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Dragons bounce back with win over Sayre

LEXINGTON — A road trip may have been just what the Harlan Green Dragons needed after losing four of five games.

Harlan bounced back from its recent slump in impressive fashion Thursday in the opening round of the Jim Lancaster Classic, rolling past tournament host Sayre 62-40.

Sayre turned the ball over only three times, but the Dragons were especially good out of their halfcourt defense as the Spartans shot only 29 percent (14 of 48) from the field and hit only four of 22 from beyond the 3-point line. Sayre scored only 16 points in the second half, including four in the final period.

“We weren’t really trying to turn them over, but overall our defense did well,” said Harlan coach Derrick Akal. “This is a good tournament for us. We were able to get rested up a little after six games in eight days, and we hope we can continue to build a little momentum.

Harlan (5-5) placed five in double figures, led by freshman guard Jordan Akal with 17 points. Junior center Jon Eldridge posted another double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Lilian Ledford and Cade Barnes chipped in with 11 points each.

Will Harriston led Sayre with 20 points.

Harlan hit five of eight shots in the first quarter, but two straight 3-pointers by Sayre’s Trey Atkins gave the Spartans an early lead. A 3-pointer by Ledford gave the Dragons a 13-11 lead at the end of the quarter.

Ledford added two more 3-pointers in the second quarter while Harriston had four of the five Sayre baskets in the period. Four straight points by Akal late in the quarter gave Harlan a 32-24 lead at halftime.

Harlan hit six of 15 shots in the third quarter, but the lead grew to 47-36 by the end of the period as Eldridge led the Dragons with three baskets and six rebounds.

Sayre hit only one of 11 shots in the fourth quarter as Harlan pulled away behind a couple of 3-pointers from Barnes. Caleb Adkins and Tate Bryson added baskets as the Dragons closed the game with a 7-1 run.

Harlan will continue tournament play on Friday with a 5 p.m. game against Model. Harlan will play Belfry on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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HARLAN (5-5)

Jordan Akal 5-10 4-4 17, Cade Barnes 4-7 0-0 11, Jared Hawkins 0-1 0-0 0, Kilian Ledford 4-9 0-1 11, Jon Eldridge 7-11 1-2 16, Jaedyn Gist 0-0 0-0 0, Kaleb McLendon 1-1 0-0 3, Carter Barnes 0-2 0-0 0, Tate Bryson 1-1 0-0 2, Caleb Adkins 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 23-44 5-7 62.

SAYRE (1-5)

Justin Freeman 1-2 1-2 3, Nabeel Aslam 0-5 0-0 0, Lee Helmers 0-2 0-0 0, Trey Atkins 4-15 0-0 10, Will Harriston 7-15 6-9 20, Sean Givens 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Madden 0-0 1-2 1, Cory Givens 0-1 0-0 0, Dan Clickenberger 0-0 0-0 0, Zander Collett 2-7 0-0 6, Woods Freeman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-48 8-15 40.

Harlan 13 19 15 15 — 62

Sayre 11 13 12 4 — 40

3-point goals: Harlan 11-26 (Cade Barnes 3-6, Ledford 3-7, Akal 3-9, McLendon 1-1, Eldridge 1-1, Hawkins 0-1, Carter Barnes 0-1), Sayre 4-22 (Collett 2-7, Atkins 2-10, Givens 0-1, Harrison 0-4). Rebounds: Harlan 36 (Eldridge 12, Akal 7, Ledford 7, Gist 4, Cade Barnes 2, Carter Barnes 2, Hawkins 1, McLendon 1), Sayre 18 (). Turnovers: Harlan 13, Sayre 3. Fouled out: Sayre (Helmers).