Lady Bears hold off Hazard comeback with clutch play in fourth quarter


Kim Henson

Harlan County guard Ella Karst, pictured in action Monday against Corbin, scored 18 points on Thursday in the Lady Bears’ 41-37 victory at Hazard.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


In a 36-point loss Monday at home against Corbin, it was clear the Harlan County Lady Bears didn’t pass their first test of the season.
When they watched a 10-point halftime lead shrink to one on Thursday at Hazard, the Lady Bears were in danger of failing again. This time, however, they responded on the way to a 41-37 win over one of the favorites in the 14th Region.
“We hung our heads in the third quarter when things didn’t go our way, but we fought through it and grew up a lot,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “We still have to get tougher on possessions, but I thought we defined our roles better last night. I thought the kids did a much better job executing when they had to. We still have a long way to.go, but they were coachable all night
Freshman guard Ella Karst scored 18 to lead the Lady Bears and was especially good down the stretch in hitting nine of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Hazard star Hayley Caudill, the second ranked player in the 14th Region, finished with a team-high 17 points after being held scoreless in the first half. Caudill and Annie Haris scored all of Hazard’s points in the third quarter as the Lady Dogs outscored HCHS 11-2.
Karst scored 13 points in the fourth quarter as Harlan County reclaimed control. Jaylin Smith added two baskets.
Harlan County returns to action Tuesday at home against Bell County in a girls/boys doubleheader. Hazard (0-2) travels to Lawrence County on Saturday.
Eighth-grader Kylie Noe scored 15 points as Harlan County improved to 2-0 in junior varsity action with a 48-15 rout of Hazard.
Taylor Lunsford added nine for the Lady Bears and was followed by Taytum Griffin with eight, Hailey Austin with seven, Paige Phillips with five and Kylie Jones and Taylor Clem with two each.
Mia Rouse led Hazard with 10 points. Taylor Couch and Hannah Caudill added five and three points, respectively.