Harlan coaching legend “Doc” Gray would have been pleased with the performance of his Lady Dragons on Saturday. Harlan dominated from the start with a 66-19 victory over visiting J. Frank White Academy, Tenn., in the 8th Annual E.R. “Doc” Gray Classic.
“I think (Doc) would have been proud of this bunch and how hard they played. I know the girls are proud to play in a classic honoring his name,” said Harlan coach Derrick Akal.
Jourdan Ledford put the Lady Dragons up early with a 3-pointer to open the contest. Ledford, Jordan Brock and Emma Bianchi each had five points in the first quarter as Harlan jumped out to a 20-4 advantage.
The Lady Dragons were suffocating on the defensive end, forcing the Lady Knights into 12 turnovers in the opening period.
“This bunch has played hard the whole season. It hasn’t showed up sometimes in scoring, but even when we got beat by Clay County I thought we played pretty good defense,” Akal said. “They came out strong tonight.”
Bianchi took over in the second quarter. The eighth-grader had eight points and four rebounds as the lead grew to 35-11 at the half. Bianchi had three straight baskets to put the Lady Dragons up 32-5, before Callie Wilson drained a trey to close the scoring for Harlan.
The Lady Dragons continued to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring J. Frank White Academy 20-2 in the period. This time it was Brock carrying the offensive load. The eighth-grade guard had nine of her game-high 16 points in the third to power Harlan to a 55-13 lead.
“We knew it would take some game experience for these young girls to get their legs up under them. I think Emma and Jordan are starting to show some more confidence,” Akal said.
Callie Wilson put on a shooting clinic in the fourth quarter as Harlan continued to pull away. Wilson hit all four of her field goal attempts, including a pair of treys, for 10 points in the period.
Harlan (2-3) returns to action Tuesday at home against Middlesboro.
A former player for Gray, Adam Brock had the opportunity to honor the legendary coach with a win in the classic named in his honor. Brock, who was filling in for suspended coach David Parks, helped guide the Green Dragons to a 74-44 victory over visiting J. Frank White Academy, Tenn. on Saturday.
“Doc Gray is a great man. I was lucky enough for him to be my coach and coach with him. He is a great mentor and a great legend,” Brock said. “It really felt god.”
Seven Green Dragons combined for 26 points in the first quarter as Harlan raced out to a 14-point lead. Senior David Allen and freshman Caleb Hogue lead the contingent with six points each. Sophomore Isaiah Johnson energized the crowd with a pair of dunks in the opening period.
“David had a solid game. He was in a funk (against Bell County), so it is good to get his confidence back,” Brock said.
Allen continued his strong start in the second quarter, with eight more points in the period. Aaron Simpson also had eight points in the second as the lead grew to 53-26 at the half.
The balanced offensive effort continued in the third quarter, as six Dragons reached the scoring column. Allen again led all scorers with four points, as Harlan took a 68-35 lead to put the game out of reach. Allen finished with 18 points to pace the Dragons.
Harlan returns to action today at home against Middlesboro in a 52nd District double-header.
Harlan (66) – Jordan Brock 16, Jourdan Ledford 11, Torri Mitchell 4, Masie Charles 6, Emma Bianchi 15, Shanae Thomas 1, Katie King 0, Callie Wilson 13, Mackenzie King 0.
J. Frank White Academy (19) – Natasha Beeby 2, Allison Moon 5, Caroline Younce 2, Abby Leaf 6, Cassidy Cunningham 2, Eva Dunn 2.
Harlan (75) — Drew Parks 6, Caleb Hogue 9, Nathan Young 9, Isaiah Johnson 6, David Allen 18, Manny Davis 6, Cody Logan 0, Aaron Simpson 12, Dylan McNeil 5, Leighton Piper 2, Tanner Morris 0, Nathan Varney 2.
J. Frank White (44) — Nathan Dubin 2, Frank Gao 4, Seth Moyers 16, Jarrell Stephney 15, Kenneth Hernon 7, Hunter Carroll 0, Boomer Russell 0, Talton Dunn 0, Tanner Acuff 0, Nathan Hopper 0.