Karst sparks Lady Bears with 35 points in victory at Middlesboro


Kim Henson

Harlan County guard Ella Karst, pictured in action earlier this season, scored 35 points on Friday in the Lady Bears’ 66-40 win at Middlesboro.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

MIDDLESBORO — On a night when the Harlan County offense was struggling against a Middlesboro zone, junior guard Ella Karst took matters into her own hands.
With the Lady Bears trailing 13-12 after one quarter, Karst sparked a second-quarter explosion of 31 points that carried HCHS to a 66-40 win Friday at Middlesboro. Karst finished with 35 points, including 15 in the decisive second period.
“She has amazing energy, whether the shots go in or not,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “She plays full throttle and has a high motor. She is a crucial part of what we do because of the effort she gives every possession. She deserves those types of games because she exerts more effort than any kid I’ve seen.”
Middlesboro lost to HCHS by 33 last month in a tournament at Pineville but got off to a strong start in the rematch at home while the Lady Bears were missing nine of 15 shots.
“When you make shots, things look easy,” Nolan said. “The second quarter we made shots and scored 30-some points. In the first quarter, we got the same shots and missed them. They were good shots, but we missed them. We did attack the basket better the second quarter. When you get a cushion, it’s hard to keep them focused.”
Sophomore guard Keevi Betts, who finished with 25 points for the 2-12 Lady Jackets, hit three of five shots in the opening quarter as she sliced through the HCHS defense.
“Betts played really well early. She attacked the basket,” Nolan said. “Our kids adjusted.”
Betts was held to one basket in the second quarter and the Lady Jackets scored only six as Harlan County turned a one-point deficit into a 43-19 halftime lead. Senior guard Taytum Griffin also played a big role in the decisive quarter by hitting four of five shots as part of a 14-point effort.
Karst hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter as the Harlan County offense went cold again with only three baskets while outscoring Middlesboro 12-9. A three-point play by Karst followed by a 3-pointer from Griffin started a running clock with six minutes left. Middlesboro closed with a 9-0 run against the Harlan County reserves.
Harlan County returns to action Tuesday at Bell County in a girls/boys district doubleheader. Middlesboro travels to Pineville on Tuesday.