Harlan comeback falls short in loss to Whitley


By Paul Lunsford, Contributing Writer


Visiting Whitley County scored the first 13 points of the game on Monday, then had to pull away late to defeat Harlan 75-67.
The Lady Dragons faced foul problems while committing 33 turnovers, but still fought hard to tie the game at 66-66 with 2:35 remaining.
Senior guard Natalie Moses nailed a 3-pointer and added a putback as the Lady Colonels took a five-point advantage with 1:01 to play. Whitley hit four free throws in the final 44.5 seconds to seal the win.
Harlan had three different opportunities to take the lead, but missed a couple of shots and hit only one of four at the free throw in the last 75 seconds.
“I thought our energy was really high, and we played really well, and then we kind of had some breakdowns midway through the first half,” said Whitley County coach Saen Pigman. “I thought we finished both halves strong. We’re just glad to be playing. I’m happy for the girls getting out here to play.
“I thought Harlan and coach (Tiffany) Hamm did a great job fighting back. There was a couple of times we had a chance to expand the lead and get away, but they just fought back and frustrated us, and got us out of our game.”
Moses powered Whitley County with 14 points. Gracie-Jo Wilder, Darcie Anderson and Reis Anderson scored 11 points each. Jaycis Monhollen added 10 points.
Freshman guard Faith Hoskins led the Lady Dragons with 18 points. Senior guard Angel Wynn and freshman forward Aymanni Wynn tallied 16 points apiece.
“I think we lacked a little confidence at the start,” said Hamm. “We hadn’t played in 10 months and no summer practice, so it’s a weird time for everybody. I did not expect the slow start. I really thought we were ready to go, but I was pleased with the bounce back.”
Six Lady Colonels scored to start the game. Harlan didn’t score until the 4:51 mark when Abbi Fields came off the bench fora basket.
A 3-pointer by Angel Wynn and baskets by Aymanni Wynn and Emma Owens pulled the Lady Dragons within 14-9 with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
Monhollen hit a trey and Moses scored inside as Whitley County led 21-11 after one period.
Harlan committed 14 turnovers in the first quarter compared to 11 by the Lady Colonels.
The lead grew to 12 points on several occasions, but the Lady Dragons couldn’t get any closer than eight in the second quarter. Whitley led 36-24 at the break.
Angel Wynn had a pair of 3-pointers but the Colonels kept the lead most of the third quarter. A trey, a three-point play and two free throws by Hoskins cut the deficit to five with 35.9 seconds remaining in the period.
Whitley County took a 55-48 advantage into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Angel Wynn and six straight free throws by Aymanni Wynn pulled the Lady Dragons even, before the Lady Colonels put the game away.
“We had some bunnies fall out right under the rim in the last two minutes,” said Hamm. “I think that last two minutes will be a great learning tool for us.
“I’m super proud of the effort and super proud of the unselfishness, and the willing to fight. I’m excited because we’ve got a lot of kids that can play and have bought into the system.”
Pigman was pleased with the personal and everyone in attendance at Harlan.
“It was great coming in here to play and the way Harlan hosted it. Everyone had their mask on and did what they were suppose to do,” he added.
Harlan (0-1) plays at Whitley County on Tuesday. The Lady Dragons will visit Pineville on Saturday to open the 13th Region All “A” Classic.
Whitley County (1-0) travels to Wayne County on Thursday before hosting Mercer County on Saturday.
Kylee Brown scored 12 points and Kaytlynn Collier added eight as Whitley County posted a 45-13 win in the junior varsity game.
Scarlett Rowe led the Lady Dragons with five points. Shelby Doan, Abbie Jones, Carlie Kennedy and Annie Hoskins scored two points each.