Dragons complete dominating run to third straight 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic title

Harlan left little doubt about the best Class A team in the 13th Region by rolling through three opponents by an average of over 41 points to capture its third straight 13th Region All “A” Classic title and earn a trip to Richmond for the All “A” Classic state tournament.
“I am proud of this group,” Harlan coach Derrick Akal said. “This is their straight trip to the state and being able to three-peat doesn’t happen often.”
After blowout wins over Red Bird and Lynn Camp in the first two rounds of the tournament at Harlan, the Green Dragons jumped on Barbourville in the championship game Tuesday by building a 20-10 lead after one quarter on the way to a 78-55 victory.
Harlan hit 12 3-pointers in the win, led by nine from senior guard Jordan Akal, who finished with 33 points. Jaedyn Gist and Kyler McLendon adde 15 and 10 points, respectively, to improve to 12-5 on the season.
“We rebounded the ball on both ends of the floor and defensively we played well,” Akal said. “Also, Kyler played well, probably the best he’s played, so if we can get that contribution from Kyler it just makes us a better team.”
Junior guard Ty Clark hit five of Barbourville’s 10 3-pointers and finished with 21 points. Matthew Warren added 13 points for the 9-3 Tigers.
Harlan will play at Harlan County on Saturday in a girls/boys doubleheader. Barbourville will travel to J. Frank White Academy, Tenn., on Thursday. The Dragons will play the 5th Region champion in the first round of state competition on Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Harlan (78) — Jordan Akal 33, Kyler McLendon 10, Kaleb McLendon 8, Jaedyn Gist 15, Will Austin 8, Matthew Pennington 4, Johann Gist 0, John Mark Bryson 0, Derek Pruitt 0.
Barbourville (55) — Ty Clark 21, Matthew Warren 13, Ethan Smith 3, Travis Scott 4, Jordan Collins 3, Jacob Lundy 6, Tanner Smith 3, Dalton Alsip 2.

Barbourville 10 16 13 16 — 55
Harlan 20 19 21 18 — 78
3-point goals: Barbourville 10 (Clark 5, Warren 3, Smith 1, Collins 1), Harlan 12 (Akal 9, Kaleb McLendon 2, Kyler McLendon 1).