Harlan County has little trouble with Middlesboro

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

By John Henson

Sports Writer

While they waited for their offense to wake up, the Harlan County Lady Bears had to rely on defense and rebounding in Friday’s game against visiting Middlesboro.

Email newsletter signup

The Lady Bears missed their first seven shots from the field and fell behind 6-0 before rallying to take an eight-point halftime lead. Harlan County took control in the second half on the way to a 65-33 victory, the 31st straight for HCHS over Middlesboro.

Senior guard Ella Karst scored 25 points to lead the 8-9 Lady Bears. Seventh-grade guard Reagan Clem hit five 3-pointers to finish with 15 points.

Junior guard Keevi Betts paced the 3-11 Lady Jackets with 13 points. Senior center Halaya Brown hit all six of her shots from the field and finished with 12 points.

Karst ended Harlan County’s early drought with a 3, then hit another after a Cheyenne Rhymer steal and layup. Clem capped an 11-0 run with a 3-pointer, but Middlesboro closed with a 5-0 run by Betts to pull even at 11-11 after one quarter.

The Lady Jackets turned the ball over seven times and missed their first six shots as HCHS outscored then 10-0 before Brown scored in the closing seconds to cut the deficit to 21-13 at halftime.

Harlan County owned a 24-11 advantage on the boards in the first half and outrebounded Middlesboro 42-19 in the game

“I was proud of the defense and rebounding the first half. The shots weren’t bad shots. We just missed them,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “If those go in, it would have been a different margin. We played really good defense and rebound, but we missed shots we normally make.”

Karst and Clem helped HC take control in the third quarter as each hit a pair of treys to help the Lady Bears build the lead to 42-25 going into the final period.

The same duo added two more 3s each in the fourth period while eighth grader Kaylee Cochran added a 3 and a basket as part of a seven-point night. Harlan County hit eight of 12 shots in the quarter tournament to outscore Middlesboro 23-8.

“Paige (Phillips) played real well and Chey (Rhymer) gave us some big minutes tonight. We had several who made a positive impact on the game,” Nolan said. “We just need to get those kids to consistently fill those roles. We have to build on this. I was proud on the effort on the glass tonight. If we had that (Tuesday at Bell County) it might have been a different story. They just have to stay consistent and it makes it much easier to develop a game plan.

Scoring summary

Harlan County 65, Middlesboro 33


Keevi Betts 5-17 0-2 13, Morgan Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Millie Roberts 1-5 1-2 4, Emily Lambert 1-8 2-3 4, Halaya Brown 6-6 0-0 12, Trinity Derossett 0-1 0-0 0, Trinity Partin 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Meyers 0-0 0-0 0, Jenna Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Aieza Ahmad 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-39 4-9 33.


Ella Karst 7-25 5-6 25, Reagan Clem 5-8 0-0 15, Faith Hoskins 0-4 0-0 0, Paige Phillips 2-5 3-4 7, Whitley Teague 2-6 1-2 5, Cheyenne Rhymer 2-6 0-0 4, Lacey Robinson 0-1 0-0 0, Jaylee Cochran 3-5 0-1 7, Kylee Runions 1-2 0-0 2, Jaycee Simpson 0-0 0-0 0, Whitney Noe 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 22-62 9-16 65.

Middlesboro 11-2-12-8 — 33

Harlan County 11-10-21-23 — 65

3-point goals: Middlesboro 3-14 (Betts 3-7, Roberts 0-3, Lambert 0-4), Harlan County 12-28 (Karst 6-13, Clem 5-7, Cochran 1-4, Runions 0-1, Hoskins 0-3). Rebounds: Middlesboro 19 (Betts 6, Derossett 6, Roberts 3, Lambert 1, Brown 1, Martin 1, Meyers 1), Harlan County 42 (Teague 9, Phillips 8, Hoskins 7, Karst 5, Robinson 5, Rhymer 4, Clem 2, Cochran 1, Runions 1). Turnovers: Middlesboro 17, Harlan County 9. Fouled out: None.