Green Dragons unable to keep up with hot-shooting Knox Central squad


John Henson

Knox Central’s Jevonte Turner worked against Harlan’s Jordan Akal in Monday’s game in Barbourville. Turner scored 18 in the Panthers’ 104-73 victory.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

BARBOURVILLE — With three-time defending regional champ Knox Central hitting just about everything and a huge district game only a day away, it didn’t take long for Harlan coach Derrick Akal to figure out this was not the Green Dragons’ night. Knox Central placed five in double figures on the way to a 104-73 victory Monday over visiting Harlan.
“At some point, you just know that’s the way it’s going to be. It looked like they weren’t going to miss a shot in the first half. It is what it is and you have to take off your hat to them,” Akal said. “I knew our guys would compete, but it’s tough when you have three games in three days. There’s not much you can do when they shoot like that.”
“We’re starting to move the ball well,” Knox Central coach Tony Patterson said. “The difference between shooting the ball well and not is shooting wide-open shots as opposed to contested. We moved the ball so well we were getting uncontested looks, and when they did come out we were able to shoot layups.
“That’s a good ballclub. That’s as good as I’ve seen Harlan in a long time. We just played really well.”
Senior guard Abe Brock set the tone for the Panthers’ offensive night as he hit all seven of his shots in the first half and 10 of 12 for the game in a 25-point effort.
“He’s been shooting it well all year,” Patterson said. “It usually takes Abe to around Christmas to get the football out of him and in sync with his shot. He hit all five of his shots in the first quarter and the hoop just got bigger for him.”
Senior forward Isaac Mills added 20 for the 21-5 Panthers. Jevonte Turner tossed in 18. Blake Ledford chipped in with 14, and senior Dalton Pilarski came off the bench to add 13 as Central played without standout sophomore center Gavin Chadwell, who has been slowed by a back injury.
The 17-9 Green Dragons were led by senior guard Jordan Akal with 14 points. Junior guard Kaleb McLendon added 13.
Harlan will play host to Harlan County on Tuesday in a girls/boys doubleheader and will be at home against Hazard on Wednesday.

Harlan center Will Austin defended Knox Central’s K.T. Turner in Monday’s game in Barbourville. (John Henson)