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Lady Bears pull away for win over HHS

One night after struggling to hit shots in a loss at Corbin, the Harlan County Lady Bears bounced back Saturday with a 63-33 win over visiting Harlan.

The Lady Bears, who shot only 28 percent at Corbin, hit 20 of 42 shots from the field against Harlan, including 10 of 22 from beyond the 3-point line. Senior forward Morgan Blakley had another big game for the 8-6 Lady Bears with 22 points and nine rebounds.

“I think last night was great for us because we played really hard. Harlan also played really hard. This was a physical game,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “I thought our girls shot it well and played through contact and when we needed a bucket we got a bucket.”

The Lady Bears also benefited from strong play off the bench, led by sophomore guard Jaylin Preston with a career-best 11 points. Senior forward Dixie Ewing added five points and three rebounds, and freshman center Taylor Lunsford contributed four points and five rebounds.

“I thought a lot of people contributed. This was a big district win,” Green said. “JP had been struggling a little lately, so I hope this gives her some confidence. We had several help use off the bench tonight.”

Harlan trailed by only four going into the second quarter but struggled when senior forward Natalee King went out with her third foul. Harlan hit only one of nine shots from the field an one of six from the line in the period as Harlan County built a 33-14 halftime lead. Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm was not at all happy with some of the calls against her best player.

“She, obviously, was not going to get to play in the game. When she was in the game it was tied or 12-11,” Hamm said. “She wasn’t allowed to play, and that’s how I feel about that. I feel she is the best athlete in the county, and if she’s not on the floor it would affect any team. It greatly affects us, but I thought they did a good job. They shot it better than I’ve seen them shoot it. I thought they executed their game plan well.”

Kassy Owens and Blakley each hit 3-pointers as the Lady Bears took a 12-6 lead. Harlan battled back to within one on free throws by King and Emma Owens before a 3 from Wood extended Harlan County’s advantage to 15-11.

Ewing, Preston and Blakley each had two baskets in the second quarter as HCHS slowly pulled away. The lead grew to 30 after three quarters as Preston hit a pair of 3-pointers and Wood added two baskets. Ella Karst had the only two baskets for Harlan in the quarter.

Blakley and Kelly Beth Hoskins each hit 3-pointers as HCHS opened the fourth period with a 7-2 run to start a running clock. Lunsford added two baskets for the Lady Bears.

Harlan (9-8) plays at Williamsburg on Monday. Harlan County will play host to Bell County on Tuesday in a girls/boys doubleheader.

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HCHS 63, Harlan 33

HARLAN (9-8)

Ella Karst 3-12 1-2 8, Angel Wynn 0-3 0-1 0, Natalee King 3-7 4-7 10, Aymanni Wynn 2-5 3-3 7, Alli Thompson 1-2 2-3 4, Emma Owens 0-3 3-10 3, Peighton Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylee Leslie 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 9-32 14-28 33.

HARLAN COUNTY (8-6)

Hannah Wood 3-9 2-2 9, Kelly Beth Hoskins 1-3 2-3 5, Jaylin Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Morgan Blakley 5-7 9-11 22, Kassy Owens 3-4 0-0 7, Jaylin Preston 4-11 0-0 11, Dixie Ewing 2-3 0-2 5, Taylor Lunsford 2-2 0-0 4, Haley Middleton 0-1 0-0 0, Hailey Austin 0-0 0-0 0, Taytum Griffin 0-0 0-0 0, Scarlett Rowe 0-0 0-0 0, Paige Phillips 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Jones 0-0 0-1 0, Jenna Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Izzy Kirby 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-42 13-18 63.

Harlan 11 3 8 11 — 33

Harlan County 15 18 19 11 — 63

3-point goals: Harlan 1-11 (Karst 1-6, King 0-1, Owens 0-1, Angel Wynn 0-3), Harlan County 10-22 (Blakley 3-3, Preston 3-7, Ewing 1-1, Owens 1-2, Hoskins 1-3, Wood 1-5). Rebounds: Harlan 22 (Aymanni Wynn 7, King 4, Karst 3, Thompson 3, Owens 3, P. Jones 1, Leslie 1), Harlan County 31 (Blakley 9, Lunsford 5, Preston 4, Wood 3, Ewing 3, Hoskins 2, Griffin 2, Owens 1, Smith 1, Rowe 1). Turnovers: Harlan 20, Harlan County 18. Fouled out: None.