Lady Bears end PIneville’s six-game winning streak with strong defense, balanced offense


John Henson

Harlan County’s raced down the court after one her 11 rebounds in the Lady Bears’ win over Pineville. Smith also had 16 points as HCHS improved to 6-2 on the season.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


The Harlan County Lady Bears and coach Anthony Nolan had seen enough of standout Pineville point guard Nadine Johnson the past two seasons when she was running the Bell County offense to know from first-hand experience how she can take over a game in the open floor with her quickness.
Keeping Johnson in front of them when they were on defense and keeping her from taking the ball away when they were on offense were the keys for the Lady Bears going into Friday’s game against the Lady Lions, who had won six straight before making the trip to HCHS.
Harlan County succeeded in both areas and led the entire way in a 62-44 victory that ended Pineville’s six-game winning streak and gave both teams a 6-2 record.
“There was one stretch where she got two or three baskets, but we did a good job overall,” Nolan said. “She’s a tough player and will make plays no matter what. The kids did a good job of staying in front of her and rotating on defense. Our girls were more consistent tonight on defense.”
Johnson was limited to 15 points on six-of-21 shooting, tying Abby Jackson for the scoring lead.
Junior guard Ella Karst led a balanced HCHS attack with 19 points. Senior forward Jaylin Smith also had a big game with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Taytum Griffin added 12 points.
“We did a good job of attacking the basket. We still missed a few, but I was proud of our effort. I thought we set each other up well tonight, especially on the break. It’s fun to watch,” Nolan said.
A Smith basket off a drive and a Karst 3 gave HCHS an early 5-0 lead and set the tone for the night as the Lady Bears built an 18-7 lead after one quarter. Karst, Griffin and Smith each had two baskets in the period as Harlan County hit six of 11 shots.
Pineville was limited to single digits in each of the first three quarters and hit three of 11 shots in each period. Pineville coach Elgie Green called a timeout in each quarter, trying to get the Lady Lions’ offense on track.
“The plays we were calling we weren’t running. We were stranded,” Pineville coach Elgie Green said. “We had people open and weren’t getting the ball to them. I told them where I wanted it to go, but we didn’t take it there. We had to burn some timeouts, but we just didn’t show up tonight. We didn’t board and we didn’t hit shots tonight. They did a good job of hitting shots, and we were just too passive. They were more aggressive and attacked us harder than we did them.”
The Lady Bears hit only three of 12 shots in the first quarter but extended the lead to 27-15 by halftime. Johnson had all three of Pineville’s baskets in the quarter.
Pineville missed its first six shots in the second half as Harlan County led by as many as 22 points. Smith hit four of six shots as the Lady Bears took a 43-24 lead into the final period.
The Harlan County lead grew to as many as 25 points late in the game before Pineville closed with an 11-3 run led by seven straight points from Jackson.
The Lady Bears travel to Lee, Va., for two games Tuesday in a holiday tournament where they will take on the host Lady Generals and Claiborne, Tenn. Pineville will travel to Gatlinburg, Tenn., for the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic starting on Tuesday.
Harlan County limited Pineville to two points in the second half and pulled away for a 33-13 victory in junior varsity action.
Cheyenne Rhymer, a freshman guard, led HCHS with 16 points. Maddi Middleton tossed in four. Savannah Hill and Jaylee Cochran added three each. Whitney Noe, Lacey Robinson and Lauren Lewis scored two each. Whitley Teague added one.
Makayla Caldwell and Maddie Capps scored three each for Pineville. Baleigh Bargo, Madison Johnson and Lexi Hoskins scored two each. Addison Arnett added one.


Harlan County guard Ella Karst worked around Pineville’s Nadine Johnson in Friday’s game. Karst scored 19 in the Lady Bears’ 61-44 victory. (John Henson)
Pineville coach Elgie Green talked with his Lady Lions during a timeout Friday. Harlan County led all the way in a 61-44 victory to end Pineville’s six-game winning streak. (John Henson)