Bell capitalizes on Harlan mistakes for district win


Chris Jones

Harlan guard Angel Wynn was surrounded by Bell County defenders in district action Monday.

On nights when neither team shoots very well, as was the case Monday at Harlan, it sometimes comes down to which team gets the most shots.
Visiting Bell County took 20 more shots thanks to 38 Harlan turnovers and won 76-37 despite shooting only 38 percent (25 of 66) for the game. Harlan was limited to 30 percent (14 of 46) shooting.
“We tried to put a little pressure on them and get out in transition. Harlan plays so hard, and we knew they would get after us,” Bell County coach David Teague said. “They made it tough on us, so.we wanted to get out in transition.”
“The effort was good and that’s something my teams will always have. We practice that way. That’s how we’re going to play,” Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm said. “We have to move past playing hard though and start playing well. We didn’t play well tonight, but I will give credit to Bell. They are as good as advertised. They didn’t do anything we hadn’t prepared for and still had that kind of result.”
Freshman guard Nadine Johnson scored 24 points to lead the 5-1 Lady Cats, who improved to 2-0 in district action. Taliyah McQueen added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Emma Owens scored 14 points and Aymanni Wynn added 12 for the 0-3 Lady Dragons, who were playing their first game in two weeks due to quarantine,
Bell took advantage of 11 Harlan turnovers in the first quarter to build an early lead despite hitting only five of 18 shots. Johnson and Ashtyn Meyers each had two baskets for the Lady Cats as Bell pulled out to a 13-5 advantage. Owens had both of Harlan’s baskets in the opening period.
The Lady Dragons cut down their turnovers in the second quarter but put Bell on the free throw line for 12 free throws in the period as the lead grew to 36-18 by the break. McQueen had two baskets and three rebounds to lead Bell. Owens and Aymanni Wynn each had two baskets for the Lady Dragons and Kaylee Leslie provided a spark off the bench with four rebounds.
Bell had success in the first half driving past the Lady Dragons for layups.
“We weren’t disciplined. You can play hard but not be disciplined,” Hamm said. “We have to continue to play and contain out on the perimeter versus gambling so much.”
“We’ve been trying to get our kids to be more aggressive and I thought they did a good job off the dribble,” Teague said. “We didn’t shoot real well tonight, but they tried to do what we asked them to do.”
Harlan turnovers on the first two possessions of the third quarter led to two McQueen baskets and a 20-point lead for Bell. Johnson had three baskets, two off turnovers, as the lead grew to 50-23.
Aymanni Wynn had three of Harlan’s five baskets in the third quarter, but 13 turnovers were too many to overcome as Bell took a 60-32 advantage into the final period. Johnson and Mataya Ausmus each had three baskets for the Lady Cats.
Baskets by Sarah Kidwell and Ausmus started a running clock for Bell with just over five minutes left in the game. Harlan hit only two of 14 shots from the field in the final quarter but got a lift off the bench from eighth-grader Kylie Noe with six rebounds in the period.
Harlan will return to action Thursday at home against Harlan County. Bell County plays host to Middlesboro on Friday.