Breaking down the girls’ semifinals of the WYMT Food City Mountain Classic
The WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic presented by Kentucky Farm Bureau and sponsored by ARH resumes tonight as we have three Girls’ contests on the docket. Let’s take a look at the Fifth-Place duel between Leslie County/Belfry followed by the two semifinal matchups featuring Knott Central/North Laurel and Shelby Valley/Bell County.
Leslie County (2-1) vs. Belfry (0-2) - 5 p.m.
The Lady Eagles look to bounce back after dropping their first game of the season against Shelby Valley on Monday night, 58-40. Sophomore Iris Napier led the way for Leslie County with 15 points against the Lady Kats.
Belfry is still searching for their first win of the season as they fell to Knott Central in the opening game of the tournament on Monday night, 41-28. Sophomore Jenna Sparks was the team’s leading scorer with ten points against the Lady Patriots.
These two teams have met once already season as the Lady Eagles got the upper hand in that matchup on November 30th with a 71-47 victory.
No. 7 Knott Central (2-0) vs. No. 2 North Laurel (3-0) - 6:45 p.m.
The Lady Patriots are off to a good start in this tournament as they took care of business against Belfry on Monday night, 41-28. Presley Fletcher was the leading scorer against the Lady Pirates with 15 points. The sophomore also led the team in rebounding with eight rebounds. Senior Brooke Mason also reached double figures in scoring with ten points.
North Laurel had a sensational 2021 season with a 13-1 in the region and going 24-5 overall. The Lady Jaguars put away Clay County in the 49th District Championship, 63-51 but fell to in-county rival South Laurel in the 13th Region Championship, 63-57. Eddie Mahan is now in his 11th season as the head coach of North Laurel. The Lady Jaguars return their top three leading scorers from last season in senior Hailee Valentine (18.4 PPG), junior Emily Sizemore (14.6 PPG) and sophomore Chloe McKnight (9.6 PPG). McKnight was the team’s leading rebounder last season at 6.6 RPG. The Lady Jaguars began the season with a victory against Scott County, 77-42. Three players reached double digits in scoring in the season opener including Sizemore as
she bell-cowed the scoring against the Cardinals with 18 points. McKnight (14 points) and Valentine (13 points) also eclipsed the double-digit barrier against Scott County. North Laurel backed up their performance against Scott County with another good outing against Bell County as they defeated the Lady Cats, 75-61. Valentine had a game-high 23 points in the win against Bell County while McKnight recorded a double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds. In their most recent outing, North Laurel grinded out a victory in a low-scoring affair against Holy Cross out of Covington, 56-46. Sizemore led the way in the win against Holy Cross with 18 points. McKnight recorded her second consecutive double-double against the Indians (16 points, 12 rebounds).
No. 4 Shelby Valley (3-0) vs. No. 6 Bell County (2-1) – 8:30 p.m.
The Lady Kats had their way with the Lady Eagles on Monday night as they picked up their third win of the season with a 58-40 victory. Shelby Valley has now gotten off to a 3-0 start for the third straight season. Three players reached double figures including Cassidy Rowe as the senior generated a team-high 20 points against Leslie County. Senior Alyssa Elswick recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Junior Kyra Looney also pitched in with ten points.
Bell County had a strong season in 2021 as they produced a record of 22-5 and went 17-4 in region play. The Lady Cats took home the 52nd District Title as they defeated Harlan County, 62-55 but lost to eventual 13th Region Champion South Laurel in the semifinals, 65-62. David Teague is now in his 13th season as the head man of Bell County. The Lady Cats have brought back their top four scorers from a season ago in sophomore Nadine Johnson (13.2 PPG), senior Ashtyn Meyers (13.1 PPG), junior Mataya Ausmus (11.5 PPG) and junior Talyah McQueen (11.2 PPG). McQueen led the team in rebounding last season at 12.0 RPG. The Lady Cats began their season with a win against Morristown-Hamblen East out of Tennessee, 68-42. Johnson paced the team in scoring with 16 points against the Hurricanes. Sophomore Mikayla Wilder racked up a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Then, Bell County picked up their first loss of the season against North Laurel, 75-61. Wilder was the team’s leading scorer with 19 points. The Lady Cats rebounded with a terrific performance against Red Bird as they dominated the Lady Cardinals, 78-30. Ausmus was the team’s leading scorer in that contest with 15 points.
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