Lady Dragons capitalize on fast start, coast past Williamsburg


John Henson

Harlan guard Faith Hoskins put up a shot in Thursday’s game at Williamsburg in the Bill Perkins Holiday Classic. The Lady Dragons hit nine 3-pointers in a 70-54 victory.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg coach Randy Crider was willing to gamble that the Harlan Lady Dragons couldn’t beat his Lady Jackets with 3-pointers as he opened with a zone in the Bill Perkins Holiday Classic on Thursday afternoon.
Four attempts and four makes by freshman wing Aymanni Wynn in the first quarter made it clear the Lady Dragons were up to the challenge. Harlan led from start to finish, hitting nine 3-pointers along the way, to post a 70-54 victory.
“We know they aren’t the greatest 3-point shooting team,” Crider said. “If you look at the stats, they are shooting about 20 percent. Wynn looked like she was shooting in an empty gym. That’s on us, too, but we weren’t closing out like we should have. We were giving up open shots. But hats off to them because they were knocking them down.”
“I think our shooting kind of dominated the game and put us in control early,” said Harlan assistant coach Mike King, who is in charge of the team as coach Tiffany Hamm Rowe deals with family issues. “We played well defensively, at times. We’re trying to give people different looks. We’re getting there.”
Wynn scored 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead the Lady Dragons. Sophomore guard Emma Owens added 20 points, including three of three on 3-pointers. Freshman forward Kylie Noe took care of the inside game with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Even though the Lady Dragons are 5-8 after their second win of the week at Williamsburg, King knows schedule to this point has been brutal with tournaments in Maysville and Richmond allowing Harlan to see excellent competition that could help them later.
“We’ve put in a lot of miles and played some really good competition,” King said. “That was coach Hamm’s plan. She’s our general and wanted to set the tone at the beginning of the season, to get ready for next week (the 13th Region All “A” Classic tournament) and on down the line. It’s all about that.”
Junior center Allie Wilson had a big day for Williamsburg with 19 points, on seven-of-eight shooting, and nine rebounds. Raegan White added 10 points off the bench.
Wynn’s hot start helped Harlan build a 20-10 lead after one quarter as Williamsburg turned the ball over six times.
The Lady Dragons missed 14 of 21 shots in the second period but extended their lead to 40-22 by halftime as Owens provided a lift with three 3-pointers.
Harlan’s lead grew to 59-35 after three quarters as Faith Hoskins, Wynn and Owens each had two baskets. Wilson hit all three of her shots in the period to supply most of the Williamsburg offense.
Williamsburg reeled off 10 straight points in the fourth quarter to get as close as 16 as the Lady Jackets’ pressure appeared to succeed in speeding up the Harlan offense.
“We probably stayed in the 2-3 too long. The full-court press seemed to speed them up and cause some turnovers,” Crider said. “We would get a run and then have turnovers of our own. But after the scrimmage we had with them (an 87-23 loss), this is a major improvement. I think we are taking baby steps and getting better, even though we lost today.”
Both teams returns to action in the 13th Region All “A” Classic, opening Friday at Williamsburg. Middlesboro will meet Lynn Camp on Friday in a play-in game, with the winner taking on Williamsburg at 6 on Monday. Red Bird will play Jackson County at 7:30 on Monday. Harlan will take on Oneida Baptist on Tuesday at 6, with Pineville playing Barbourville at 7:30. The semifinals are set for Thursday, with the championship game on Jan. 7.
Harlan rolled past Lynn Camp 67-41 on Tuesday in the opening game of the Bill Perkins Holiday Classic as Noe scored 18 to lead a balanced attack. Owens and Hoskins added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Abby Mabe led Lynn Camp with 14 points.