Lady Bears off to hot start

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writer

The Harlan County Lady Bears have put together a four-game winning streak and improved to 5-1 after two weeks of the prep basketball season.

Harlan County’s latest victory came Friday in Hyden against always-powerful Leslie County.

The Lady Bears used a 21-11 outburst in the second quarter and outscored the Lady Eagles 17-9 in the final period to win 59-43.

Junior guard Ella Karst led HC with 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting. Taytum Griffin and Jaylin Smith followed with nine points apiece. Hailey Austin scored eight, while Taylor Lunsford and Paige Phillips each added four.

Senior point guard Courtney Hoskins paced Leslie County with 21 points. Senior center Emma Napier finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Baylee Davidson added four points, and Ava Napier tallied three. Iris Napier tossed in two.

Harlan County only committed three turnovers, while the Lady Eagles made eight.

The Lady Bears outrebounded Leslie County 35-25. Phillips pulled down eight to lead HC, while Lunsford and Smith each grabbed six.

Harlan County shot 22 of 52 from the field for 42 percent. Leslie shot 31 percent on 16 of 51 from the field.

A 3-pointer by Hoskins gave the Lady Eagles a 5-2 lead at the 5:18 mark of the opening quarter.

A pair of treys by Karst and another jumper by the point guard allowed the Lady Bears to take a 12-8 lead, but two free throws by Hoskins and a jumper by Emma Napier even the score at 12-all after eight points.

Karst scored seven points as HS opened the second period with a 9-2 run and took a 21-14 advantage with six minutes left in the first half.

From there, Harlan County led for good.

Smith had two baskets, and Karst nailed another 3-pointer as Harlan County took a 33-23 lead at halftime.

Both teams exchanged baskets throughout the third quarter, with the Lady Bears ahead 42-34 entering the final period.

A 3-pointer by Hoskins with 6:26 to play pulled the Lady Eagles within seven at 46-39.

Four points by Smith and a trey by Griffin extended the Lady Bears’ lead to 53-39 with 3:34 remaining.

Harlan County hit eight of 11 free throws down the stretch and cruised to the victory.

The Lady Bears will return to action Tuesday in a 52nd District doubleheader against visiting Bell County. Leslie County (2-1) traveled to Harlan on Tuesday.

The Lady Eagles posted a 35-25 win in the junior varsity game.

Lady Bears defeat Whitley Co.

Harlan County used a 20-9 first-quarter advantage last Tuesday to defeat homestanding Whitley County 63-42.

Karst connected on seven of 10 shooting to finish with 22 points. Griffin poured in 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Smith scored 10. Austin added six points, and Phillips tossed in four. The Lady Bears also got three points from Faith Hoskins and one from Kylie Jones.

Harlan County played without the services of senior center Taylor Lunsford due to an injury.

The Lady Colonels were led in scoring by eighth-grade forward Jonna Rice with 10 points. Alba Castillo-Lopez and Maddie Richardson each added six.

Karst led HC with nine first-quarter points as the Lady Bears took control of the game early.

Griffin fired in 10 points in the second quarter as Harlan County went into the locker room leading 37-22.

In the third quarter, Griffin and Karst each scored five points as the lead swelled to 52-30.

Whitley County (2-3) hosted North Laurel on Tuesday and will entertain Lincoln County on Friday.