Green Dragons Defeat Harlan County 64-56

Published 8:18 am Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Harlan Green Dragons mission heading into their county-rival game at home on Tuesday was to win.

A win in the district standings would put Harlan, Harlan County and Bell County into a three-way tie.

The Dragons claimed a 64-56 win because of a huge rebounding effort. Harlan held a 36-24 advantage on the boards.

Jaedyn Gist led the Green Dragons with 11 rebounds while Will Austin pulled down nine. Kyler McLendon added seven rebounds.
“Jaedyn and Will do a great job. I’ve always said Jaedyn is the most underrated player in the district or region and probably the state. He can do so many things for us,” said Harlan coach Derrick Akal.

“I thought the difference in the game was we didn’t compete on the backboards like we needed to. We didn’t do a good job guarding them off the dribble either, but they just whipped us on the backboards,” said Harlan County coach Michael Jones.

Gist a junior forward, and senior guard Jordan Akal each scored 23 points to lead the Green Dragons. Harlan improved to 4-2 in district play.

Sophomore guard Trent Noah powered the Black Bears with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Guards Maddox Huff and Jonah Swanner tossed in 11 points apiece.

The loss sent Harlan County to 3-2 to a district mark, and the Bears to their fifth consecutive loss.

The Black Bears had to defeat Middlesboro on Friday to force a three-way tie for the top seed in the 52nd District Tournament scheduled Monday at Bell County.

Akal scored eight first-quarters points and Gist added seven as Harlan took an 18- 14 lead after eight minutes of play. All five starters scored for HC in the opening period.

A pair of 3-pointers by McLendon and another by Kaleb McLendon helped give the Dragons a 35-29 halftime advantage.

In the third quarter, Harlan County got seven points from Noah and Swanner had three baskets as the Black Bears took a 46-44 edge into the final period.

The Green Dragons outscored HC 20-10 in the fourth quarter. Akal scored nine points in the period while Austin had six points and Gist tossed in five. Noah scored five for the Bears in the quarter.

Harlan and Bell County have completed district play with 4-2 marks. Middlesboro is 0-5 in the district.

Knox Central overpowers Dragons 104-73

The Panthers shot 58 percent from the field on Monday to defeat the visiting Dragons.

Knox Central hit 40 of 69 shots and grabbed 42 rebounds on the night.

“I knew our guys would compete. There’s not much you can do when they shoot like that,” said Harlan coach Derrick Akal.
The Panthers placed five players in double figures with senior guard Abe Brock leading the way with 25 points, on 10 of 12 shooting. Senior forward Isaac Mills scored 20. Jevonte Turner added 18.

Central also got 14 points from Blake Ledford and 13 from Dalton Pilarski.

“We’re starting to move the ball well,” Knox Central coach Tony Patterson said. “The difference between shooting the ball well and not is shooting wide-open shots as opposed to contested. We moved the ball so well we were getting uncontested looks, and when they did come out we were able to shoot layups.

Knox Central played without the services of sophomore center Gavin Chadwell. He has been sidelined with a back injury.
Jaedyn Gist led the Green Dragons with 25 points. Jordan Akal followed with 15. Kaleb McLendon added 11.

“That’s a good ballclub. That’s as good as I’ve seen Harlan in a long time. We just played really well,” added Patterson.
Brock tossed in 13 points in the opening quarter as the Panthers jumped out to a 34-28 advantage after one period. Akal scored 12 points in the period.

Jevonte Turner and Brock each had five points as Knox Central took a 56-43 halftime advantage.
The Panthers outscored Harlan 23-14 in the third quarter and led 79-57 entering the final period.

Knox Central hit the century mark late in the fourth quarter and held a 25-16 advantage in the last eight minutes.

The Green Dragons played host to Red Bird on Monday in the second game of a girls/boys doubleheader.

Harlan 64, Harlan County 56
HARLAN COUNTY (16-10)
Maddox Huff 5-15 0-0 11, Trent Noah 9-21 4-4 25, Jackson Huff 2-5 0-0 4, Daniel Carmical 1-3 0-0 3, Jonah Swanner 5-7 1-2 11, Jeremiah Clem 0-0 2-2 2, Tristan Cooper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-51 7-8 56.
HARLAN (18-9)
Jordan Akal 8-20 6-8 23, Kyler McLendon 3-10 0-0 9, Kaleb McLendon 1-1 0-0 3, Jaedyn Gist 9-16 4-6 23, Will Austin 3-11 0-0 6. Totals: 24-58 10-14 64.
HCHS 14 15 17 10 — 56
HHS 18 17 9 20 — 64
3-point goals: Harlan County 5-18 (Noah 3-9, Carmical 1-3, M. Huff 1-4, J. Huff 0-2), Harlan 6-22 (Kyler McLendon 3-9, Kaleb McLendon 1-1, Gist 1-2, Akal 1-8, Austin 0-2).
Rebounds: Harlan County 24 (Noah 12, M. Huff 4, J. Huff 4, Swanner 3, Clem 1), Harlan 36 (Gist 11, Austin 9, Kyler McLendon 7, Akal 6, Kaleb McLendon 3).
Turnovers: Harlan County 13, Harlan 13.

* * * * *
Knox Central 104, Harlan 73
HARLAN (17-9)
Jordan Akal 6-15 0-0 15, Kyler McLendon 3-7 0-0 8, Kaleb McLendon 4-10 1-2 11, Jaedyn Gist 10-15 4-4 25, Will Austin 3-6 0-0 7, Nate Montanaro 0-3 0-0 0, Matthew Pennington 1-2 1-2 3, Tristan Burgan 0-0 0-0 0, John Mark Bryson 1-1 0-0 3, Derek Pruitt 0-2 0-0 0, Darius Akal 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 28-59 7-11 73.
KNOX CENTRAL (21-5)
Jevonte Turner 7-17 4-5 18, Blake Ledford 5-7 0-0 14, Abe Brock 10-12 0-0 25, Isaac Mills 8-11 3-3 20, K.T. Turner 4-6 0-0 8, Landon Mills 1-6 0-0 2 Dalton Pilarski 5-6 3-4 13, Bryce Imel 0-1 1-2 1, Logan King 0-0 0-2 0, Ethan Mills 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Casey Bright 1-1 0-0 2, Brayden Mills 0-0 1-2 1, Grant Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 41-67 12-17 104.
HHS 28 15 14 16 — 73
KCHS 34 22 23 25 — 104
3-point goals: Harlan 10-25 (Akal 3-10, Kylee McLendon 2-4, Kaleb McLendon 2-6, Bryson 1-1, Gist 1-2, Austin 1-2), Knox Central 10-17 (Brock 5-6, Ledford 4-5, Mills 1-1, L. Mills 0-2 J. Turner 0-3).
Rebounds: Harlan 20 (Gist 5, Kyler McLendon 4, J. Akal 2, Bryson 2, Pruitt 2, Kaleb McLendon 1, Austin 1, Pennington 1, Burgan 1, D. Akal 1), Knox Central 42 (J. Turner 13, I. Mills 6, K.T. Turner 5, Brock 4, L. Mills 4, Ledford 3, Pilarski 3, Miller 2, Bright 1, E. Mills 1).

Sports contributor Paul Lunsford wrote this story for the Harlan Enterprise.