Harlan County Rides 9-Game Win Streak into District Tournament

Published 10:07 am Monday, February 21, 2022

The Harlan County Lady Black Bears are peaking at the right time of year.

The Lady Bears claimed an easy 82-43 win over visiting Red Bird on Thursday and will take a nine-game winning streak into this week’s 52nd District Tournament.

Sophomore guard Ella Karst led the Lady Bears with 22 points.

Jaylin Smith followed with 17 points while Taytum Griffin tossed in 13. Paige Phillips came off the bench to add 12 points and seven rebounds.

“I thought offensively we were pretty good for four quarters. We played defense for about three,” said Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan. “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 raced out to a 25-16 advantage after eight minutes of play.HC blew the game open in the second quarter and led 46-19 at halftime.The teams played evenly in the third period. The Lady Bears took a 67-38 lead into the final quarter.Harlan County outscored the Lady Cardinals 15-5 in the fourth period.

The Lady Bears were without the services of junior center Taylor Lunsford. Lunsford’s grandma Nellie King, of Dartmont, passed away Feb. 14, at the age of 94.Red Bird was led by senior guard Alyssa Gibson with 18 points. Halle Jackson added 10 points.The Lady Cardinals closed the season with a 7-18 mark and will play Oneida Baptist (1-25) in the first round of the 49th District Tournament on Monday.

The winner will advance to play North Laurel (21-5) on Wednesday at Clay County High SchoolHarlan County (19-10) will play Middlesboro (10-17) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament at Bell County High School. Bell County (22-7) will play Harlan (9-17) at 6 p.m.

The championship game is scheduled for Thursday at 7.

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RED BIRD (6-18)
Liberty Taylor 3-10 0-0 9, Halee Jackson 5-13 0-0 10, Alyssa Gibson 6-17 2-3, 18, Bryleigh King 0-0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Lawson 2-5 0-0 4, Paige Gibson 1-2 0-0 2, Maddie Napier 0-0 0-0 0, Lauren Osborne 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-51 2-3 43.
HARLAN COUNTY (19-10)
Ella Karst 8-15 5-6 22, Hailey Austin 2-6 0-0 5, Jaylin Preston 1-5 1-3 3, Taytum Griffin 5-11 2-3 13, Jaylin Smith 5-9 7-8 17, Paige Phillips 4-6 4-6 12, Kylie Jones 1-4 0-0 3, Abbigail Fields 2-3 2-2 6, Brianna Howard 0-1 0-0 0, Maddi Middleton 0-1 1-2 1. Totals: 28-61 22-31 82.

RBHS 16 03 19 05 — 43
HCHS 25 21 21 15 — 82
3-point goals: Red Bird 7-22 (A. Gibson 4-13, Taylor 3-9), Harlan County 4-11 (Jones 1-1, Austin 1-2, Karst 1-3, Griffin 1-3, Preston 0-1, Middleton 0-1).
Rebounds: Red Bird 21 (Lawson 6, Jackson 5, A. Gibson 5, Napier 2, Gibson 2, Napier 1), Harlan County 35 (Phillips 7, Smith 6, Karst 5, Griffin 5, Fields 5, Jones 2, Preston 2, Howard 2, Austin 1).
Turnovers: Red Bird 23, Harlan County 5.

Lady Bears edge Jenkins 46-43
On Tuesday, Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan had to miss the game at Jenkins due to a family emergency.

Assistant coach Breann Turner took charge and guided the Lady Bears past Jenkins 46-43.

Sophomore point guard Ella Karst scored 14 points and junior guard Taytum Griffin added 11 to lead the HCHS.

Senior forward Lindsey Rose led the Lady Cavaliers with 14 points. Sophomore forward Alexis Richie added 13.

Jenkins took a 12-3 advantage after the opening quarter and led 17-12 at halftime.

Harlan County took over in the third quarter and outscored the Lady Cavs 18-3 in the period and led 30-20 after three quarters.
Jenkins outscored the Lady Bears 23-16 in the final period.

The 9-21 Lady Cavaliers will play Shelby Valley (21-8) in the opening round of the 59th District Tournament on Tuesday.

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Jenkins (43) — Lindsey Rose 14, Emma Stewart 8, Skye Brown 6, Cadi Frith 2, Alexis Ritchie 13.
Harlan County (46) — Ella Karst 14, Taytum Griffin 11, Hailey Austin 2, Jaylin Smith 6, Taylor Lunsford 2, Kylie Jones 3, Paige Phillips 4, Abbigail Fields 4, Jaylin Preston 0.
HCHS 03 09 18 16 — 46
JHS 12 05 03 23 — 43

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