Dragons burn Wildcats in 66-61 victory

By Paul Lunsford
Contributing Writer

With the Green Dragons ahead 60-50 with 4:10 to remaining, visiting Lynn Camp turned its offense up by using an 8-1 run to cut the deficit to three.

Harlan hit three of five free throws, but a 3-pointer Spencer Gilbert made it 64-61 with three seconds to play. After Jordan Akal hit two free throws, Lynn Camp’s Maison Prater missed a three from back court as the Dragons escaped with a 66-61 victory.

“I told the guys, during a tournament, you’re not going to blow teams out,” said Harlan coach Derrick Akal. “We got a double-digit lead, but I knew we weren’t going to win by 20 because they would make a run.”

Harlan (3-0) advances to Saturday’s 13th Region All “A” Classic championship against Barbourville, a 76-59 win over host Jackson County on Tuesday.

“Down the stretch, we made some mistakes, said Akal. “Overall, I was happy with some coming out with a good win.”

Junior guard Jordan Akal powered the Green Dragons with 27 points, on nine of 22 from the field. He hit five of six 3-pointers.

“The game plan was for Akal to work for everything,” said Lynn Camp coach Rodney Clarke. “We wanted to tag-team him and throw multiple bodies at him. We made him take a lot of shots.”

Harlan placed four players in double digits. Kaleb McLendon scored 12 points while Kyler McLendon and Jaedyn Gist added 10 each.

Junior center Gavin Allen and junior guard Micah Engle led the Wildcats with 18 points apiece. Spencer Gilbert, a senior forward, scored 12.

Lynn Camp opened the game as Allen scored seven straight points.

“When we’re patient and execute, we’re fine,” said Clarke. “We wanted to be patient and make quality shots coming in.”

Harlan fought back Kaleb McLendon scored five points and Gist added a basket to tie the game with 4:34 left in the first quarter to force the Wildcats to call a timeout.

The game was tied at 9 before Harlan took control. Will Austin nailed a 3-pointer and Akal scored seven points. The Dragons led 21-14 after eight minutes.

Akal completed a four-point play and sank a three as Harlan pushed the lead to 28-18 at the 5:11 mark.

A 3-pointer and basket by Akal made it 33-20. The Green Dragons took a 39-28 advantage into the break.

Lynn Camp outscored the Dragons 13-11 in the third quarter, but trailed 50-41 after the third period.

Three baskets by Engle and a trey from Maison Prater pulled the Wildcats within 58-50 with 3:16 to play.

“Our guys hung in there, but it’s not a good feeling when you come up short,” added Clarke.

“They got some good players and their coach does a good job,” said Akal. “The Allen kid and the Engle kid were tough. Lynn Camp has a bright future ahead for them.”

The Wildcats are scheduled to visit Williamsburg on Thursday, Knox Central on Monday and Southwestern next Tuesday.

Harlan 66, Lynn Camp 61


Micah Engle 8-17 0-3 18, Maison Prater 1-4 0-0 3, Jace Boggs 3-9 0-0 7, Spencer Gilbert 4-9 2-3 12, Gavin Allen 8-11 1-2 18, Luke Ledington 1-2 0-0 3, Landon White 0-0 0-0 0, Elijah St. John 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-52 3-8 61.

HARLAN (3-0)

Jordan Akal 9-22 5-6 27, Kyler McLendon 5-7 0-0 10, Kaleb McLendon 4-5 2-2 12, Jaedyn Gist 4-6 2-4 10, Will Austin 3-7 0-0 7, Johann Gist 0-0 0-0 0, John Mark Bryson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-47 9-12 66.

Lynn Camp    14 14 13 20 – 61

Harlan    21 18 11 16 – 66

3-Point goals: Lynn Camp 8-19 (Gilbert 2-4, Engle 2-7, Allen 1-1, Ledington 1-1, Boggs 1-3, Prater 1-3), Harlan 7-16 (Akal 4-9, Kaleb McLendon 2-3, Austin 1-2, Kyler McLendon 0-1). Rebounds: Lynn Camp 25 (Allen 10, Engle 5, Gilbert 4, White 2, Boggs 2, Prater 1, Ledington 1), Harlan 31 (Jaedyn Gist 16, Kyler McLendon 5, Austin 4, Akal 3, Kalen McLendon 3). Assists: Lynn Camp 12 (Prater 4), Harlan 9 (Jaedyn Gist 3, Austin 3). Turnovers: Lynn Camp 8, Harlan 9. Fouled out: None.