Late surge carries Letcher to victory at Harlan


Jon Dickenson

Harlan guard Emma Owens worked for a shot in Tuesday’s game against Letcher Central. Owens scored 26 points but the Lady Dragons fell 71-66.

It was a game with 46 personal fouls and 71 free throws, but visiting Letcher Central outscored Harlan 22-16 in the fourth quarter on Tuesday to escape with a 71-66 win.
The game was close most of the night and came down to the last period.
The Lady Cougars opened the quarter with a 6-0 run and led 55-50 following a basket by Kiera Couch with 6:50 to play.
A layup by Emma Owens and a 3-pointer from Aymanni Wynn gave Harlan a 59-57 edge at the 3:40 mark.
The lead changed hands five times before a basket by Heidi Bentley gave Letcher Central the lead for good (64-63) at the 1:58 mark
Kylie Noe and Peighton Jones both fouled out in the final two minutes as the Lady Cougars pulled out the victory.
Couch, a junior guard, powered Letcher Central with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Jaylin Whitt scored 12 and grabbed eight boards while Bentley, also a junior, added 10 points.
Owens, Harlan’s junior point guard, poured in 26 points. She connected on 14 of 21 free throws.
Noe scored 21 points and Wynn followed with 17. The only other Lady Dragon to score was Leah Davis with two points.
Due to foul trouble and officials calling a very close game, both coaches used 10 players for the game.
“I felt like at times we grew and got better. I liked our fight for four quarters,” said Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm-Rowe. “I have not liked our fight for the last several games, really since Jackson County (Jan. 6) and that took a lot of wind out of sails.
“Tonight, we missed 12 free throws, and then defensively we had some breakdowns and couldn’t get the rebounds. We were in bad foul trouble and had some key players sitting on the bench at the end.
Rowe liked the play of some of her underclassmen.
“I think our younger kids that came off the bench gave us some good quality minutes,” she said. “We’re just trying to get better before district.”
Harlan (8-11) will take on Rockcastle County on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Rocket Classic at Mount Vernon.
The Lady Dragons will visit Bell County on Tuesday in a girls/boys district doubleheader.
Harlan’s home game against Harlan County has been rescheduled for Feb. 2.
Letcher Central (9-11) travels to Buckhorn on Thursday before playing host to Knott Central on Monday.

Harlan sophomore forward Leah Davis worked on defense in Tuesday’s game against Letcher Central. (Jon Dickenson)