Dragons Hit 24 3-Pointers in 101-57 Thrashing of Red Bird

Published 10:43 am Monday, February 21, 2022

Senior Night at Harlan High School on Monday marked a special one for Jordan Akal, Johann Gist and John Mark Bryson.

Akal, already the second leading scorer in HHS history, fired in 48 points, including 11 3-pointers as the Green Dragons routed Red Bird 101-57.
Gist scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Bryson added 14 points and nailed four 3-pointers.

Harlan finished the night connecting on 24 of 57 from behind the arc.

“Senior Night is always big for us. John Mark Bryson and Johann Gist haven’t played that much for us, so it was great for them to get a chance to perform in front of their families and friends during their last game here was great,” Harlan coach Derrick Akal said. Last week, Jordan Akal was named KABC Player of the Year in the 13th Region. He has a chance to be named Kentucky Mr. Basketball.

“He’s meant so much to me, the program, his teammates and the district,” Akal said of his son. “I was going to get him out of the game earlier, but (assistant) coach (Paul) Hearld said to me that he’s earned it. I was worried about him getting hurt, but he came out healthy and I’m proud of him. He wanted (50). He may have wanted it too much, but 48 is good. The big thing is coming out injury free and with the win. These seniors have played in a lot of big games and accomplished so much.”

Senior forward Joel Manwill led the 2-18 Cardinals with 20 points. Mark Ngulunga tossed in 12 points and had a team-high seven boards. Felix Onusumba added 11 points.Harlan took a 35-11 lead after one quarter including seven 3’s. The lead grew to 59-30 by halftime as Akal added three more treys and Kyler McLendon had two.Johann Gist led the Dragons in the third quarter with two 3-pointers. Jaedyn Gist knocked down two baskets as the Dragons took a 78-45 lead into the final eight minutes.

Akal poured in 14 points in the fourth period as Harlan topped the century mark for the second time this year.

The Green Dragons defeated Red Bird 100-35 on Jan. 8 in the 13th Region All “A” Classic at HHS.Harlan (20-9) traveled to Clay County on Thursday.

The Dragons will play Middlesboro in the 52nd District Tournament at Bell County High School on Tuesday.The Cardinals will play Oneida Baptist (15-13) in the opening round of the 49th District Tournament at Clay County on Monday in the second game of the girls/boys doubleheader.
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RED BIRD (2-18)
Juan Bynum 1-5 1-2 4, Austin Osborne 2-5 0-0 6, Joel Manwill 7-17 0-0 20, Felix Onusumba 3-10 5-5 11, Mark Ngulunga 6-17 0-1 12, Victor Ilunga 2-3 0-0 4, Nahan Sintayena 0-0 0-0 0, Landon Belcher 0-0 0-0 0, Tristan Helton 0-0 0-0 0, Conner Napier 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals: 21-57 6-7 57.
HARLAN (20-9)
Jordan Akal 15-30 7-9 48, Kaleb McLendon 2-4 0-0 5, John Mark Bryson 5-14 0-0 14, Johann Gist 5-14 0-0 15, Jaedyn Gist 2-4 0-0 4, Kyler McLendon 2-5 0-0 6, Will Austin 2-3 0-0 4, Nate Montanaro 1-1 0-0 3, Matthew Pennington 0-0 0-0 0, Derek Pruitt 0-0 0-0 0, Tristan Burgan 1-1 0-0 2, Darius Akal 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Maples 0-0 0-0 0, Kelson Napier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 35-82 7-11 101.
RBHS   11 19 15 12 — 57
HHS     35 24 19 23 — 101
3-point goals: Red Bird 9-26 (Manwill 6-13, Osborne 2-4, Bynum 1-4, Ilunga 0-1, Napier 0-1, Onusumba 0-2, Ngulunga 0-3), Harlan 24-57 (Akal 11-23, Johann Gist 5-13, Bryson 4-13, Kyler McLendon 2-5, Montanaro 1-1, Kaleb McLendon 1-2).
Rebounds: Red Bird 23 (Ngulunga 7, Bynum 5, Manwill 4, Osborne 2, Onusumba 2, Ilunga 1, Belcher 1, Helton 1), Harlan 44 (Akal 10, Kaleb McLendon 8, Johann Gist 7, Jaedyn Gist 6, Bryson 4, Austin 3, Pennington 2, Darius Akal 2, Kyler McLendon 1, Burgan 1).Turnovers: Red Bird 16, Harlan 6.

Harlan Closes Regular Season with Clay County Win

The Harlan Green Dragons wrapped up the regular season on Thursday with a road win at Clay County, 75-66.

Senior guard Jordan Akal powered Harlan with 21 points. Junior forward Will Austin added 18 points. Kyler McLendon scored 15 while Jaedyn Gist tossed in 12.

Sophomore forward Hayden Harris led Clay County (6-21) with 23 points. Landon Dezarn, a freshman guard, scored 12. Elijah Bundy led the team with seven rebounds,Akal scored nine points and Austin had eight as Harlan led 23-20 after eight minutes.

McKendon and Akal each tallied five points as the Dragons used a 20-9 outburst in the second period and went into the break leading 43-29.Clay County trailed 54-41 entering the final quarter.

The Tigers outscored Harlan 25-21 in the final period.Clay shot 43 percent (24 of 56) from the field and connected on nine of 14 free throws.

The Tigers closed the regular season on a five-game losing streak. The Green Dragons have won four straight and six out of their last seven.Harlan (21-9) takes on Middlesboro (9-21) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the 52nd District Tournament at Bell County High School.

The Bobcats 22-5 will play Harlan County (19-10) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The championship is slated Friday at 7 p.m.

Clay County will host the 49th District Tournament.

The Tigers will take on Jackson County (20-8) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
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Harlan (75) — Jordan Akal 21, Will Austin 18, Kyler McLendon 15, Jaedyn Gist 12, Kaleb McLendon 6, John Mark Bryson 3, Johann Gist 0, Nate Montanaro 0, Derek Pruitt 0, Matthew Pennington 0.
Clay County (66) — Hayden Harris 23, Landon Dezarn 12, Hayden Crockett 9, Grayson Hooker 7, Conner Gilbert 6, Brady Wolfe 4, Tate Rice 3, Elijah Lundy 2, Landon Smith 0, Herald Sizemore 0.
HHS     23 20 11 21 — 75
CCHS   20 09 12 25 — 66
3-Point goals: Harlan 7 (Kyler McKendon 3, Akal 2, Kaleb McLendon 1, Bryson 1), Clay County 8-17 (Harris 2-3, Dezarn 2-4, Crockett 1-1m, Gilbert 1-2, Rice 1-3, Hooker 1-4).

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