Lady Bears turn up defense in victory over Letcher


Chris Jones

Harlan County guard Ella Karst worked through the defense in a game earlier this season. Karst scored 23 points Saturday as the Lady Bears upset defending 14th Region champ Letcher Central.

On a night when they shot less than 30 percent (13 of 44) from the field, the Harlan County Lady Bears found a way to win with defense while claiming their most impressive victory of the season.
Harlan County limited defending 14th Region champ Letcher Central to 32 percent (17 of 53) shooting while forcing 21 turnovers in a 48-47 win on Saturday.
Freshman guard Ella Karst carried the HCHS offense as she scored 23 points, hitting three 3-pointers while connecting on eight of 12 at the free throw line.
Kaylee Banks scored 20 points and added 13 rebounds to lead the Lady Cougars. Tori Holcomb added 11 points.
“Tonight we played four quarters with toughness. Tonight we made each other better,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “We took better care of the ball and were more patient offensively. I think we made steps in the right direction in a tough environment. Letcher was very physical and Bates was as good a player as we have seen all year.”
Harlan County (4-6) will play host to South Laurel on Monday and Leslie County on Tuesday. Letcher Central (7-6) will be at home against Pikeville on Friday.
Sophomore guard Hailey Austin exploded for 21 points as Harlan County won 44-38 in junior varsity action.
Leah Davis and Haley Middleton scored six each for the 4-3 Lady Bears. Paige Phillips, Abby Vitatoe and Taytum Griffin added three each. Kylie Jones scored two.
Heidi Bentley led Letcher with 16 points. Kaylee Banks scored 10. Kyleigh Wright added six. Farrah Combs and Jaleigh Wright chipped in with four and two points, respectively.