Just when it seemed the Harlem High School basketball team was on easy street, it ran into a detour.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-0 in Region 3-AAA with a win at Jefferson County High School on Jan. 25, but in the process, they lost another point guard.
Corey Ealy was fouled in the third quarter and took a spill - breaking his right wrist and putting him out for the season.
"Corey made a steal and was driving to the basket, and the Jefferson County player went right over top of him to try and get the ball," Harlem coach Kim Chambers said. "He hit Corey across the forehead and knocked him down. I was concerned because I saw him hit headfirst. Somehow his right hand touched down and he broke both bones in his wrist. It was nasty."
Harlem eventually pulled out a 52-49 win over the Warriors and checked in at No. 15 in the most recent Class AAA state rankings - but the Bulldogs now are depleted for the season's stretch run.
Senior point guard David Green suffered a separated shoulder in a Jan. 18 game against Westside High School. Green is still sidelined by the injury.
Darien Jorden replaced Ealy at Jefferson County and scored eight points to help Harlem erase a 12-point deficit.
Last Saturday in Harlem, though, Lakeside High School used a pressure defense to hand the Bulldogs a 57-45 defeat. Then, on Tuesday in Harlem, the Bulldogs dropped their first region game of the season, losing 60-47 to Cross Creek High School.
Losing one point guard to an injury is bad enough, but having two go down could be enough to send a dream season down the drain.
"That has hurt us big time. We used to have a decent bench, and now we don't have much," Chambers said. "We're just trying to find ourselves again. If we lose our next three region games, we could wind up third (in the region standings)."
A fall to third could be catastrophic - the two teams with the best regular-season records advance to the Class AAA state playoffs.
The good news is that one more Region 3-AAA win would put Harlem in the state playoffs.
Harlem finishes the regular season with three region games this week. The Bulldogs are at home Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. start against Lucy C. Laney, then travel to play Cross Creek on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Harlem closes the week with a road game against Washington County on Friday night.
Green met with doctors last week and was cleared to begin practice Monday. Chambers said he could possibly be ready to play Thursday at Cross Creek but said "He's going to be limited in what he can do."
The injury bug also has bitten the Greenbrier High School basketball team. Senior guard Tommy McKinney is out of action after fracturing his wrist during the Wolfpack's game Friday night at Burke County High School. Also, Wolfpack freshman Eric Taylor has been hampered by a broken toe.
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