Lady Bears split doubleheader with loss to Jackson, win over Barbourville


Chandra Howard

Harlan County senior forward Jaylin Smith, pictured in action earlier in the week, became the fifth member of the school’s 1,000-point club as the Lady Bears split two games at Barbourville.

By John Henson, Managing Editor



BARBOURVILLE — One day after knocking off Middlesboro on Senior Night, the Harlan County Lady Bears traveled to Barbourville for an afternoon doubleheader. The Lady Bears struggled against a hot-shooting Jackson County team in an 80-52 loss, then overcame a slow start to down Barbourville 71-50.
The Lady Bears reached the 20-win plateau for the second straight season and the 11th time in 15 years with the win in the second game but didn’t play especially well in either game.
“We just were flat,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “It was a quick turnaround from last night and we had two games. We got behind early in the first game, then dug a hole. Trying to fight out of a hole in the first game juiced us for the second game. It’s the nature of the roller-coaster ride, but we got our 20th win tonight. We want to get some things behind us and get ready for the postseason.”
Jackson County shot 64 percent (27 of 45) while making offense a struggle for the Lady Bears with their intimidating frontline featuring 6-4 senior Kena Ward and 6-2 sophomore Abby Gilbert.
The Lady Generals led 21-8 after one quarter and 35-17 at halftime. Harlan County battled back in the third quarter, cutting a 22-point deficit to eight in the fourth quarter before Jackson pulled away again.
Gilbert hit nine of 12 shots and finished with 25 points to lead the 18-7 Lady Generals. Kylee Shannon scored 12, while Ward and Madi Marcum added 10 each.
Jaylin Smith scored 17 to lead the Lady Bears, joining the 1,000-point club on her final basket with 2:21 to play. Ella Karst added 15 points.
Harlan County struggled to pull away from Barbourville in the second game. The Lady Bears led by one after one quarter and extended the margin to 32-17 at halftime and 53-33 after three quarters.
Taytum Griffin led the Lady Bears with 22 points and Karst added 18.
Layla Brock scored 15 and Sarah Smith contributed 12 for the 4-16 Lady Tigers.
“Taytum has been more consistent the last three games,” Nolan said. “We just want to keep them healthy going into the tournament. It’s a loaded region this year though.”
Harlan County got a lift off the bench from Paige Phillips with six points and Faith Hoskins with five.
“We need those kids to come in and provide that energy. We played pretty close to equal minutes today,” Nolan said. “We need that from those two, along with Kylie (Jones). We want them to be effective when they are in there.”
The Lady Bears played the unusual doubleheader Saturday to meet the state’s Title IX guidelines for prime time games. The Lady Bears were short when games originally scheduled for the weekend were rescheduled. HCHS still needs one more weekend game next week.
“Today is a result of the negative effects of a rule on prime time games,” Nolan said. “It’s counterproductive and it’s hit us twice. We’re fatigued and banged up a little bit, but we’ll bounce back and be ready.”
The Lady Bears will play host to Owsley County on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before the HCHS boys take on Whitley County.
Harlan County held off a late Barbourville rally to win 33-30 in junior varsity action. Whitney Noe and Cheyenne Rhymer scored 10 each to lead the 8-8 Lady Bears. Savannah Hill added eight. Addi Gray tossed in three. Lacey Robinson chipped in with two.
Leah Bruce scored 10 to lead Barbourville. Layla Brock and Cheyenne Brock scored five each. Baileigh Branstetter and Marleigh Martin each added three. Allison Love and Jacey Boles scored two each.