Short-handed Lady Dragons triumph over Middlesboro

Published 12:47 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

For more local sports coverage, visit our content partners at Harlan County Sports.

By John Henson

Contributing Sports Writer

With standout junior wing Aymanni Wynn sidelined by a shoulder injury for Friday’s game at Middlesboro, the Lady Dragons’ already short bench was even shorter with only seven players in uniform.

Kylie Noe and Emma Owens teamed for 39 points as Harlan led most of the way in a 53-44 win. The Lady Dragons held Middlesboro to 30 percent (14 of 47) shooting.

“I’m very proud of our girls for stepping up. We had seven able bodies and they stepped up and did their jobs,” Harlan coach Mackenzie King Varner said.

The Lady Dragons also got a lift off the bench from their two reserves as Gracie Hensley and Reagan Goodman teamed to hit five of five shots while Hensley added seven rebounds.

“Our two girls on the bench tonight are good players. Reagan is a good rebounder, and Gracie goes hard every second she’s in. We appreciate their effort and them doing their jobs,” Varner said.

Junior guard Keevi Betts again led the Middlesboro offense with 23 points. The Lady Jackets fell to 5-15 overall and are locked in the fourth seed in the upcoming 52nd District Tournament with their fifth loss in five district games.

Owens had two baskets in the opening quarter as Harlan built an 11-5 lead while Middlesboro hit only two of 10 shots.

Two 3-pointers by Emily Lambert helped the Lady Jackets get as close as two midway through the second period before Harlan closed with a 9-3 run, led by five points from Noe, to build a 26-18 halftime advantage.

Noe and Owens each had two baskets in the third quarter as the Lady Dragons extended their lead to 14 while Middlesboro was missing eight of 10 shots from the field.

The Lady Dragons’ lead was still at 14 with just under two minutes left when Betts hit three 3-pointers to cut the final deficit to nine.