North overpowers cold-shooting Lady Bears

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John Henson

North Laurel guard Hailee Valentine drove against Harlan County’s Kelly Beth Hoskins in Thursday’s game at HCHS. Valentine scored 14 points in the Lady Jaguars’ 60-15 win.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

A bad offensive night against good 13th Region teams can lead to 30-point losses, as was the case for Harlan County against Corbin and Bell County earlier this season.
A bad offensive night against a team like North Laurel, a regional finalist the last three years with just under 30 wins per season, can lead to a blowout of record proportions.
Harlan County shot only 13 percent (five of 40) from the field and missed its first 20 shots from the field on the way to a 60-15 loss to the visiting Lady Jaguars on Thursday.
“Everything is more simple when the ball goes through the hole. We have to find a way to put the ball in the basket,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “We took shots we should make. Whether it be a layup, 3-pointer or free throw, we make it way more difficult than it should be. A team like North can bury you quick, but we got good looks. At some point, we have to accept responsibility to finish the play.”
Even with the lopsided win, North coach Eddie Mahan said his team, now 5-0, can play much better.
“I didn’t think we played very well tonight,” Mahan said. “I couldn’t care less about wins and losses now. It’s more like preseason scrimmages now, unless it’s a district game. I know we have some good young talent, but we have to learn to do things right. We didn’t have the energy and effort. We do have the potential to be really good.”
Junior guards Hailee Valentine and Emily Sizemore scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, to lead a balanced North Laurel attack. Eighth-grade forward Halle Collins added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman guard Ella Karst led the 1-3 Lady Bears with seven points.
Harlan County returns to action Saturday at Knott Central in a 3:30 p.m. game. North Laurel will play host to Southwestern on Saturday.
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Bella Sizemore scored 17 points as North Laurel handed Harlan County its first junior varsity loss with a 33-20 victory.
Hailey Austin led the 2-1 Lady Bears with six points. Taylor Lunsford tossed in four. Taytum Phillps and Jenna Wilson added three each. Kylie Jones and Paige Phillips scored two each.