HCHS girls run win streak to 9 by downing Red Bird


Kim Henson

Jaylin Preston, the only senior on the Harlan County roster this season, went up for a shot in the Lady Bears’ 82-43 Senior NIght win over Red Bird on Thursday.


Despite being a heavy favorite in their regular-season finale Thursday against visiting Red Bird, the Harlan County Lady Bears didn’t take anything for granted. HCHS was in attack mode from the start in an 82-43 victory to extend its win streak to nine.
“I thought offensively we were pretty good for four quarters. We played defense for about three,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “We were a little flat coming out the second half, but it’s hard to get focused sometimes. Our rotations were off because we had a couple of kids different. I thought for the most part they stayed the course.”
Harlan County hit 22 of 31 from the free-throw line, including 12 of 13 in the first quarter to set the tone for the night. The Lady Bears blew the game open with a 21-1 run to open the second quarter. Nolan hopes Thursday’s performance is a good sign heading into next week’s 52nd District Tournament
“It comes down to possessions in the tournament, so we need to focus on that the next couple of practices before we get to Monday night,” he said.
Sophomore guard Ella Karst led a balanced attack for the 19-10 Lady Bears with 22 points. Jaylin Smith followed with 17 and Taytum Griffin contributed 13. Paige Phillips came off the bench to add 12 points and seven rebounds. The Lady Bears played without junior center Taylor Lunsford due to a death in her family.
The 6-18 Lady Cardinals were led by seniors guards Alyssa Gibson and Halle Jackson with 18 and 10 points, respectively.
“I think we’re undefeated when we’ve won the battle at the free-throw line. We wanted to establish that early and be aggressive and get to the basket,” Nolan said. “We looked for each other and did a good job on (Alyssa) Gibson and making her earn her points tonight.”
Harlan County will play Middlesboro on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament at Bell County High School. Bell County will play Harlan at 6 p.m. The championship game is set for Thursday at 7 p.m.