Defense carries HCHS to win over short-handed Lady Dragons


John Henson

Harlan County guard Ella Karst scored 13 points on Tuesday to help lead the Lady Bears to a 63-30 win over visiting Harlan.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

A defense that can limit an opponent to single digits in all four quarters, as the Harlan County Lady Bears did Tuesday against visiting Harlan, can usually count on a relaxing second half. Harlan County took control early and coasted to a 63-30 victory to lock up the second seed in the upcoming 52nd District Tournament.
Harlan, playing without starters Aymanni Wynn and Leah Davis due to injuries, was limited to 24 percent shooting (nine of 38) in falling to 10-15 overall and 2-4 in district action.
“I thought we were really focused early and got in a rhythm. They were in the passing lanes and the gaps and controlled where they got their shots. We didn’t have many breakdowns in the first half,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said, “We relaxed a little the second half, but it’s hard to keep that focus sometimes. They were coachable though and did what we asked.”
Senior guard Taytum Griffin scored 16 points and sparked the Lady Bears’ fast start.
“Taytum is a competitor. She didn’t do anything wrong the other night (in Thursday’s win at Harlan), but sometimes when you see the ball go through the net it builds confidence,” Nolan said. “She’s a senior, and I’m proud of what she did tonight.”
Ella Karst added 13 points as Harlan County improved to 18-6 overall and 3-2 in district action.
Griffin and Karst each hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening five minutes as HCHS raced to a 14-3 lead. Harlan hit only three of 11 shots in the opening quarter as Harlan County built a 17-8 lead.
Harlan could manage only two baskets in the second quarter on eight shots as the Harlan County lead grew to 38-14 by halftime, Austin and Griffin each had two baskets for the Lady Bears while Faith Hoskins provided a spark off the bench by hitting two straight shots, including a 3-pointer.
With Harlan short-handed due to injuries, Nolan went to the bench midway through both the third and fourth quarters. The Lady Bears outscored Harlan 10-8 in the third quarter rand 15-8 in the fourth period.
Harlan County plays host to Middlesboro in a district doubleheader on Friday. Harlan plays at Whitley County on Friday.

Harlan County’s Jaylin Smith worked inside for a shot during the Lady Bears’ 63-30 win Tuesday over Harlan. (John Henson)