52nd District tournament opens in Harlan

For one half, the Harlan Lady Dragons battled top seeded Bell County, but the Lady Bobcats took over in the second half to claim a 58-39 win in the 52nd District Tournament opener on Monday at Harlan High School.

Harlan took a 23-21 halftime advantage. The Lady Dragons hit just three of 10 shots in the third period and committed 11 turnovers.

“I couldn’t ask for a better first half as far as executing our game plan,” said Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm. “I thought we controlled everything we could’ve controlled that first half.
And then the third quarter, we went a long time without a field goal and had a lot of turnovers.

Mataya Ausmus scored seven points in the first quarter as the Lady Bobcats took a 13-8 advantage after one quarter. Kylie Noe scored four points while Emma Owens and Alli Thompson each added a basket for the Lady Dragons.

After Bell doubled the lead at 16-8, Aymanni Wynn nailed a 3-pointer and Noe scored inside to cut it 16-13 with 6:21 to play in the first half.

The Lady Cats pushed the lead back to eight before Harlan took over. Angel Wynn hit a trey Thompson scored four points and Abbi Fields added three as the Lady Dragons scored 10 unanswered points and led by two at the break.

Talyah McQueen and Noe exchanged baskets before Bell County reeled off 17 straight points, led by Ashtyn Meyers with a pair of 3-points and Nadine Johnson with five points. Harlan trailed 40-29 entering the fourth quarter.

Bell County connected on 10 of 15 free throws in the last period, outscoring the Lady Dragons 18-10. Thompson fouled out early in the quarter as well as Aymanni Wynn.

Ausmus and Johnson each powered Bell County (20-4) with 16 points. Meyers finished with 11 while McQueen scored 10.

“I thought Johnson was the difference in the game. She took over on both ends of the court,” said Hamm. “They just turned it up a notch in the second half.”

Noe, an eighth-grade forward, led Harlan (8-15) with 13 points. Aymanni Wynn scored nine while Thompson poured in eight.

“I’m just super thankful we got to play (this season),” said Hamm. “I’m glad our seniors got to have a season. We’ve got a young core group. I feel they’ll work in the off season.”

The Lady Dragons lose Thompson, Angel Wynn and Kaylee Leslie to graduation.

Bell County will advantage to next week’s 13th Region Tournament held at The Arena in Corbin.

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The Lady Cats will be joined next week by the Harlan County Lady Bears, who outlasted Middlesboro 49-39 in Monday’s nightcap.

HC held the Lady Jackets to single digit scoring in the first three quarters.

Senior guard Jacey Lewis had a big night for the Lady Bears, scoring 21 points. Ella Karst scored 11 points.

Harlan County out rebounded Middlesboro 36-24. Kassy Owens and Taylor Lunsford pulled down eight boards each for the Lady Bears.

“I thought Kassy did an phenomenal job. I thought she frustrated (Kailey) Owens tremendously and took them out of the rhythm,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan. “Taylor done exactly what we asked her to do. She was in position tonight and done a great job controlling the backboard.”

Gracie Gent paced Middlesboro (9-18) with 12 points. Kailey Owens was held to nine points, but had a team-high 10 rebounds. Mallory James added seven points.

Lewis scored five points as HC led 5-0 after two minutes. James scored six points as the Lady Jackets scored eight straight points and led 8-5 at the 2:45 mark.

Lunsford hit two free throws, but the Lady Bears trailed 8-7 after eight minutes.

Kellybeth Hoskins opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer. Owens’ jumper at the 5:37 mark gave Harlan County the lead for good at 12-10.

Lewis scored seven points as HC extended the lead to 21-16 at halftime.

A jumper by Jaylin Smith, a basket by Owens and two free throws from Karst made it 27-16 with 6:37 remaining in the third quarter.

The teams exchanged baskets the rest of the period with Harlan County leading 33-25 after three quarters.

Lewis scored five points and Hoskins hit two free throws as the Lady Bears led 40-27 with 4:48 to play.

Middlesboro used a 7-0 run to cut it to six, but a basket and two free throws by Karst made it 44-34 with 1:37 left to play.

Harlan County hit nine of 13 free throws in the final period to advantage to the championship game against Bell County on Thursday at 7 p.m.

“Bell County is a very good balanced team. They’ll beat you inside or outside,” added Nolan.
The Lady Bears improved to 10-11 on the season.
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Bell County 58, Harlan 39

BELL COUNTY (20-4)
Talyah McQueen 1-3 8-11 10, Ashtyn Meyers 3-15 2-6 11, Mataya Ausmus 5-7 4-4 16, Abigail Cornett 0-5 0-0 0, Sara Kidwell 2-4 0-1 4, Nadine Johnson 6-12 3-8 16, Lauren McGeorge 0-5 1-2 1, Kayleigh Cox 0-0 0-0 0, Haylee Mills 0-0 0-0 0, Mikayla Gambrel 0-0 0-0 0, Maggie Calloway 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-51 18-32 58.

HARLAN (8-15)
Emma Owens 1-2 0-0 2, Faith Hoskins 0-3 0-1 0, Aymanni Wynn 2-7 4-7 9, Kylie Noe 5-20 3-4 13, Abbi Fields 1-2 1-3 3, Angel Wynn 1-6 1-2 4, Alli Thompson 3-5 2-3 8, Peighton Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Abby Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Annie Hoskins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-46 11-20 39.

Bell County 13 08 19 18 – 58
Harlan 08 15 06 10 – 39

3-Point goals: Bell County 6-23 (Meyers 3-14, Ausmus 2-2, Johnson 1-1, Cornett 0-2, McGeorge 0-4), Harlan 2-10 (Aymanni Wynn 1-4, Angel Wynn 1-5, F. Hoskins 0-1). Rebounds: Bell County 36 (Johnson 9, McQueen 8, Kidwell 5, Ausmus 4, McGeorge 3, Cornett 3, Meyers 2, Cox 2), Harlan 31 (Aymanni Wynn 9, Thompson 8, Noe 5, F. Hoskins 3, Fields 3, Owens 2, Jones 1). Assists: Bell County 6 (Johnson 4), Harlan 6 (Aymanni Wynn 3), Turnovers: Bell County 19, Harlan 23. Fouled out: Harlan (Thompson, Aymanni Wynn).
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Harlan County 49, Middlesboro 39

MIDDLESBORO (9-18)
Gracie Gent 2-12 6-6 12, Keevi Betts 3-9 0-2 6, Mallory James 3-10 1-2 7, Kailey Owens 3-5 3-4 9, Halaya Brown 2-4 0-2 4, Aieza Ahmad 0-0 1-2 1, Aleeza Ahmad 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-40 11-18 39.

HARLAN COUNTY (10-11)
Ella Karst 2-16 6-9 11, Jacey Lewis 7-15 4-6 21, Jaylin Smith 1-4 0-0 2, Kellybeth Hoskins 1-5 4-4 7, Kassy Owens 3-5 0-0 6, Kylie Jones 0-3 0-0 0, Taylor Lunsford 0-3 2-2 2, Hailey Middleton 0-0 0-0 0, Paige Phillips 0-0 0-0 0, Taytum Griffin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 14-52 16-21 49.

Middlesboro 08 08 09 14 – 39
Harlan County 07 14 12 16 – 49

3-Point goals: Middlesboro 2-14 (Gent 2-8, Owens 0-2, Betts 0-4), Harlan County 5-16 (Lewis 3-8, Hoskins 1-3, Karst 1-4, Griffin 0-1). Rebounds: Middlesboro 24 (Owens 10, Brown 5, Gent 3, Betts 3, James 3), Harlan County 36 (Owens 8, Lunsford 8, Smith 6, Lewis 4, Hoskins 4, Karst 3, Jones 3). Assists: Middlesboro 5 (Gent 2), Harlan County 9 (Karst 4). Turnovers: Middlesboro 16, Harlan County 12. Fouled out: Middlesboro (James).