense and a timely trio of 3-pointers turned the momentum Tuesday for Harlan in the third quarter and lifted the Lady Dragons to a 60-52 win over visiting Williamsburg in the 13th Region All “A” Classic.

Harlan (8-6) trailed by one at halftime before finding the intensity on defense after the break that coach Chuck Mitchell was seeking.

“I thought we came out lackadaisical in the first half defensively,” Mitchell said. “We weren’t checking cutters, and our on-the-ball defense was terrible. We were going through the motions.

“We came out after halftime and picked up the intensity a little bit. We got back to our game plan, which is push the basketball and pound it inside.”

Williamsburg (8-7) hit only three of 17 shots in the third quarter, falling behind 42-37.

“We didn’t shoot it well,” Williamsburg coach Jim Rains said. “We’d go three or four possessions and not score, and they would get a basket. Over a period of time, that’s the difference in the game.”

“Usually, third quarter is something we struggle with,” Mitchell said. “We started focusing on that about three weeks ago, and we came out of the gate after halftime and played better defense to get back in the game.”

While the Lady Jackets were struggling, Harlan began to heat up offensively as Alex Allison hit a pair of 3-pointers and Caroline Huff added one to put the Lady Dragons in control going into the final period.

“Our team just doesn’t quit,” Mitchell said. “We’re playing several sophomores and freshmen, and they don’t know what pressure is. They’re just playing the game.”

Harlan built a 15-10 lead after one quarter as Lawson had two baskets and Huff and Charlene McMillen each added one.

Sophomore forward Kat Hoffman, who led Williamsburg with 22 points and 17 rebounds, had four baskets in the second quarter as the Lady Jackets closed the period with an 8-2 run to take their first lead at 26-25.

“Hoffman is a very good player,” Mitchell said.

After Allison and Huff gave Harlan the lead, Mitchell turned the game over to Chassidy Lawson in the fourth quarter. The sophomore forward continued her recent stellar play by hitting three straight shots on the way to a 24-point, 13-rebound performance.

“We think if we can get the ball in her hands, she’s going to do something with it,” Mitchell said.

Lawson scored all of Harlan’s points in a 7-2 run that pushed the lead to 10, including a highlight-reel play when she blocked a shot, scooped up the ball and went the length of the court for a basket.

“It’s not that she’s a shooter, she’s a scorer,” Rains said. “She finds a way to score. She’s a very nice player, and they do a good job of getting her the basketball.”

Trailing by double digits, Williamsburg was forced out of its game plan. The Lady Jackets hit only six of 21 shots in the fourth quarter and could get no closer than four. Huff, Courtney Bell and Lawson each hit free throws to clinch the win.

Bell, a junior center, added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Harlan returns to action Thursday in the semifinals at Williamsburg, taking on Evarts at 6 p.m. Lawson 0-2). Rebounds: Williamsburg 40 (Hoffman 17), Harlan 32 (Lawson 13). Turnovers: Williamsburg 16, Harlan 18. Fouled out: Williamsburg (Peters). 

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