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Claiborne splits against Middlesboro

With emotions running high from a great night of basketball against rival Cumberland Gap, Claiborne was ready for a border war with Middlesboro High School from Kentucky. Two games were on schedule Feb. 5 and the first was the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Yellow Jackets.

Middlesboro took the battle to CHS but the Lady Bulldogs were hanging around and Macie Sumner’s three pointer pulled the home team to within one point at 10-9 as the opening period came to an end. Skylar Cook and Emma Beason combined scores and tied the game at 14 quickly during the second period. Beason gave the Lady Bulldogs their first lead of the second period near the three minute mark and Sumner added to it with her second three to give the home team a 23-19 lead. Jamayha Poe did work for the Lady Jackets having nine points at the half.

CHS opened the second half with a Jaden Thompson bucket extending the lead to five. The two teams then basically traded baskets with Middlesboro chipping into the CHS lead. The CHS advantage remained at five going into the fourth period. Poe hit a big three with 2:40 remaining that gave the Lady Jackets the lead. CHS grabbed it back at 41-40. Kaylee Cox went to the stripe and tied the game at 42 but Poe was fouled on the trip down and hit one of two. Behind 43-42, CHS missed a shot and again Poe was fouled and knocked down both shots. Beason hit a go ahead three with 30 seconds remaining and CHS led by one this time at 47-46. They defended well and grabbed a loose ball with 21.6 seconds left. The Lady Jackets had two chances to grab the lead but missed a layup and a short jumper. CHS missed a free throw and gave the Jackets one last shot. With three seconds left the pass found the mark but the shot was just too late giving the Lady Bulldogs a 47-46 victory. Beason led the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points. Sumner and Thompson both had nine. Cheyenne Tolliver was held to six, Kaylee Cox had three and Cook finished with two points. Leading the Lady Jackets was Poe with 18.

The boys were next and CHS was missing one of their big men, Houston Hatfield, due to illness. Middlesboro came in with a size advantage and grabbed the early lead. CHS got some good shots up but didn’t knock them down as the Jackets edged away to a 7-2 advantage. Evan Ickes held his own in the lane and kept CHS close. Kade Beeler was fouled on a short jumper and the basket plus one tied the game at seven. At the end of one period of play, the Jackets held the lead at 11-7. Mykel Griffen took over the paint as the second period began and he helped the Jackets separate by five points. The Jackets continued to make shots in and near the paint and Blaine Caylor and Elijah Beason hit a three but the Jackets still pulled away. T.J. Patterson added a three at the buzzer to give the Jackets a 31-23 lead at the half.

The Jackets did the dirty work down in the paint and that effort allowed them to pull on away from CHS leading 39-27 with four minutes left in the third. Three pointers by Beason and Caylor helped the Bulldogs pull to within five as the third period ended. The comeback wasn’t to be as the Jackets rolled on out to a 59-51 victory. Caylor led the Bulldogs with 12, Hunter Rosenbalm had 11, Kade Beeler finished with 10 but left the game early to a head injury but his scans were clear. Elijah Beason had nine, Evan Ickes had five and Jacob Williams dropped in three. Christian Hubbard led the Jackets with 18.

The district tournament begins Feb. 15 at Chuckey-Doak.