By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
BARBOURVILLE — A visit from the Jellico Lady Blue Devils may have been just what Andrea Hillard’s team needed Thursday.
Her Lady Tigers were coming off a 73-39 loss to Clay County on Monday and she said then she felt like the team was in a shooting slump.
“Not taking anything away from Jellico, but this is the kind of game we needed our girls to have to get back in their rhythm shooting-wise,” Hillard said. “We scored 85 points, but we missed a few layups, so I still don’t think we shot the ball that well.
“It was a good win for us though and hopefully it will give us some momentum as we head into this final stretch,” she added. “We have five games left and each of the five teams are playing pretty good basketball right now, so we will be tested.”
Barbourville scored early and often Thursday, knocking off Jellico 85-65, improving to 16-8 on the season.
Kelsey Erslan and Amber Mills led the way for the Lady Tigers with 19 points apiece, while Kara Erslan added 16 and Brianna Tate chipped in 14.
Barbourville took a 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter, outscoring their opponent 26-16 in the first eight minutes. A 20-10 effort in the second period pushed the Lady Tigers’ lead to 46-26 at halftime.
Hillard and company continued to push the pace in the second half, using a 23-16 third quarter to extend the lead to 69-42 with eight minutes to play in the contest.
Jellico was able to outscore the Lady Tigers 23-16 in the final eight minutes of the game, but the deficit proved too large to overcome as Barbourville came away with the 85-65 victory.
“Like I said, hopefully we can use this as a springboard,” Hillard said. “These final five games will help us get better one way or another, so we need to make the best of them as we get closer to the postseason.”
Barbourville 85, Jellico, Tenn., 65
Jellico, Tenn. 16 10 16 23 65
Barbourville 26 20 23 16 85
Jellico, Tenn. (65) – NA
Barbourville (85) – Ke. Erslan 19, Mills 19, Ka. Erslan 16, tate 14, Hicks 6, Liford 6, Bunch 5.