Lady Eagles come up big at the line down the stretch to down HCHS


John Henson

Sophomore guard Ella Karst scored 20 points on Wednesday to lead Harlan County in a 62-56 loss at Leslie County.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

HYDEN — Down by 11 in the third quarter, the Harlan County Lady Bears battled back several times in the final period but couldn’t overcome a clutch performance at the free-throw line by Leslie County. The Lady Eagles hit 10 of 11 at the line in the fourth quarter and connected on 23 of 31 for the game to hang on for a 62-56 victory.
Two straight baskets by Harlan County guard Ella Karst cut the Leslie lead to 52-50 with 4:10 left. A 3-pointer by Taytum Griffin pulled the Lady Bears within three, at 58-55, with two minutes remaining. Leslie County junior guard Courtney Hoskins answered each run with a pair of free throws as part of her game-high 23-point performance that included hitting 13 of 14 at the line.
Emma Napier a 6-1 junior center, added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Eagles.
Karst and junior forward Jaylin Smith carried the HCHS offense with 20 and 17 points, respectively.
Harlan County grabbed an early 5-2 lead on baskets by Taylor Lunsford and Karst, but Leslie fought back to take a 14-11 lead by the end of the period as Napier accounted for three of the Lady Eagles’ four baskets in the quarter.
The Lady Bears battled back to within two at halftime, at 28-26, as Karst had two baskets, including a 3-pointer.
Leslie outscored Harlan County 16-13 in the third quarter, led by three baskets from Hoskins, to take a five-point lead into the final period. Smith hit all three of her shots from the field in the quarter.
Harlan County returns to action Thursday at home against Clay County. The 11-7 Lady Eagles will play host to Hazard on Thursday.