Defending region champs open tourney with win over Pineville


Jaeden Gist

By Paul Lunsford, Contributing Writer

Jordan Akal and Jaedyn Gist combined for 53 points on Saturday as Harlan claimed a 63-50 win over visiting Pineville in the opening round of the 13th Region All “A” Classic.
Akal, a junior guard, nailed five 3-pointers and hit seven of eight at the free-throw line. Gist, a junior forward, hit 11 of 14 from the field and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.
The only negative number for the Green Dragons was 17 turnovers compared to 14 for Pineville.
Senior forward Sean Phipps led the Mountain Lions with 16 points and eight rebounds. Eighth-grade guard Sawyer Thompson came off the bench and scored 10 points.
Harlan, the defending champion, shot 46 percent (25 of 54) from the field, while the Lions shot 34 percent (18 of 53).
Akal scored eight points as the Green Dragons took a 10-2 advantage. Harlan never trailed in the game.
Harlan took a 20-10 lead after eight minutes. Akal scored 16 points in the opening period.
Pineville hit just three of 12 from the field in the quarter.
Two baskets by Gist and a jumper by Akal extended the lead to 30-13 with 3:42 remaining in the first half.
Thompson scored five points as the Lions closed the second quarter with a 10-2 run. Harlan led 32-23 at halftime.
Ian Middleton and Phipps each scored as Pineville cut the deficit to 34-28 at the 5:50 mark of the third quarter.
Four baskets by Gist allowed the Dragons to take a 48-40 advantage into the final period.
Harlan opened the fourth quarter with a 10-4 spurt, led by three baskets by Kyler McLendon, to put the game away.
The 2-0 Dragons will advance to the semifinals against Lynn Camp (1-1) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Harlan. Barbourville (1-2) visits Jackson County (1-1) in the other semifinal game. The championship will take place on Saturday at 7 at Harlan High School.
Pineville (1-1) plays host to Whitley County on Tuesday. The Lions will visit J. Frank White (Tenn.) on Thursday and Williamsburg on Saturday.