BARBOURVILLE — Harlan was unable to hold off host Barbourville in the opening round of the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic on Monday. The Green Dragons were in control for much of the first half, but allowed their lead to slip away in the third quarter before falling 55-53 to the Tigers.
Harlan limited Barbourville to just four points in the first quarter to take a 12-4 lead after eight minutes of play. Sophomore Drew Parks drained a 3-pointer to open the scoring. Junior Tyler Miller and sophomore Caleb Hogue each followed with a basket to make it 7-0 and force Barbourville coach Dinky Phipps take an early timeout. Senior Leighton Piper scored Harlan’s final five points in the quarter.
The Green Dragons maintained a lead throughout the second quarter. A free throw from Barbourville’s Jason Mills reduced the deficit to just two with 1:28 remaining in the quarter, but Harlan closed the period with five straight points. Senior Aaron Simpson drained a trey with 40 seconds remaining in the half and Hogue scored in the lane as time expired to make it 27-20 at the break.
Barbourville turned the game around by outscoring Harlan 16-6 to open the third quarter. Six Tigers scored in the period to put Barbourville up 40-39. Mills tied the game on a layup just over four minutes into the half. Wade Liford then gave the Tigers their first lead with a basket at the 3:00 mark. Harlan managed just 12 points in the quarter and struggled to shoot the ball throughout the contest.
“We didn’t want to turn downs shots if we have them, but usually Drew hits those shots. We didn’t hit them tonight,” said Harlan coach David Parks. “You have to take the shots that are open, and that’s what we were getting. We just didn’t hit them.”
Barbourville led for nearly all of the fourth quarter. Harlan trailed by as much as five late in the period, but wouldn’t go away quietly. Miller made it 52-49 after a basket in the lane with 1:29 remaining. Barbourville’s Mills missed the front end of a bonus situation on the opposite end. Parks capitalized by draining two free throws on Harlan’s next trip to reduce the deficit to one. Mills hit one of two free throws on Barbourville’s next possession, before Miller tied the game with an offensive rebound putback with just 22 seconds left. Mills put the Tigers up by two with three seconds left. The Green Dragons were able to get off a good look as the horn sounded. Miller grabbed the inbound pass at mid-court. He then found Parks for an open trey. However, the shot bounced off of the rim as time expired.
“We wanted to get Miller the ball, and he had to make a decision,” Parks said. “I thought he made the right decision. I don’t think he could have got to the basket. He got an open look. It just didn’t go.”
Barbourville (13-5) will face Oneida Baptist in the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic semifinals. Harlan (11-4) will travel to Barbourville on Monday.
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Harlan (53) — Noah Busroe 2, Drew Parks 11, Caleb Hogue 13, Tyler Miller 10, Aaron Simpson 3, Leighton Piper 7, Manny Davis 0, Jordan Dupar 2, Brandon Osborne 5, Brandon Huff 0, Austin Wilson 0.
Barbourville (55) — Tanner Moore 6, Brentley Perry 6, Alexander Phipps 13, Wade Liford 10, Jason Mills 10, Jacob Rose 2, Austin Eldridge 8, Tate Carter 0.