Strong defensive effort sends HHS to win over Bell

Published 11:50 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

The Harlan Lady Dragons used a balanced scoring attack and a stifling defensive effort to win their second straight district game Friday as they cruised past visiting Bell County 56-46 in the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader.

Harlan (2-2 overall, 2-0 district) held the Lady Cats to 35 percent (13-for-38) shooting and forced 25 turnovers, including 10 in the first quarter. Most importantly to coach Tiffany Hamm, the Lady Dragons remained aggressive despite sending Bell to the line 35 times.

“I don’t want to have to make them aggressive; as a coach, you want to be trying to pull them back rather than trying to push them,” she said. “They called it a little tight, and we’ve got to adjust a little better. But it was a survival game at the end with so many girls having four fouls.”

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Sophomore Natalee King paced the Lady Dragons with 14 points. Seniors Mackenzie King and Noah Canady added 11 and 10, respectively.

“Mackenzie’s a 1,000-point scorer, but I’ve been preaching to these girls since May that every one of them has skills,” Hamm said. “I want them to be complete basketball players. I’m glad we had a balanced game where we had to rely on everybody. I think it’s going to build confidence.”

The teams traded baskets early before the Lady Dragons took the lead for good with a three-point play by Natalee King with 2:09 left in the first quarter, followed 30 seconds later by a Payeton Charles 3-pointer. Harlan led 19-13 at the end of the quarter after adding baskets by Taylor Simpson and Katelyn Burkhart in the final minute.

Brittany Cupp’s putback at the 1:23 mark in the first quarter proved to be Bell County’s last field goal for more than eight minutes before Cupp found the basket again with 11 seconds to play in the half. The Lady Cats stayed in the game with free throws, however, hitting 10 of 18 from the line in the second quarter. Cupp, a senior, scored nine points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Lady Dragons knocked down seven of 11 shots in the third quarter, including all three 3-point attempts, as they extended their lead to 48-36. Charles hit a pair of 3s in the quarter, and Natalee King added five.

Bell County (1-3, 0-1) rallied in the final period, again with the aid of free throws. The Lady Cats pulled within six on a 3-pointer by Karlee Cox with 6:14 remaining but could get no closer.

Cox and Abby Harris each scored 12 points to lead the Lady Cats.

Harlan returns to action Saturday at home against Letcher County Central. Bell will play host to Harlan County on Tuesday.


Harlan 56, Bell County 46


Brittany Davis 4-7 0-1 8, Lindsay Bryant 0-5 4-6 4, Karlee Cox 3-9 4-10 12, Abby Harris 3-8 5-6 12, Brittany Cupp 3-7 3-10 9, Brea Browning 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Cornett 0-2 0-0 0, McKenzie Griffin 0-0 1-2 1, Lakin King 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-38 17-35 46.

HARLAN (2-2)

Noah Canady 4-8 0-2 10, Whitney Wilson 0-2 1-2 1, Natalee King 4-9 5-8 14, Mackenzie King 5-7 1-2 11, Brandi Haywood 1-5 0-3 2, Payeton Charles 3-6 0-2 9, Taylor Simpson 1-2 2-2 4, Katelyn Burkhart 2-2 0-0 5. Totals: 20-41 9-21 56.

1 2 3 4 F

Bell Co 13 12 11 10 46

Harlan 19 11 18 8 56

3-point goals: Bell County 3-11 (Cox 2-6, Harris 1-2, Cornett 0-1, Bryant 0-2), Harlan 7-13 (Charles 3-5, Canady 2-5, N.King 1-1, Burkhart 1-1, Wilson 0-1). Rebounds: Bell County 36 (Cupp 11), Harlan 28 (Haywood 6). Assists: Bell County 3 (Davis, Bryant, Harris 1), Harlan 7 (Canady, Charles 2). Turnovers: Bell County 25, Harlan 22. Fouled out: Bell County (Davis, Harris, Cox), Harlan (N.King, Haywood).