Harlan’s upset bid falls short in loss to Lady Lions


Chris Jones

Harlan forward Kylie Noe went to the basket in Thursday’s game against Pineville. Noe had 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Lady Dragons dropped a hard-fough 59-53 decision.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

The Harlan Lady Dragons thought they’d have a shot at All “A” Classic regional favorite Pineville in the first round of the tournament last month, but that was before a coronavirus quarantine took that opportunity away.
Harlan finally got its chance at the Lady Lions on Thursday and pushed them to the limit, trailing by only two in the closing seconds, before falling 59-53.
“We have spurts where we did really well, then we have a couple of mental lapses, but these types of games will help prepare us for the postseason. We’re trying to get better for that day,” Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm said. “Pineville is very deserving (of being regional All “A’ champs) and this is a good test for us. We had some bright spots and some kids step up. We have some minor things we need to improve on, including communication, in those tight moments.”
“We played a good team tonight,” Pineville coach Jamie Mills said. “We told our girls this was a good test for us. We went from 12 days off to right in the fire. We stepped up and kept our cool.”
The Lady Dragons limited Pineville star Whitney Caldwell to only four points in the first half on zero-of-six shooting from the field, but she found a rhythm in the second half on the way to a 24-point performance that include four straight free throws in the final 16 seconds to put the game away.
“That was big for us. We wanted to pack it in on her. She is very good at getting to the rim and drawing fouls,” Hamm said. “That was the gameplay on her and we executed it very well the first half. She’s a good player and will get hers.”
Caldwell hit four of five shots in the third quarter after the slow start and had all but one of Pineville’s field goals in the quarter as the Lady Lions took a 39-35 lead into the final quarter.
“Whitney is a momentum player, and when she gets on a roll she takes off,” Mills said. “We were trying to find a way to get her to put in one in the basket, and she finds a way.”
A strong performance from eighth-grade forward Kylie Noe, who scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, led the 5-10 Lady Dragons. Angel Wynn and Aymanni Wynn each added 12 points with Aymanni Wynn pulling down 11 rebounds.
The Lady Dragons trailed by only three with five minutes left but missed the front end of the bonus twice.
A 3-pointer by Summer Partin started a 9-2 run that pushed the lead to 10. A three-point play by Aymanni Wynn, who had seven rebounds in the fourth quarter, and a 3-pointer by Angel Wynn pulled Harlan back within two as Pineville missed four straight free throws before Caldwell connected on four straight to clinch the win.
“We missed some shots and that is a growing experience,” Mills said. “You have to focus on the rim and keep your concentration.”
Pineville will travel to Middlesboro on Friday. Harlan will play at Knox Central on Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. game.
Ava Arnett scored 10 points and Alyssa Howard added nine as Pineville rolled to a 37-20 win in junior varsity action.
Abbie Jones and Emma Mulkey each scored six points to lead the 3-7 Lady Dragons. Addison Jackson added three points, followed by Ella Lisenbee and Annie Hoskins with two each and Carly Madden with one.


Harlan guard Angel Wynn went up for a loose ball against Pineville’s Summer Partin. Wynn scored 12 points in a 59-53 loss to the visiting Lady Lions. (Chris Jones)