Redhounds advance to semifinals with win over Harlan

By John Henson, Managing Editor




A strong start and finish were enough for the Corbin Redhounds to move on in the 13th Region Tournament as they watched an early 12-point lead disappear, then rallied from a nine-point hole in the second half to win 63-53 on Monday in the opening round.
“We’ve done that at times this year where we have lulls when we can’t score the basketball. A lot of the times that’s equated to us losing games, so I was happy we persevered enough on the defensive end, got enough stops and rebounds, to hang around,” Corbin coach Tony Pietrowski said. “Our shot selection wasn’t great in the second and third quarters, and we didn’t make them guard for any extended time. In the fourth quarter, we made them guard a little longer and it just equated to better shots.”
Sophomore guard Hayden Llewellyn scored 22 points to lead the 14-7 Hounds, who will play North Laurel on Friday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals. Sophomore forward Brody Wells added 15 points, including five straight at the most crucial time of the game to ignite a 10-0 run after Harlan had tied it at 44-44 with 5:03 to play.
“I’m so proud of that kid. I thought when the game was on the line he turned it up and looked just a little bit different than everyone on the floor,” Pietrowski said. “He was playing around the rim, finishing and getting rebounds. His effort level and the way he played changed the game for us. We got that lead and calmed ourselves down and finished it out.”
“We went about three or four possessions when we didn’t get anything,” Harlan coach Derrick Akal said. “When Will (Austin) got in four trouble it hurt us a lot and we lost our rhythm and continuity.”
Junior guard Jordan Akal scored 25 points and junior forward Jaedyn Gist added 17 to lead the Green Dragons, who finished the season at 17-6.
Corbin came out on fire at the start, racing to a 10-1 lead with Llewellyn and Carter Stewart each hitting 3-pointers as the Hounds were able to beat Harlan down the floor on offense and take away the Dragons’ penetration while on defense.
“They got some runouts and we missed a ton of shots,” Akal said. “I thought we’d be OK because they hadn’t missed any shots early and we didn’t make any. Then in the fourth quarter, we had those empty possessions. We got stops four times and didn’t score. Against a good team like that, you have to get a bucker or two there. You have to take your hat off to them.”
Down 12, the Dragons reeled off seven straight points on two baskets inside by Gist and 3 from Akal. Llewellyn answered for the Hounds with two straight baskets to give Corbin a 22-12 advantage after one quarter.
Corbin maintained a 10-point advantage three minutes into the second quarter before the Hounds’ offense went cold and the Dragons slowly chipped away. Gist, Akal, Kyler McLendon and Will Austin scored in a 10-0 run that tied the game with 1:41 left in the half. Llewellyn briefly put Corbin back on top, but Akal found Kyler McLendon open in the corner for a 3-pointer that gave the Dragons a 29-28 lead at halftime.
A Gist layup early in the third quarter was the only basket for either team in the first four minutes of the second half. Akal’s 3 from the corner after Corbin went to a press pushed the lead to five. A basket by Kyler McLendon and a 3 from Akal pushed Harlan out to a 40-31 lead, but Corbin battled back to within four, a 41-37, going into the final period as Hibbits and Wells had baskets in a 6-1 run.
CORBIN (14-7)
Hayden Llewellyn 22, Carter Stewart 9, Josh Hibbits 9, Isaac McVey 1, Brody Wells 15, Dakota Patterson 7.
HARLAN (17-6)
Jordan Akal 25, Jaedyn Gist 17, Kyler McLendon 8, William Austin 3, Kaleb McLendon 0, Johann Gist 0.

Corbin 22 6 9 26 — 63
Harlan 12 17 12 12 — 53