The Harlan Green Dragons continued to show how far they have come on Monday. In a game that could have easily slipped away in recent years, the Dragons pulled away in the second half for a 73-67 victory over 14th Region contender Buckhorn.
“They have beat some quality teams. They shoot the ball well and are really well coached. I knew it would be a difficult game for us,” said Harlan coach David Parks. “We stepped up and played pretty good. It’s a big win for us.”
Harlan led by two after the first quarter. Drew Parks got off to a blazing start. The sophomore guard drained a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 12 of his game-high 26 points in the first quarter to pace the Green Dragons.
“Drew is a really good shooter. He just hasn’t shot the ball well for whatever reason. He got hot early tonight and carried us in the first half,” said Parks.
The two teams continued to swap baskets throughout the second quarter. There were six lead changes in the period, before the Wildcats pulled even at 36. Caleb Hogue put Harlan up by two later in the quarter with a steal and a layup with just 34 seconds remaining. Buckhorn tied the game when Peyton Cooper scored in the final seconds.
Harlan took the lead for good with an impressive third quarter performance. Parks added eight more points in the period as the Dragons went up 56-49. He opened the period and gave the Dragons a lead with a four-point play on their first possession.
“We told them at the half that we had to win early in the third quarter, and we did. We just needed to start guarding,” Parks said.
Harlan turned to its big men in the final period. Junior Tyler Miller delivered 10 points in the fourth quarter and senior Aaron Simpson added seven to hold off the visiting Wildcats. Simpson opened the quarter with a 3-pointer before Miller reeled off 10 straight points. Simpson then closed with the final four Green Dragon points.
“Aaron has been quality every game. He has carried us every game and he got some help tonight from Drew and Tyler. Under those circumstances we can be pretty good,” Parks said. “If it’s just one of them playing it makes it tough, but when they are all playing pretty well like that we are pretty good.”
Harlan (5-2) will host Leslie County on Jan. 2, while Buckhorn (4-3) will travel to Florida for the Walton Sun Blowout on Friday.
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Harlan (73) — Noah Busroe 2, Drew Parks 26, Caleb Hogue 4, Tyler Miller 17, Aaron Simpson 15, Leighton Piper 7, Brandon Osborne 0, Manny Davis 0, Brandon Huff 0.
Buckhorn (67) — Josh Crank 5, Peyton Cooper 14, Ryan Boggs 14, Connor Hoskins 10, Caleb Estep 6, Dylan Cole 6, James Blair 5, Joey Grove 7, Thomas Stidham 0.