Girls’ basketball notebook: Lady Dragons, Bears downed

Published 4:58 pm Thursday, December 15, 2022

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By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writer

Visiting Leslie County opened the game by scoring the first 18 points Tuesday as the Lady Eagles escaped with a 75-62 win over Harlan.

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The Lady Dragons cut the deficit to 58-51 with five minutes left in the game, but Leslie County hit 15 of 16 free throws in the last period to pull away.

“We got out to a quick lead, then got in foul trouble, and then it got tight again,” said Leslie County coach Larry Sparks. “We pulled it back out there before halftime.”

Leslie County placed five players in double figures, led by senior guard Courtney Hoskins with 17. Junior guards Iris Napier and Eden Melton followed with 15 and 14, respectively. Emma Napier, a senior center, scored 12, while Ava Napier, a freshman guard, came off the bench and added 10.

Harlan was led in scoring by sophomore guard Aymanni Wynn with 23 points. Junior guard Emma Owens poured in 18, and sophomore guard Kylie Noe tossed in 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

“There’s no quit in a Harlan team,” said Sparks. “They’re good, and then they got hot. Cut into our lead. It was battle all the way.

“I was proud of our girls’. They played hard. This is a tough place to play. A real good environment. A real good crowd and a lot of excitement. This type of game makes you better.”

Melton scored seven points, and Emma Napier had four as the Lady Eagles took an 18-0 advantage at the 4:12 mark of the first quarter.

“We probably couldn’t have guarded any worst offensively, but man, we couldn’t have thrown one in the ocean that first half,” said Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm-Rowe.

Wynn nailed a 3-pointer with 4:04 left in the period.

Noe fired in nine first-quarter points, but Leslie County led 23-14 after one period.

A 10-0 run by the Lady Eagles, led by three points each by Hoskins and Iris Napier, made it 36-14 with 3-48 remaining in the first half.

Both teams scored 10 points each the rest of to period as Leslie took a 46-24 advantage into the break.

Harlan slowly crawled back into the game in the second half.

A pair of 3-pointers and a three-point play by Wynn had the Lady Dragons within 52-40 at the two-minute mark.

The Lady Eagles went into the fourth quarter leading 55-43.

With 1:38 left in the third quarter, Hoskins became the sixth member of the Lady Eagles to score 2,000 points at LCHS.

“Hoskins is impressive. She’s been there a long time and scored 2,000 for a reason,” said Hamm.

Hoskins joins Hillary Moore, Katie Moore, Jody Sizemore, Heather Benton, and Lexi Myers as the school’s all-time top scorers.

A 3-pointer and two free throws by Owens got Harlan with seven in the fourth period.

The Lady Dragons would hit seven of eight free throws early in the quarter, but the Lady Eagles won the game at the line in the last period.

“I told the girls that’s who we are, referring to the offensive game in the second half, said Hamm-Rowe. “We hang our hat on playing defense, and rebounding, and getting our hands on balls, try to run in transition and just being aggressive. I don’t think that’s who we were in the first half.”

The Lady Dragons are still without sophomore forward Leah Davis. According to Hamm-Rowe, ‘she could return to the next game.’ Harlan was also without juniors Carly Madden and Kaylee Clark on Tuesday.

Both teams return to action Friday in district action. Leslie County (3-1) plays host to Hazard, while Harlan (1-3) travels to Middlesboro in the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader.

Bell beat Lady Bears
Junior forward Gracie Wilder fired in 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds Tuesday as visiting Bell County claimed a 64-54 district win against Harlan County.
The Lady Cats shot 46 percent from the field on 25 of 55 while Harlan County hit 22 of 76 for 29 percent.
Sophomore guard Lauren McGeorge and senior guard Mataya Ausmus scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Cats.
Junior guard Ella Karst scored 19 and grabbed nine boards to power HCHS. Jaylin Smith, a senior guard, finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Harlan County.
The Lady Bears held a 48-41 rebounding edge over Bell High. Taylor Lunsford had a team-high 15 rebounds for HC.
Karst had two baskets as the Lady Bears led 11-10 after one quarter.
Wilder tossed in six points, and Kerri Lamb added four points as Bell County took a 27-24 advantage at halftime.
The Lady Cats took over in the third quarter as Wilder poured in 11 and McGeorge scored seven. Bell took a 50-34 lead into the final period.
Karst scored 10 points and Smith added six in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Cats improved to 1-0 in the district.
Bell County committed 14 turnovers compared to 10 for the Lady Bears.
Lamb finished with seven points and 11 rebounds for Bell. Hallee Jones tossed in six while Mikayla Gambrel and Addison Lucas each scored two.
Senior guard Hailey Austin finished with eight points for the Lady Bears. Lunsford added six while Taytum Griffin was held to four. Faith Hoskins and Paige Phillips each tallied two points. Kylie Jones had five rebounds for HC.
The 4-1 Lady Cats will host Claiborne (Tenn.) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. as part of the Pride of the Mountain Basketball Showcase.
Harlan County (5-2) played host to Pineville on Friday.