Karst Scored 26 as HC tops Lady Dragons

Published 7:42 am Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Sophomore guard Ella Karst fired in 26 points as the Lady Bears to defeat Harlan 65-53.

“I told her Monday we weren’t leaving practice until she was in rhythm again,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “We put in some extra work. Most of it had to do with confidence. I could tell last night she felt more confident. She was down on herself a little, but scorers go through that occasionally. I liked her toughness last night more than anything. She showed a lot of grit and was a true leader on the floor.”

Taylor Lunsford added 13 points and eight rebounds and Jaylin Smith had 11 points and eight rebounds as the Lady Bears improved to 15-10 overall with its fifth straight win and moved to 3-2 in district action.

Harlan County struggled early, falling behind 15-6 before reeling off 15 unanswered points to take control. Harlan didn’t score for over seven minutes, until Aymanni Wynn broke the drought with two free throws. The Lady Dragons didn’t have a basket in the quarter until Wynn hit a 3 with 1:17 left. HCHS led by as many as 15 and took a 34-22 advantage into the halftime break.

“The problem was it was so loud and the kids were counting on me to call sets and couldn’t hear me, so they weren’t in sync,” Nolan said. “We called a timeout and settled down and started communicating better on the floor. Defensively, we made a few adjustments. They hit their first shots and we missed ours, so we needed the change the momentum. We were able to sustain it the rest of the game after that.”

The Lady Dragons turned the ball over 13 times in the decisive second quarter and hit only two of eight shots from the field.

“They went back to that 2-3 and started trapping and it was spread out,” said Harlan assistant coach Mike King, who was in charge of the team with coach Tiffany Hamm Rowe absent. “I moved Kylie (Noe) to the free-throw line as a high post. She really hasn’t been there before. All she has to do is learn to square up because nobody there can stop her.

“We just couldn’t execute on offense. Defensively, we turned them over and did a good job on the boards. The effort was there. It came down to us executing on offense out of the 2-3. That was the difference in the game.”

Wynn scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the 8-15 Lady Dragons. Noe tossed 15 points while Emma Owens added 12.Harlan, which had 22 turnovers on the night, held a 35-33 rebounding edge over HC. The Lady Bears committed 17 turnovers.The Lady Dragons’ losing streak reaches five, while Harlan stands at 1-5 in the district.

Harlan County 65, Harlan 53
Ella Karst 8-20 8-8 26, Taytum Griffin 2-5 0-0 5, Hailey Austin 3-6 0-0 6, Jaylin Smith 3-8 5-10 11, Taylor Lunsford 5-6 3-4 13, Kylie Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Paige Phillips 1-4 0-0 2, Abigail Fields 0-0 0-0 0, Jaylin Preston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-52 16-22 65.
HARLAN (8-15)
Emma Owens 6-10 0-2 12, Aymanni Wynn 6-20 5-6 19, Leah Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Peighton Jones 0-2 5-6 5, Kylie Noe 4-17 7-13 15, Scarlett Rowe 0-0 0-0 0, Addi Jackson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 17-52 17-27 53.Harlan Co. 15 19 16 15 — 65
Harlan 15 7 11 20 — 53
3-point goals: Harlan County 3-12 (Karst 2-5, Griffin 1-3, Smith 0-1, Austin 0-1, Jones 0-2), Harlan 2-13 (Wynn 2-10, Noe 0-1, Davis 0-2).Rebounds: Harlan County 31 (Smith 8, Lunsford 8, Austin 5, Griffin 4, Karst 3, Phillips 2, Jones 1), Harlan 33 (Wynn 9, Jones 8, Noe 7, Davis 5, Rowe 3, Jackson 1).

Sports contributor Paul Lunsford wrote this story for the Harlan Enterprise.