The host Lady Tigers pulled steadily away after the first quarter and rolled to a 59-29 rout of the Lady Dragons.
Harlan (5-16) got basically no offensive output from anybody except sophomore center Kendra Latham, who poured in a game-high 21 points. Her typically impressive showing included an eight-of-14 shooting day from the floor and a five-of-13 effort from the free throw line.
"We did a bad job guarding (Latham) tonight. She'd fake one way and go the other way, and we let her do that," Clay County coach Donnie Gray said.
The rest of the the Lady Dragons combined for eight points on 11 percent (three of 28) shooting.
Clay County's depth allowed the Lady Tigers to wear Harlan down. The Lady Tigers played all 16 of their players, including 10 in a regular rotation, while Harlan used only two reserves the entire night.
"(Gray) ran a lot of people at us. He played about 14 people, five in and five out. We can't do that; we're not deep," Harlan coach Chuck Mitchell said.
"We wanted to slow the game down and keep the score in the 40s. Obviously, we didn't do that."
Gray said he planned before the game to bring in five new players midway through each of the first two quarters.
With Latham and Clay standout guard Jayme Gilbert, the game featured two of the region's top sophomores. Harlan contained Gilbert in the first half, holding her to just six points, but she found other ways to contribute as she fueled a third-quarter barrage that turned the game into a rout.
The Lady Tigers, already leading 30-16, opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run. Clay County stole the ball on each of Harlan's first four trips up the floor in the period.
The Lady Dragons ended up with 10 turnovers in the quarter, eight as the result of Clay County steals.
Gilbert scored five of her 13 points in the quarter and also contributed four steals and three assists as the Lady Tigers outscored Harlan 18-3. The Lady Dragons didn't score in the quarter until Latham converted a three-point play with 3:27 remaining.
"(Gilbert) makes everybody around her better. She's undoubtedly one of the better players in this region, and I have a lot of respect for her," Mitchell said.
Latham provided all of the Lady Dragons' offense for most of the first half. She scored the team's first 10 points before junior forward Rhonda Curtis knocked down a free throw with 6:43 to play in the second quarter.
While Gilbert was largely ineffective against the Dragons' triangle-and-two defense in the first half, two reserves played solidly for the Lady Tigers. Eighth-grade guard Gemma Gray scored all seven of her points in the first quarter to keep Clay in front.
In the second quarter, it was reserve freshman center Maleah Roberts' time to shine. Roberts, who pulled down numerous offensive rebounds throughout the first half and finished the game with a team-high eight boards, scored six points in the second period.
"When people play you that way, other kids have got to step up and make the shots," Gray said.
In spite of the 30-point loss, their second-worst of the season, Mitchell was optimistic about his team's continued improvement.
"This Harlan team is getting better. We did a lot of positive things out there tonight a lot of positive things," he said.
Latham also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for Harlan. Mitchell noted that his sophomore's performance came in spite of an unspecified illness that has hampered her conditioning recently.
"She's had some medical problems, and we're trying to work around them. She was tired. She's a lot better defensively than what we saw tonight," he said.
The Lady Dragons return to action tonight at Letcher, where they will be without Latham, who is scheduled to undergo medical tests.
Clay County (15-8) will play host to Jackson County on Saturday.
The Lady Tigers pitched a near-shutout in the junior varsity matchup, racing to a 25-3 halftime lead en route to a 48-3 rout of Harlan.
Jessica Smallwood and Mariah Aubrey scored nine and six points, respectively, to lead Clay County.
Caroline Huff scored two points for the Lady Dragons and Chassidy Lawson added one.
Crystal Fields 1-6 0-0 2, Megan White 2-11 0-0 4, Stephanie Baker 0-6 0-1 0, Rhonda Curtis 0-3 1-2 1, Kendra Latham 8-14 5-13 21, Caroline Huff 0-1 0-0 0, Chassidy Lawson 0-1 1-2 1. Totals: 11-42 7-18 29.
CLAY COUNTY (15-8)
Jayme Gilbert 6-9 1-2 13, Kari Ealy 2-3 0-0 5, Monica Bowling 5-10 4-4 14, Kelly Jones 1-5 0-0 2, Amanda House 1-2 0-0 2, Page Jackson 1-5 1-2 4, Jenna Wilson 1-5 0-0 2, Holly Hoskins 0-4 0-0 0, Maleah Roberts 5-10 0-0 10, Gemma Gray 2-3 2-2 7, Sarah Burchell 0-0 0-0 0, Stephanie Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Mariah Aubrey 0-1 0-0 0, Britt Combs 0-1 0-0 0, Jessica Smallwood 0-0 0-0 0, Sasha Lyttle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-59 8-10 59.
Harlan 6 10 3 10 29
Clay County 13 17 18 11 59
3-point goals: Harlan 0-8 (Fields 0-1, Baker 0-3, White 0-4), Clay County 3-15 (Ealy 1-2, Gray 1-2, P. Jackson 1-4, Gilbert 0-1, Wilson 0-1, Bowling 0-2, Hoskins 0-3). Rebounds: Harlan 35 (Latham 13), Clay County 35 (Roberts 8). Assists: Harlan 1 (White 1), Clay County 11 (Gilbert 5). Steals: Harlan 4 (Fields, White 2), Clay County 10 (Gilbert 5). Turnovers: Harlan 22, Clay County 8. Fouled out: None.