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Dragons bury Leslie with 20-0 run in second half

Down by five points at home against visiting Leslie County on Saturday in the Doc Gray classic, the Harlan Green Dragons had the look of a flat team coming off an emotional game a night earlier.

Cade Barnes provided just the spark needed as he hit a jumper, then two straight 3-pointers to start a 20-0 run that sent the Dragons to an 81-61 victory.

The Dragons played a zone for most of the half as coach Derrick Akal didn’t want to push his team too much early after a hard-fought game against Harlan County a night earlier.

“After an emotional loss last night, I didn’t want to come out in the first two or three minutes and go crazy and run out of gas,” Akal said. “We picked our pressure up a little the second half, and once we did that we started getting some easy shots.”

Barnes scored 19 points to share team-high honors with junior center Jon Eldridge, who had another monster night on the boards with 17 rebounds, leading to numerous fast-break buckets for Harlan in the second half.

“They were getting a lot of spot up 3s against our zone. They did a good job of finding their guys,” Akal said. “We started doing a better job of forcing them into tougher shots in the second half and got some layups off that with Jon hitting the boards and getting the ball out.”

Caleb Adkins had his best game of the season off the Harlan bench with 13 points. Jordan Akal and Kilian Ledford added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Trent Day led the 1-4 Eagles with 18 points. Derek Baker scored 11 and Alex Farler chipped in with 10.

There were several lead changes early with Harlan going up 18-17 at the end of the period as Akal and Ledford led the Dragons with two baskets each.

Farler and Day each had two baskets in the second quarter as Leslie pulled even, at 32-32, going into the break.

Day had four baskets in the third quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Leslie grabbed the momentum before Harlan took it back with an extended run to close the period, led by five baskets from Barnes and four from Eldridge. Two straight 3-pointers by Eldridge and a basket by Adkins gave Harlan a 62-46 lead at the end of the period.

An altercation under the Harlan basket in the closing seconds of the quarter proved costly for Harlan as Akal, who drew an intentional foul from Leslie County’s Luke Lewis, was assessed a technical and ejected when he moved toward Lewis after the push that led to the intentional foul.

Akal protested the call against his son, arguing that the ejection was unfair since no punches were thrown. He said the penalty should be the same for each player. Since he was ejected, Akal won’t be able to play the next two games as Harlan will play host to Barbourville on Monday and travel to Pikeville on Tuesday.


Led by 20 points from freshman forward Johan Gist, Harlan won 57-50 in junior varsity action.

Kaleb McLendon added 15 points for the Dragons. Jaeden Gist contributed 10 points. Carl Pacholewski scored seven, while Trey Barnes tossed in three and Charles David Morton added two.

Wyatt Hensley led Leslie County with 17 points. Jason Baker scored 10.

Harlan fell 59-32 to Knox Central in junior varsity action last week. Brock scored 11 and Sizemore added nine for the Panthers.

Morton led Harlan with nine points. Jaedyn Gist and Johan Gist scored seven each. McLendon added six. John Mark Bryson scored three.


Harlan 81, Leslie County 61


Alex Farler 3-11 4-6 10, Trent Asher 3-10 0-0 6, Trent Day 7-21 2-3 18, Randall Brock 2-5 0-1 4, Derek Baker 4-7 0-0 11, Wyatt Hensley 3-5 0-0 7, Luke Lewis 1-1 0-0 3, Jason Baker 0-0 2-2 2, Dalton Asher 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Bradford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-61 8-12 61.

HARLAN (4-3)

Jordan Akal 5-11 2-6 12, Cade Barnes 8-15 0-2 19, Jared Hawkins 1-5 0-1 2, Kilian Ledford 4-6 1-3 10, Jon Eldridge 6-17 5-9 1, Jaeden Gist 1-2 2-2 4, Kaleb McLendon 1-3 0-0 2, Caleb Adkins 5-6 3-4 13, Tate Bryson 0-0 0-0 0, Johan Gist 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 31-65 13-27 81.

Leslie County 17 15 14 15 — 61

Harlan 18 14 30 19 — 81

3-point goals: Leslie County 7-23 (Baker 3-6, Day 2-10, Lewis 1-1, Hensley 1-2, T. Asher 0-1, D. Asher 0-1, Farler 0-2), Harlan 6-19 (Barnes 3-5, Eldridge 2-4, Ledford 1-2, Adkins 0-1, Hawkins 0-2, McLendon 0-2, Akal 0-3). Rebounds: Leslie County 26 (Brock 6, Day 5, D. Baker 4, Asher 4, Hensley 4, J. Baker 2, Farmer 1), Harlan 46 (Eldridge 17, Akal 8, Banes 4, Hawkins 4, Ledford 4, McLendon 3, Gist 3, Adkins 2, Bryson 1). Turnovers: Leslie County 15, Harlan 13. Fouled out: Leslie County (Brock). Technical fouls: Harlan (J. Akal).