Harlan’s Brock shines in finale

Published 1:36 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — After a first-round loss in last year’s state tournament, Harlan High School girls basketball player Jordan Brock promised she’d be back.

She wasn’t above a “told ya so” following the Dragons’ loss to George Rogers Clark in the opening round of this year’s Sweet 16.

“I told you all I’d be back,” she said during a post-game interview.

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And she was right, despite some early-season struggles for Harlan. The Dragons upset rival Harlan County despite dropping the three regular season games against County.

And as impressive as that is, it doesn’t really stack up to the effort she gave in Wednesday’s 81-63 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals.

“Jordan Brock’s performance was one of the greatest I’ve ever coached against,” GRC coach Robbie Graham said. “She hit some incredible shots. She’s pretty tough to guard, relaxed and has so much freedom to take shots.”

The Cardinals double-teamed her, trapped her, tripled-team her and finally settled on just wearing her down.

“We tried to run two at her, but she’s so crafty with the ball she wouldn’t give it up,” Graham said. “She was splitting our traps and sometimes splitting three. She had a head of steam going to the rim. Once a player like that gets a head of steam going toward the basket, it’s hard to stop her.

“I think she got a little tired because we were rotating on her and her shots starting falling short, especially in the fourth quarter. We felt like when we got the lead, she was going to have to out-score us by herself.”

And as valiantly as she tried — making 15 of 37 field goals, six of 16 3-pointers and two of two from the free-throw line — her game-high 38 points wasn’t enough to overcome the Cardinals.

While Harlan was using its best weapon, the Cardinals turned to theirs — a deeper, balanced offensive attack.

“I told the girls we were more balanced as far as our scoring,” Graham said. “We felt like our team against her was a good situation for us. We tried to rotate a lot of girls on her defense. We did a good job moving the ball. I felt like we had to dominate the glass and we did. We had four girls in double figures, which was good. Rebounding was very crucial going into the game.”

GRC had the edge on the glass, grabbing 35 rebounds to 20 for the Dragons. That limited the number of shots for Harlan and let GRC get out in transition — another strength.

“We knew (Brock) was a good player and obviously, she showed us that on the floor,” GRC’s Maleaha Bell said. “We just knew make stops on defense that would lead to offense.”

Four different players were in double figures for the Cardinals — Sha’Maya Behanan had 25, Bell 16, Hayley Harrison 16 and Jasmine Flowers with 16 points. Kennedy Igo added seven.

So the Cardinals pulled out the win, giving them a chance to play again. They take on Mercer County at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

The Dragons are finished for the year, but not Brock. She’ll move on to Tennessee Tech and terrorize Ohio Valley Conference defenses for years to come.