Dragons fall in All A first round

Published 3:15 pm Friday, January 27, 2023

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By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writers

The high-scoring Harlan Green Dragons tied a season-low scoring output Thursday in the opening round of the All A Classic State Tournament held at Eastern Kentucky University.

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Martin County held the Dragons to 49 points as they escaped with a 50-49 win and advanced to play Evangel Christian on Friday.

Harlan (19-3) claimed a 49-47 win over Hazard on Dec. 6 in the WYMT Mountain Classic opener.

The Green Dragons hit just five of 37 3-pointers Thursday morning and were 19 of 65 from the floor for 29 percent.

Harlan outrebounded the Cardinals 47-28. The Dragons committed 16 turnovers, compared to 12 for Martin County.

The game started at 10 on a cold and snowy morning.

The Cardinals were 19 of 47 from the field for 40 percent.

The game was tied seven times, and the lead changed hands on nine different occasions.

Harlan led the game for over 16 minutes, while the Cardinals led for nearly 11 minutes.

Martin County took a 13-12 advantage after the opening quarter, but the Dragons led 30-27 at halftime and 39-37 entering the fourth period.

With 2:26 remaining in the third quarter, Kyler McLendon scored to make it a 39-31 lead for Harlan.

The Cardinals went on a 12-0 run to lead 43-39 with 6:07 left to play.

Will Austin connected on two free throws with 3:15 remaining put the Green Dragons on top 46-45.

Brayden McKenzie had a jumper and made one of two free throws as the Cardinals took a 48-46 advantage.

Kyler McLendon hit one of two free throws at the 2:27 mark to cut the deficit to one.

But Martin County’s Dray Duff made it 50-47 with two free throws with 38 seconds on the clock.

Jaedyn Gist scored a basket with 19 seconds remaining to make it a one-point contest.

Harlan had a chance to win the game with three seconds left, but Austin’s jumper missed, and the Cardinals claimed the victory.

Duff, a junior guard, scored 15 points, and had five assists and four steals to lead the 19-2 Cardinals. Luke Hale, also a junior guard, added 12 points. McKenzie finished with eight points.

Martin County has won 17 consecutive games, while Harlan saw its win streak end at nine.

Austin, a senior forward, led the Dragons with 16 points and 18 rebounds. Gist, also a senior guard, followed with 14 points and nine rebounds. Kyler McLendon, a junior guard, tossed in 13 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Senior Kaleb McLendon added six points and seven rebounds.