Dragons back in finals after win over Lynn Camp


Chris Jones

Harlan sophomore guard Kyler McLendon battled for a loose ball in 13th Region All “A” Classic action against visiting Lynn Camp. Harlan advanced to the finals with a 66-61 victory. The Dragons will play host to Barbourville on Saturday at 7.


Harlan moved within one win of its second straight 13th Region All “A” Classic with a 66-61 win Tuesday over visiting Lynn Camp.
The Dragons led by 10 with four minutes remaining before the Wildcats fought back, getting as close as three with three seconds left a 3-pointer by Spencer Gilbert. Jordan Akal put the game away with two free throws.
“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 winner of 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.”
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. 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 as 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 hit a trey 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 have 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.