Akal pours in 38 as Dragons open with win at Ellliott


Jordan Akal

One of the state’s leading scorers a year ago at over 25 points per game, Harlan junior guard Jordan Akal may be ready to take it to another level in 2021 as he exploded for 38 points on Monday in the Green Dragons’ 62-48 season-opening win at Elliott County.
“Jordan got in some foul trouble early, but he was efficient while he was on the floor,” Harlan coach Derrick Akal said. “Everyone played hard. You could tell it was the first game for us, but overall I’m proud of effort and grateful that we had the opportunity to play.”
Elliott took an 11-10 lead after one quarter, but Harlan fought back with the help of two 3-pointers by Kaleb McLendon to go up 29-27 at halftime.
Akal heated up in the third quarter, scoring 15 points as the Dragons outscored Elliott 21-7 to build a 50-34 advantage.
Elliott County, which finished 8-14 last season, was led by senior forwards Hunter Lyons and Bryson Dickerson with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
Jaeden Gist led the Dragons with 12 rebounds. Akal and Kaleb McLendon added eight each.
Harlan (1-0) will play host to Pineville on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the 13th Region All “A” Classic.
Cameron Adams scored 10 points while Jace Burton and Nathan Sturgills scored nine each as Ellliott won 33-24 in junior varsity action.
Nate Montanaro, Darius Akal and Jared Moore scored six each for the Dragons. Tristan Burgan and Kelson Napier added three each.
Harlan (62) — Jordan Akal 38, Kyler McLendon 4, Kaleb McLendon 7, Jaeden Gist 9, Will Austin 4.
Elliott County (48) — Eli Griffith 3, Taylor Whitley 6, Gavin Whitt 2, Gatlin Griffith 5, Hunter Lyons 17, Bryson Dickerson 13, Nathaniel Buckner 2.

Harlan 10 19 21 12 — 62
Elliott County 11 16 7 14 — 48
3-point goals: Harlan 6 (Akal 4, Kaleb McLendon 2), Elliott County 4 (E. Griffith 1, G. Griffith 1, Dickerson 1, Lyons 1.