South Laurel holds Dragons to three points in final period

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writer

South Laurel held the visiting Dragons of Harlan to three points in the fourth quarter on Saturday as the Cardinals claimed a 57-39 win.

South Laurel has been holding teams under their average most of the season and did just that against the high-scoring Green Dragons.

The 20-7 Cardinals were led by senior guards Parker Payne and Eli Gover with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Caden Jones and Jardan Made each scored eight points.

“They were without (Jaedyn) Gist, and he does a lot for them,” said South Laurel coach Jeff Davis. “Coach (Derrick) Akal has done a fantastic job with them. It was a battle all the way through the third quarter. We were able to get enough stops to extend the lead a little.

Harlan played without the services of senior forward Jaedyn Gist due to an injury.

The Green Dragons saw just four players score in the game.

Junior guard Kyler McLendon led the way with 23 points. Kaleb McLendon followed with 10. Dylan Dox scored five and Will Austin added three.

It was the ninth time South Laurel has limited an opponent to 40 points or less this season.

“I think we are getting better. It’s good for our guys getting these types of tests. I know some people think we play a cupcake schedule, but I think it’s pretty tough,” added Davis.

Kaleb McLendon scored two baskets as Harlan led 4-0. A jumper by Kyler McLendon made it 6-4. Consecutive 3-pointers by Kaleb and Kyler McLendon had the Dragons ahead 14-13 with 2:28 left in the opening quarter.

South Laurel closed the period with two baskets from Gover and another from Payne to lead 19-14 after eight minutes.

The Cardinals’ lead grew to 32-24 at halftime as Gover added five points in the second quarter while Josh Steele scored four.

Harlan knocked down three of its seven 3-pointers in the third quarter to make it a 41-36 game at the end of the period.

The Dragons were one of 14 from the field in the final quarter.

Harlan shot 26 percent for the game on 15 of 57 from the field. The Cardinals hit 22 of 54 from the floor for 41 percent.

South Laurel held a 35-32 rebounding edge. Mabe led the Cards with 11 boards. Josh Steele pulled down seven. Matthew Pennington grabbed eight rebounds for Harlan. Austin and Kaleb McLendon each had seven.

The Green Dragons committed 19 turnovers, while the Cardinals had nine.

Harlan (23-6) returns to action against Bell County in the 52nd District Tournament at Middlesboro High School.

South Laurel traveled to Madison Central on Monday and will host Lexington Christian on Thursday.

Dragons trounce Knox Central

Senior guard Kaleb McLendon fired in 35 points, including nine 3-pointers, as Harlan rolled to a 107-83 win over visiting Knox Central on Thursday.

The Dragons hit the century mark for the third time this season.

Trenton Cole hit six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points. Will Austin scored 15 and Dylan Cox added 12.

Kyler McLendon was held to nine points. Nate Montanaro followed with six. Cameron Maples and Connor Daniels each scored three. Jaedyn Gist tossed in two.

Harlan raced to a 19-15 advantage after one quarter and led 46-39 at halftime.

Kaleb McLendon nailed six treys in the third quarter as the Dragons extended the lead to 81-60.

Knox Central poured in 23 points in the fourth quarter, but the defense couldn’t stop Harlan from hitting the 100-point mark.

Daniels hit a 3-pointer with 2:53 to play to make it 101-80.

The Panthers placed four players in double figures, led by junior forward/guard Brayden Mills with 24 points. Junior guard Jacob Smith scored 20. Austin Bargo, a sophomore guard, fired in 18 and freshman forward Trevor Jordan added 12.

Knox Central dropped to 4-23 on the season.

The Panthers will visit North Laurel and Clay County this week.

HHS routs Knott

The Green Dragons stepped out of 13th Region play last Wednesday to visit Casey Huff and his Knott Central Patriots.

Harlan used an 18-10 scoring advantage in the third quarter to defeat the Patriots 70-59.

Kyler McLendon led the Dragons with 25 points. Jaedyn Gist scored 13 and Will Austin tossed in 10. Trenton Cole and Dylan Cpx each collected six points. Matthew Pennington added five. Connor Daniels finished with three and Nate Montanaro scored two.

Kaleb McLendon did not play due to an illness.

Junior guard Hunter Haddix led Knott Central with 15 points. Senior center Raiden Richardson scored 12 and Nick Ratliff added 11.

The Patriots (10-16) took a 21-19 edge after one quarter but trailed 37-31 at halftime.

Harlan pushed the lead to 51-43 after the third quarter and held a 19-16 edge in the final quarter.