Leslie takes control early in win over Lady Bears


John Henson

Leslie County’s Emily Bowling defended as HCHS junior Jaylin Smith made a pass during Friday’s game. The Lady Eagles grabbed a 16-point lead after one quarter on the way to a 71-50 win.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


HYDEN — With an offense this season devoid of any consistent scoring threats, the Harlan County Lady Bears can’t afford to fall behind early.
That’s exactly what happened Friday with the Lady Bears trailing by two at Leslie County midway through the first quarter. The Lady Eagles capitalized on three HCHS turnovers in an 8-0 run that lasted only about 40 seconds. Leslie then reeled off nine unanswered points in the final minute of the period to build a 26-10 lead.
Three quarters of the game remained, but the game was all but over as Leslie coasted from there for a 71-50 win.
“For the rest of the game, we pretty much played them even, but we can’t afford to have segments like that. We took quick shots and made careless mistakes,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “They are a good team and took advantage of our mistakes. They capitalized on it. We have to be tougher.”
Sophomore guard Courtney Hoskins scored 16 points and senior guard Emily Bowling added 15 for the 7-2 Lady Eagles. Sophomore guard Iris Napier chipped in with 12 points.
Harlan County (3-6) was led by freshman guard Ella Karst with 12 points. The Lady Bears shot only 31 percent (16 of 52) from the field compared to 46 percent (27 of 59) for Leslie. The Lady Eagles continually worked for high-percentage shots, often driving past HCHS defenders for layups.
“We can’t afford to give up 43 points in a half,” Nolan said. “We did a better job the second half, but that segment absolutely killed us. I thought we looked good tonight at times. We just can’t go through stretches like that and beat good teams.”
Harlan County will travel to Letcher Central on Saturday. Leslie County will play host to Betsy Layne on Monday.
Emily Roark scored 16 points to lead Leslie County in a. 46-37 junior varsity victory. Bailey Smith and Eden Melton added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Eighth-grade forward Leah Davis led the 3-3 Lady Bears with 13 points. Taytum Griffin and Paige Phillips each scored seven, followed by Hailey Austin with five, Taylor Lunsford with three and Haley Middleton with two.