Harlan closes strong in win over Betsy Layne


Chris Jones

Harlan guard Emma Owens worked around a defender earlier this season. Owens scored 17 in Harlan’s win over Betsy Layne on Saturday.



After watching a 10-point halftime lead disappear in the third quarter, the Harlan Lady Dragons appeared to be in danger of letting another close game get away. The Lady Dragons, however, responded down the stretch by hitting seven of 10 at the free throw line to pull away for a 53-44 win Saturday over visiting Betsy Layne.
“We finished the game strong,” said Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm. “The last couple of game’s we’ve lost, we didn’t play well down the stretch.”
Playing without freshman forwardAymanni Wynn, the Lady Dragons led for most of the game and escaped with their first win of the season. Wynn was shaken up in Tuesday’s loss to Hazard, but is expected back soon.
Harlan jumped out to a 13-4 advantage after one quarter. The Lady Dragons didn’t score until the 5:15 mark when Emma Owens hit one of two free throws.
Harlan reeled off 11 straight points (four points each from Kylie Noe and Owens, as well as a 3-pointer by Faith Hoskins).
“We started a little bit slow. I called timeout and we regrouped,” said Hamm. “It was a fast first quarter. We did a good job rebounding. They were running in transition. That was a key for us to get that lead.”
Betsy Layne missed seven of nine shot from the field in the opening quarter and had 10 turnovers.
A pair of jumper by Noe and a basket from Owens extended the Lady Dragons’ lead to 20-6 with 6:11 remaining in the first half.
Shyla Kidd scored five points and Madilyn Meade completed a three-point play as Betsy Layne cut the deficit to 23-18 at the 2:42 mark.
Harlan fought back as Scarlett Rowe nailed a 3-pointer. Hoskins hit two free throws and Noe and Abbi Fields hit one each as the Lady Dragons took a 30-20 advantage into the break.
“In the first half, we had a little trouble keeping them out of the paint and fouling too much,” said Hamm. “Once we stuck to our gameplan, we settled down and defended. Everybody had to step up and get a few more rebounds.”
After Owens had a steal and layup, the Lady Cats reeled off 10 unanswered point, led by Katie Kidd’s seven points.
A basket by Noe and a free throw from Fields allowed Harlan to take a 36-33 edge into the final quarter.
Lauryn Watkins had three baskets as the game was tied at 39-all with 5:24 to play. A inside jumper by Noe gave Harlan the lead for good 14 seconds later.
Owens and Noe powered the Lady Dragons with 17 points apiece. Hoskins scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Harlan outrebounded the Lady Cats 40-24. Noe, an eighth-grade forward, had a game-high nine boards for the Lady Dragons.
“She’s super athletic and still new to our system,” said Hamm of Noe. “She competes on both ends of the floor. She does a lot of things you can’t teach. I’m glad she’s on our side.”
Watkins, a senior guard, and Meade, a junior guard, paced Betsy Layne (3-6) with nine points each. Katie Kidd and Kimberly Akers followed with seven apiece. Meade and Akers grabbed seven rebounds each.
Harlan (1-6) returns to action Tuesday in the first game of the girls/boys doubleheader at Middlesboro at 6 p.m. Harlan returns home Friday against Williamsburg before traveling to Barbourville on Saturday. The Lady Dragons’ home game against Letcher Central, which was postponed on Thursday, has been rescheduled for March 8.
Kinleigh Martin scored 11 points as the Lady Cats defeated Harlan 43-20 in the junior varsity game.
Jaden Pente an Skyla Kidd added nine points each.
Carly Madden led the 1-4 Lady Dragons with seven points. Abbie Jones followed with five points. Addison Jackson, Annie Hoskins, Carli Jo Kennedy and Reagan Goodman added two apiece.