Defense sparks Lady Bears at Clay

Published 11:00 pm Monday, January 15, 2018

Trailing by seven in the second quarter Monday at Clay County High School, the Harlan County Lady Bears turned up their press and turned out the lights on Clay’s upset bid.

HCHS dominated the second half with its full-court press, building a lead of as many as 22 points on the way to a 67-53 win.

“Once we adjusted our press it led to some easy baskets and we were able to take the lead for good,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “Clay played hard and hit shots. Any time you can go to Clay and come out with a win, it’s a good win.”

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Senior guard Blair Green helped anchor the press and finished with 24 points, becoming the fourth player in Harlan County history to join the 2,000-point club. Green, a University of Kentucky signee, surpassed 2,000 points last year when her two seasons at Middlesboro in middle school were counted but has now scored 2,021 in her four years at HCHS. She has over 2,800 points in her six seasons of high school basketball.

“I’m proud of Blair. She has had a great career and has done it playing multiple positions,” said Green, who was the first member of the 2,000-point club when she was at Harlan in the 1980s. “I know her focus is on team goals and doing what it takes to win. She knows she couldn’t accomplish any of this without her teammates.”

Junior point guard Phebe McHargue added 12 points for the 13-2 Lady Bears. Senior forward Lainey Cox and junior guard Shelby McDaniel contributed 11 points each.

Sophomore guard Kaylee Mathis led the 14-5 Lady Tigers with 15 points. Shelby Phillips and Taylor Asher contributed 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Clay jumped out to a 17-14 lead after one quarter as Asher had three baskets and Phillps hit two 3-pointers. The lead grew to seven before the HCHS defense turned the momentum. Several turnovers led to three baskets for Green. McDaniel added a 3-pointer as Harlan County built a 32-25 lead going into halftime.

Green had four baskets in the third quarter as Harlan County pulled away, stretching its lead to 49-34 after three quarters. The lead grew to as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter.

Clay cut a 20-point deficit to 11 in the final minute before McDaniel returned to spark another defensive surge that led to two layups.

“We were up 22 late and took some quick shots when we should have been more patient and worked the clock,” Green said. “But, overall, we played hard and it was good win on the road.”

Harlan County plays host to Bell County on Friday in a girls/boys doubleheader.


Harlan County 67, Clay County 53


Phebe McHargue 5 0-0 12, K.K. Johnson 1 1-2 3, Blair Green 8 8-11 24, Lainey Cox 4 3-3 11, Breann Turner 2 0-0 4, Shelby McDaniel 5 0-0 11, Morgan Napier 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 12-16 67.


Taylor Asher 4 2-3 12, Kaylee Mathis 5 4-4 15, Shelby Phillips 5 0-0 14, Kimberlyn Mills 1 0-0 3, Summer Parker 4 0-0 8, Edwina Hacker 0 0-0 0, Alexis Lewis 0 1-2 1, Candy McClure 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 7-9 53.

Harlan County 14 18 17 18 — 67

Clay County 17 8 9 19 — 53

Harlan County 3 (McHargue 2, McDaniel 1), Clay County 8 (Phillips 4, Asher 2, Mathis 1, Mills 1).


County 2,000-point club

Jordan Brock 2,895 2017

Lori Kluck 2,107 1993

Brooklyn Massingill 2,067 2016

Blair Green 2,021 2018

Debbie Hoskins 2,007 1987