Lady Cats capitalize on 31 turnovers to coast past Harlan County


John Henson

Harlan County’s Jaylin Smith worked the ball down the court as Bell County’s Mataya Ausmus defended in Tuesday’s game. The Lady Czts claimed a 65-40 victory.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


One stat stood out above all the rest Tuesday as the Harlan County Lady Bears fell 65-40 visiting Bell County as the Lady Cats swept the two-game series against HCHS.
Harlan County turned the ball over 31 times with nine in each of the first quarters and 10 in the third quarter as Bell pulled away, taking a three-point lead after one quarter before extending it to 15 af halftime and 21 after three quarters.
“We have to have more people step up who want to handle the ball,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “Thirty one giveways. If we just get half of those back and continue shooting 40 percent, that’s 25 points. The game was manageable and was there defensively. I thought we held them good enough. We made too many trips down the floor without getting a shot up, and you’re not going to beat Bell County like that.”
The 10-5 Lady Cats were led by sophomore forward Gracie Jo Wilder, who scored 17 points while hitting seven of 11 shots. Sophomore point guard Nadene Johnson added 11 points.
Harlan County (7-8) was led by junior center Taylor Lunsford, who hit six of eight shots and finished with 12 points. Sophomore guard Ella Karst added 10 points, well below her average with Bell focusing its defensive efforts on getting the ball out of her hands with traps at midcourt.
Lunsford kept the Lady Bears close early as she hit all three of her shots in the first quarter as HCHS found success when beating the press. Wilder took over in the second quarter, hitting five of five shots as the lead grew to 37-22 at halftime.
Johnson had three baskets in the third quarter and center Navaeh Kerns added two as Bell built a 52-31 lead with the help of 10 more HCHS turnovers.
Harlan County will return to action Friday at Leslie County. Bell County will play Hopkins County Central on Friday in the 2A state tournament in Owensboro.