Defensive breakdowns cost Lady Dragons in hard-fought loss at Rockcastle


John Henson

Harlan guard Emma Owens drove down the court against Rockcastle County’s Macy Spivey in Saturday’s game at the Rocket Classic. Owens scored 22 points in the Lady Dragons’ 62-56 loss.

By John Henson, Managing Editor



MOUNT VERNON — During an evening in which they never led, the Harlan Green Dragons continued to battle against one of the 12th Region’s best teams on Saturday and had a chance at the end after pulling within one points.
The Lady Dragons watched as junior guard Haven King broke free for layups on consecutive trips. Those breakdowns proved to be the difference as Rockcastle County fought off Harlan’s upset bid for a 62-56 victory as part of the Rocket Classic.
Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm Rowe was proud of her team for battling back from a nine-point deficit to get within one, but said a lack of execution with the game on the line was the difference.
“It’s not all five of us. We have three or four completely locked in with a sense or urgency and then someone loses their focus or loses their man. Wide-open layups or not that hard to make and we gave up way too many of those,” Rowe said. “We shot it better and we took care of the better. We just missed too many free throws and gave up too many easy buckets in crunch time.
“We still have goals ahead. We’re trying to get better for district games the next two weeks. We just have to continue to get better.”
Harlan fell to 9-12 with the loss as three Lady Dragons combined for all 56 points. Junior guard Emma Owens hit six of eight 3-pointers and finished with 22 points as she sparked the late comeback with two straight baskets to cut the deficit to 55-54 with 4:05 left. Aymanni Wynn and Kylie Noe added 21 and 13 points, respectively.
Junior guard Talynne Shearer scored 23 points to lead the 15-6 Lady Rockets. Junior guar Camryn Cash added 11 points.
Rockcastle hit its first six shots to grab a 14-6 lead before Harlan fought back to cut the deficit to 20-15 by end of the period as Owens, Noe and Wynn each had two baskets in the quarter.
Harlan hit only two of eight shots in the second quarter while Rockcastle hit four of 14 to stretch its lead to 31-23 at the break on a 3 by Cash to close the half.
Shearer hit five of seven shots in the third period as Rockastle took a 53-44 lead into the final period. Wynn carried the Harlan offense by hitting four of six shots. Owens added a pair of treys to keep the Lady Dragons within striking distance.
Harlan will play four games next week, beginning with a district doubleheader Tuesday at Bell County.