Lady Jumpers capitalize on HC’s turnovers to win in Corbin tourney


John Henson

Harlan County’s Jaylin Smith looked for an opening in the Somerset defense during Monday’s game in the Lady Redhounds Christmas Bash. Somerset used a late run to win 49-43.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


CORBIN — Up by two with three minutes left in the first round of the Lady Redhounds Christmas Bash matchup against Somerset, the Harlan County Lady Bears were in position to win ugly. Then the Lady Bears went from ugly to grotesque with four straight turnovers, leading to eight straight points that sent Somerset to a 49-43 victory.
Harlan County’s late-game mistakes continued a trend that haunted the Lady Bears throughout the game. Harlan County had a strong game on the boards with 42 rebounds but often gave the ball right back with poor outlet passes or by dribbling into traps.
“We didn’t have the right mindset to start the game,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “It’s very frustrating to work hard on the defensive end, get a rebound and then give it right back. We’re not good enough to give up points and possessions the way we did tonight. We have to be mentally tougher.”
Somerset shot only 33 percent (19 of 57) from the field, including 5 percent (one of 20) from behind the 3-point line, with standout guard Grace Bruner sidelined by an injury. Seventh-grade guard Jaelyn Dye scored 14 to lead the 6-2 Lady Jumpers.
Harlan County was led by sophomore guard Ella Karst with 17 points and junior forward Jaylin Smith with 12. Junior center Taylor Lunsford contributed seven points and 16 rebounds.
Karst had three of the Lady Bears’ four baskets in the first quarter while Lunsford added five rebounds as HCHS took a 12-7 lead with Somerset hitting only two of 10 shots from the field.
The Lady Jumpers continued to struggle on offense in the second quarter, hitting six of 17 shots, but Harlan County turned the ball over six times and Somerset cut the deficit to 24-22 by halftime. Smith led the Lady Bears in the quarter by hitting three of four shots. Taytum Griffin grabbed four rebounds in the period.
HCHS cooled off to four-of-17 shooting in the third quarter and had six turnovers as Somerset took the lead. Smith’s basket in the closing seconds of the period tied the game at 32-32.
Harlan County turned the ball over 10 times in the fourth quarter and hit only two of nine shots.
The 4-5 Lady Bears will return to action Tuesday, taking on Leslie County in the consolation bracket of the tournament.