TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local Sports

March 10, 2014

Clay County looks to avenge early season loss to Harlan

CORBIN — By Chris Parsons

Sports Editor

The Clay County Lady Tigers come in to today's semifinals showdown with Harlan having won four of the last five and six of the last eight 13th Region

Championships.

Last year's opening round loss to Whitley County ended the streak for James Burchell and company, but that was then.

After a 52-45 win over the Lady Colonels in Wednesday's opening round contest, the Lady Tigers find themselves roaming in familiar territory as they try to find a way back to the state tournament. Standing in the way of Burchell and company are the Harlan Lady Dragons, who are no strangers to the big stage this season.

Harlan is 19-12 overall this season and has already claimed one region title this season when it knocked off Pineville to capture the 13th Region All 'A' Championship, earning a trip to Eastern Kentucky University where they played in the All 'A' State Tournament.

Despite a 68-55 loss to University Heights in the opening round, the Lady Dragons had managed stay on course this season before dropping a 68-56 decision to Bell County in the 52nd District finals.

Burchell said he's well aware of what Harlan has accomplished this season and despite the fact he was pleased with the Lady Tigers' effort against Whitley County, was quick to point out the fact that the Lady Dragons can pose some major problems for his squad.

“Harlan is going to try to push the ball up the floor and force the pace of the game on us,” Burchell said. “Jordan Brock can really shoot the three, so we have to be aware of her at all times when she's on the floor.

“Overall Harlan is a very smart team and they are very well coached and it shows by how they stick to whatever gameplan they bring in to a game,” he added. “We have to match their wits and play smart as well, while sticking to our game plan throughout the game.”

While it was nearly three months ago, Harlan does own a victory over the Lady Tigers this season, having picked up a 58-56 win in the first week of the season. The win was the first time Derrick Akal's squad had beaten the Lady Tigers since taking over the program in 2010, bit he knows that win is not worth much now that postseason play is here.

“There are a lot of good teams that can win this tournament and Clay County is definitely one of them,” Akal said. “We have to worry about our team though and try to take care of the things that we control, which is our play and the things we practice on a daily basis.”

 

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