Rowe confident that ‘it’s time to win’ for her Lady Dragons


Team members include, from left, front row: Aymanni Wynn, Leah Davis, Kaylee Clark, Emma Owens, Peighton Jones, Carly Madden, Kylie Noe and Annie Hoskins; back row: Addison Campbell, Trinity Jones, Reagan Goodman, Abbie Fields, Addison Jackson, Peyshaunce Wynn, Gracie Hensley and Shelby Doan.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

As an all-state player on two 13th Region championships at Harlan in the late 1990s, Tiffany Hamm Rowe grew quite accustomed to success and carried that on into college at Western Carolina before eventually returning home to take over the program at her alma mater.
After four straight losing seasons, Rowe is confident the Lady Dragons’ fortunes are about to turn once again.
“It’s time to win,” Rowe said before a recent scrimmage win over Shelby Valley.
The Lady Dragons had high hopes last season with a talented and young roster returning, but Harlan struggled through a 9-18 campaign while Rowe dealt with the premature birth of her son, Kingston, at 26 weeks. Rowe spent much of the season in Lexington with her child, missing numerous practices and games.
“Last year was last year, and we’re moving forward,” she said. “It was tough. It was the toughest time of my life. I left Harlan on Dec. 12 and didn’t return (full time) until Mother’s Day.”
Now 10 months old, Kingston is doing well and even made an appearance with his mom at Big Green Madness. The Lady Dragons also seem to be poised for a breakout season with all five starters returning.
The Lady Dragons feature one of the region’s top young tandems with Aymanni Wynn (14.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds) and Kylie Noe (18.0, 7.3) both ranked among the elite players in the 13th.
“They play very well together and are both so versatile with good size and strength,” Rowe said. “They are able to exploit mismatches and will be able to do that more as they continue to gain experience.”
Noe is making the move from post to wing where Rowe hopes she will be a matchup problem for opponents.
“We’ll be able to exploit those mismatches. She will be in the post some,” Hamm said. “I feel like down the road she will be a wing (in college), and I don’t want to handicap her.
“She has improved her jumper and her fitness to be able to play the wing. She has always been big and strong, but I think getter her in space more will help. She is our most dynamic scorer, so the ball needs to find her.”
Wynn, at 5-11, is a 3-point threat who can also score around the basket, much like her mother, Savannah, was as an all-stater with Cawood two decades ago.
“Aymanni is shooting it really, really well and is a good leader for us. She is very versatile and does a lot of things for us,” Rowe said. “She has a knack for scoring the ball, and she and Kylie are our best rebounders.”
Emma Owens (9.3), a junior, is back as the Lady Dragons’ point guard.
“Emma is a great leader for us,” Rowe said. “She pushes the tempo for us and is a great on-the-ball defender. I think you will an improved jump shot. She is a worker and will get better.”
Peighton Jones (2.6, 3.6), the Lady Dragons’ only senior, is back at forward.
“She does everything well. She is a really good on-the-ball defender who can defend one through five,” Hamm said. “She is a good leader and really a good shooter. We’re looking for her take more of her opportunities. She is so unselfish. She is the glue for the unit.”
Leah Davis (4.4, 3.5), a 5-9 sophomore, moves from wing to play in the post this season.
“Davis can play two through five as can most of our starters,” Rowe said. “We want her to be a little more efficient with her outside shooting and doing more damage in the post.”
Carly Madden, a 5-11 junior who sat out last season, gives the Lady Dragons depth in the post.
“She is a true center She is very athletic and is a good rebounder and good around the basket,” Rowe said. “She is good defensively.”
Addi Jackson, a sophomore, is the top reserve in the backcourt.
“She can play all those positions,” Rowe said. “She is a tough, hard-nosed kid who can shoot.”
Annie Hoskins, a 5-10 sophomore, will also see action inside.
“She has a great motor and can be an impact player. She will go 100 miles an hour,” Rowe said.
Depth, or lack of it, is a familiar concern for Rowe.
“The key for us is defending without fouling. When you are at a small school, depth will always be an issue. We want to play with pressure and rebound and run, so you have to stay out of foul trouble to do that,” she said. “I think we can match up with anybody one through five. It’s just withstanding some of the teams who can run in eight or nine at you with a lot of size.
“My teams when I played weren’t very deep. Jordan Brock’s teams weren’t deep either, and I’m sure Debbie Green’s probably weren’t either,” she said of the three championship eras for Harlan girls basketball. “
But even with those concerns, Rowe likes Harlan’s chances of competing for an All “A” regional title after finishing second to Jackson County last year and competing with Bell County and Harlan County in what promises to be a competitive 52nd District race.
“We have clear goals, and I’ve laid them out there for them. It’s time to win,” Rowe said. “We want to compete for All “A” 13th Region, and we feel we can compete for the district title. I think it’s wide open. I don’t see a whole lot of difference. Those will always be hard-fought games, so you have to mentally tough and stay with your game plan for 32 minutes. Those are the goals we laid out before practice on day one and they won’t waver.”

Nov 29, 22 Corbin away 7:30 PM
Dec 2, 22 Williamsburg home 7:30 PM
Dec 5, 22 Knox Central away 7:30 PM
Dec 9, 22 Clay County home 7:30 PM
Dec 13, 22 Leslie County home 7:30 PM
Dec 16, 22 Middlesboro away 6:00 PM
Dec 20, 22 Estill County 3:00 PM Sayre School-Jim Lankster Classic
Dec 21, 22 Sayre away 1:00 PM Sayre School-Jim Lankster Classic
Dec 22, 22 Garrard County at Sayre 1:00 PM Sayre School-Jim Lankster Classic
Dec 27, 22 Eastern at Berea 3:30 PM Berea Holiday Classic
Dec 28, 22 TBA at Berea Berea Holiday Classic
Dec 29, 22 TBA at Berea Berea Holiday Classic
Jan 2, 23 Middlesboro home 7:30 PM 13th Region All “A” Classic
Jan 10, 23 Pineville away 7:30 PM
Jan 13, 23 Bell County home 6:00 PM
Jan 17, 23 Lynn Camp away 7:30 PM
Jan 20, 23 Middlesboro home 6:00 PM
Jan 21, 23 Madison Central home 2:30 PM “Doc” Gray Classic
Jan 24, 23 Letcher County Central home 7:30 PM
Jan 27, 23 Harlan County home 6:00 PM
Jan 28, 23 TBA at Rockcastle County Rocket Classic
Jan 31, 23 Bell County away 6:00 PM
Feb 3, 23 Barbourville home 7:30 PM
Feb 4, 23 Lynn Camp home 7:30 PM
Feb 7, 23 Harlan County away 6:00 PM
Feb 10, 23 Whitley County away 7:30 PM
Feb 11, 23 McCreary Central away 5:30 PM
Feb 13, 23 Williamsburg away 7:30 PM