Dragons use third quarter spurt to defeat South Laurel

Published 3:44 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writer

The Harlan Green Dragons used a 22-10 outburst in the third quarter on Tuesday to defeat visiting South Laurel 71-63.

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It marked the first win by Harlan (1-0) over the Cardinals (0-1) in 15 all-time matchups.

South Laurel took a 39-35 lead into the break. Baskets by Jordan Mabe and Parker Payne pushed the advantage to eight after one minute into the second half.

The Dragons reeled off 11 unanswered points, including six points by Will Austin and five by Kyler McLendon, to lead 46-43 at the 4:56 mark.

Harlan closed the third period with a 9-2 spurt as Jaedyn Gist scored seven points.

The Green Dragons, which hit 10 of 13 from the field in the period, led 57-49 heading into the final quarter.

A 6-0 run, including a jumper by Austin, allowed Harlan to build a 68-54 cushion.

The Cardinals got as close as eight on two different occasions, including the final margin.

McLendon and Gist powered Harlan with 24 points apiece. Kaleb McLendon scored 13. Austin finished with eight points and 11 rebounds despite first-half foul trouble.

Ashton Garland and Caden Jones each had 18 points for the Cardinals. Payne tossed in 13.

” I thought we started the third quarter really well. They just did a good job of weathering our storm,” said South Laurel coach Jeff Davis. “They made some shots, and then we starting to force some things. We went away from the things that got us the lead.

“This is a tough place to play. They’re a really good team. Coach (Akal) does a great job.”

Six different Cardinals scored in the first quarter as South led 18-14 after eight minutes of play.

Both teams poured in 21 points each in the second quarter, with the Cardinals ahead by four at halftime.

“I think with our experience and the four returning seniors, we got some stops and played pretty good defense, and played pretty good there at the end,” said Harlan coach Derrick Akal.

“There was a spurt in the third quarter where we played really well. South Laurel played hard and has a really good basketball team. It was a good win for us at home and for the fans.”

Harlan (1-0) returns to action Saturday in the Ted Cook Classic against West Jessamine at South Laurel at 5:45 p.m.

South Laurel (0-1) takes on McCreary Central at 7:30 at home on Saturday.

Blaine Baker scored 15 points to lead the Cardinals past Harlan 44-28 in the junior varsity game.

Jordan Steele tossed in nine points, and Aiden Helton added eight for South Laurel.

Dylan Cox paced the Dragons with nine points. Nate Montanaro tallied seven, while Eric Evans scored six. Jake Brewer, Matthew Pennington, and Jacob Clark each had two.