Green Dragons hold off Bell County in district clash

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, February 2, 2023


Contributing writer

Junior guard Kyler McLendon scored eight points in a 10-0 run during a two-minute span in the third quarter as Harlan escaped Log Mountain with a 73-70 district win over Bell County.

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The Dragons were playing their first game since losing in the All “A” Classic State Tournament opener to Martin County.

The game features eight ties with the Bobcats leading on six occasions, including 43-42 on a basket by Ethan Buell with 4:12 left in the third period.

Harlan used the 10-0 spurt to make it 52-43 at the 2:15 mark of the quarter.

Blake Burnett, Cameron Hall and Dawson Woolum each scored two points as Bell County closed the quarter on a 6-2 run, but trailed 54-49 at the end of the period.

Both teams exchanged scoring opportunities for the first two minutes of the fourth quarter until Hall scored five straight to pull the Bobcats within 62-61 with 5:30 to play.

That was as close as Bell High would get as the Dragons got six points from McLendon and two basketball by Jaedyn Gist to seal the victory for the HHS.

McLendon powered the Green Dragons with 38 points, including 14 of 19 free throws and four 3-pointers.

Senior forward Will Austin poured in 16 points while Gist, a senior guard, added 13. Kaleb McLendon was the only other Harlan player to score as he contributed six points after fighting with foul trouble most of the game.

Burnett, a freshman guard, paced the Bobcats with 21 points. Woolum, a senior guard, followed with 19 points and Hall, a sophomore, scored 12.

Buell, an eighth-grade forward, tossed in eight points while Cayden Huff and Jacob Jones finished with six and four points, respectively.

Gist scored nine points and Kyler McLendon nailed a pair of 3-pointers as the Dragons took an 18-16 edge after one quarter.

Burnett fired in nine second-period points and Woolum had two baskets as Bell County led 33-31 at halftime.

Kyler McLendon hit a trey and Austin completed a three-point play as Harlan led 39-35 at the 6:34 mark of the third quarter.

Baskets by Burnett and Woolum, a layup by Huff pulled the Bobcats with one just before Buell’s shot that gave them a one-point edge.

Harlan is currently 10-0 against 13th Region opponents. Two others teams are also unbeaten as well within the region (North Laurel 9-0 and Harlan County 6-0).

The 20-3 Green Dragons hosted Harlan County (18-4) in a key district doubleheader on Thursday.

Harlan stands at 4-0 in district play while the Black Bears are 3-0.

The Dragons are slated to entertain Clay County on Saturday afternoon before traveling to Harlan County on Tuesday for a rematch with it’s county rivals.

Bell County (8-14 overall, 1-4 district) was scheduled to host J. Frank White Academy (Tenn.) on Thursday. The Bobcats will visit Middlesboro on Friday and journeys to Owsley County on Saturday to face Williamsburg in the Bobby Bowling Classic at 6 p.m.