Bell pulls away from HCHS with 11 3s in second half


John Henson

Harlan County’s Jaylin Smith and Bell County’s Ashtyn Meyers battled for a loose ball in Friday’s district clash.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


LOG MOUNTAIN — When they are limited to an inside attack like they were in the first half of Friday’s district clash with one 3-pointer against visiting Harlan County, the Bell County Lady Cats are still a good team.
When they hit 11 3-pointers, as they did in the second half of a 73-52 win, the Lady Cats look like a regional contender.
“That’s one of the things I keep telling the kids. We have some good shooters, but we haven’t been shooting it well,” Bell County coach David Teague said. “If we get that going, it helps tremendously. We were able to get it in the high post and kick it out. It opens so much stuff up.”
Sophomore guard Nadine Johnson carried the Bell offense in the first half and finished with 20 points. Mataya Ausmus and Gracie Wilder added 13 and 10 points, respectively, as Bell evened its record at 3-3 on the season.
Ella Karst led the 4-4 Lady Bears with 18 points, surpassing the 1,000-point mark for her career at both HCHS and Harlan. Taylor Lunsford added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Bell County’s pressure was too much for Harlan County in the early going as the Lady Cats scored the first eight points, including three baskets off turnovers. Johnson was a perfect five of five in the quarter, most on layups in transition as Bell built a 17-7 lead.
“I thought we got off to a good start,” Teague said. “That was one of our keys, putting some pressure on them. I thought the first quarter we did a good job.”
The Lady Bears’ zone began to cause Bell problems in the second period as the Lady Cats missed seven of their first eight shots from the field. Harlan County battled back to within five on two baskets by Smith before Johnson scored her first basket of the quarter in the final seconds to extend the lead to 24-17 at halftime.
“We hit a lull in the second quarter, but give Harlan County credit for that,” Teague said. “They had us pushed out and we got to where we were standing around and not moving.”
Harlan County returns to action Monday in the Lady Redhounds Christmas Bash at Corbin, taking on Somerset at 2 p.m. in the opening game. Bell County will play Grant County at 3:45 in the second game of the Corbin tournament.