Dragons fall to Clay despite 34-point night from McLendon

Published 4:29 pm Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Staff Report
Five days after a 46-point loss in Manchester, the Harlan Green Dragons got a second chance at Clay County on Wednesday in the consolation bracket of the WYMT Mountain Classic at Knott Central High School.
Harlan withstood a 7-0 run to start the game, then got as close as five going into the fourth quarter before Clay pulled away to win 67-57.
“For us it’s all about getting better, every day and every game,” Harlan coach Derrick Akal said. “A lot of it is getting comfortable with so many players in different roles this year. I also thought we played a lot harder tonight.”
“We knew coming over here it wouldn’t be the same type of game as last week,” Clay County coach Michael Jones said. “I was proud of the way we responded.”
Senior forward Hayden Harris scored 24 points to lead the Tigers. Ethan Jackson and Jerrod Roark added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Harlan senior guard Kyler McLendon, who was held to 11 points in the early meeting, exploded for 39 points on Wednesday as he hit nine 3-pointers.
“We talked at halftime about staying the course and limiting McLendon’s touches. He was just shooting lights out,” Jones said. “Our guys didn’t do a bad job guarding him. All the credit goes to him.”
Harlan plays host to Middlesboro on Dec. 15 in a girls/boys doubleheader. Clay County (2-2) travels to Oneida Baptist on Tuesday.
Harlan fell 89-58 to Perry Central in a first-round game Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s tournament championship game won by the Dragons.