Panthers take control early, rout HHS

BARBOURVILLE — Possessing a devastating mixture of talent and athleticism, the Knox Central Panthers were clearly a team in midseason form as they dismantled visiting Harlan 91-49 on Thursday, improving to 8-1 in the process.

Knox Central, led by senior point guard Markelle Turner, ended any mystery about the eventual outcome with a 17-0 run in the first three minutes. After a 3 by Dane Imel and jumper by Nick Martin, Turner hit a mid-range shot, then a 3-pointer and then found Jaylen Adams for a dunk. Kevonte Turner added a three-point play and basket for the 17-point advantage.

“They are the best team we’e faced this year,” Harlan coach Derrick Akal said. “They are physically strong and mature and play well together. I don’t think it’s about what we did wrong, but more about how good they are.”

Knox Central coach Tony Patterson said teamwork has been a strength of the Panthers in the early part of the season.

“We didn’t play real well last week at Pike County,” Patterson said. “We talk about putting yourself behind your teammates and trust each other. A team like that can be dangerous. We did a pretty good job tonight, but we still have room to improve.”

Imel scored 20 points to lead the Panthers. Turner and Zach Patterson added 16 each. Nick Martin chipped in with 10 points.

Kilian Ledford scored 15 points and Jacob Wilson added 10 for the Dragons, who fell to 0-7.

A basket by Jon Eldridge put the Dragons on the board, but Knox Central took a 27-4 lead into the second quarter and continued building despite a trio of 3-pointers by Ledford.

Patterson came off the bench for three baskets in the second quarter as the Panthers led by as many as 37 points before taking a 55-23 advantage into the break.

Imel had three baskets in the third quarter, including two straight to push the Knox Central lead to 65-25 in a 10-2 run that started a running clock. Knox hit seven of 12 shots in the period and led 73-35 going into the final quarter.

Harlan will play Somerset on Dec. 27 in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic. Knox Central will play host to Williamsburg on Friday.

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Led by 15 points from Zach Patterson and 13 from Jake Abner, Knox Central coasted to a 66-18 win in the junior varsity game.

Dakota Shepherd and Evan Aslinger led the 0-3 Dragons with four points each. Connor Scearse and Michael Couch scored three each. Jacob Middleton and Charles Morton chipped in with two each.

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Knox Central 91, Harlan 49

HARLAN (0-7)

Jordan Akal 0-0 0-0 0, Cade Barnes 2-4 4-6 9, Jacob Wilson 3-6 2-2 10, Kilian Ledford 6-13 0-0 15, Jon Eldridge 2-5 0-0 4, Austin Adams 1-7 0-0 3, Jared Hawkins 0-4 2-4 2, Carter Barnes 1-3 0-0 2, Tate Bryson 2-4 0-0 4, Caleb Adkins 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler Carmical 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-47 8-12 49.

KNOX CENTRAL (8-1)

Markell Turner 7-9 0-0 16, Jalen Adams 2-4 0-0 4, Dane Imel 9-15 1-3 20, Nick Martin 4-6 2-2 10, Kevionte Turner 3-8 1-1 7, Zach Patterson 6-7 2-2 16, Dalton Elliott 2-5 2-3 6, Jermel Carton 3-5 1-3 8, Jacob Lindsey 0-0 2-2 2, Zach Moser 1-2 0-0 2, Jacob Abner 0-1 0-0 0, Colby Elliott 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Barnard 0-0 0-0 0, T.J. Terrell 0-1 0-0 0 Jackson Tomlin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 37-64 11-16 91.

Harlan 4 19 12 14 — 49

Knox Central 27 28 18 18 — 91

3-point goals: Harlan 7-22 (Ledford 3-7, Wilson 2-4, Cade Barnes 1-2, Adams 1-6, Eldridge 0-1, Hawkins 0-2), Knox Central 6-10 (Patterson 2-2, Turner 2-3, Carton 1-1, Imel 1-2, Adams 0-1, K. Turner 0-1). Rebounds: Harlan 21 (), Knox Central 30 (). Turnovers: Harlan 19, Knox Central 3. Fouled out: None.