Lady Bears overcome shooting woes to knock off Perry Central

By John Henson, Managing Editor



During perhaps their worst night offensively of the season, the Harlan County Lady Bears found a way to earn one of their most impressive wins. Harlan County put together a strong defensive performance, overcoming a five-point halftime deficit to knock off visiting Perry Central 59-55 on Monday.
The Lady Bears shot only 33 percent (17 or 52) from the field and missed 12 of 13 shots from behind the 3-point line, but still found a way to knock off the Lady Commodores, who are ranked third in the 14th Region in RPI and knocked off 13th Region power Knox Central two weeks ago.
“We had a rough night shooting, but defensively we stayed with the game plan. Even when you’re not hitting, you have to be able to count on that,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “We had a hard time the second quarter, but I thought we showed a lot of toughness and grit in the third and fourth quarters.
“They have a nice team and just beat Knox Central. They have three good guards and we made them earn their shots. We should have attacked a little more, and we also have to learn to take care of the ball. I think that will come with more experience. The kids stayed the course though and were able to extend it to a double-digit lead.”
Sophomore guard Ella Karst led a balanced offensive attack for the 10-9 Lady Bears. Jaylin Smith and Taytum Griffin added 10 points each.
Emalee Neace, a sophomore guard, led the 12-9 Lady Commodores with 25 points. Kyra McAlarnis scored 13.
HCHS hit only four of 11 shots in the first quarter but build a 14-7 lead with Smith scoring six points.
The Lady Bears went ice cold in the second period, missing their first 11 shots from the field before Hailey Austin finally broke the drought with 1:04 left in the half. Harlan County missed 13 of 14 shots in the quarter and trailed 25-19 at the break.
Harlan County turned the momentum by forcing nine Perry Central turnovers in the third quarter. Karst had three baskets in the period and Griffin added two as HCHS outscored Perry 26-15 to take a five-point lead.
The Lady Bears put the game away with a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 58-45 on two free throws by Paige Phillips with 2:07 left. The Lady Bears’ turnover issues allowed Perry to close the game with a 10-1 run, but the Lady Commodores’ struggles on offense kept them from making it even closer.
Harlan County returns to action Wednesday in a 6 p.m. game at Leslie County before returning home to face Clay County on Thursday at 7:30. Perry Central travels to Letcher Central on Thursday.