Fresh off of a near upset of defensing 13th Region champion North Laurel, Harlan wasn’t quite as successful against another regional power on Friday. Foul trouble put the Green Dragons in a hole early and they were never able to dig themselves out, falling 80-53 to visiting Pineville.
“It’s a long process. We came into this realizing that we aren’t going to turn things around in two games,” said Harlan coach David Parks. “We had a lot of young kids play. You are going to have good and bad — that is part of it. You have to learn from this and move on.”
The teams traded baskets throughout the first quarter. John Simpson had six points as Pineville took a 20-17 lead. Skinner dominated the paint for much of the night and finished with a game-high 25 points and 11 rebounds.
“All of those kids are very smart basketball kids. The big kids are difficult to guard inside,” Parks said.
Harlan’s Nathan Young recorded eight of his team-leading 10 points in the opening period as Harlan kept pace.
Nine of Pineville’s first 11 points to open the second quarter came from the free throw line. The Mountain Lions missed just three shots in the period as they began to pull away. Simpson had 11 points in the second as Pineville took a 46-28 lead into the half.
“We fouled way to much early and we couldn’t make shots. They didn’t miss many free throws,” Parks said.
The Mountain Lions maintained their lead throughout the second half.
A 3-pointer from senior Eric Young closed the gap to 15 midway through the third quarter, but the Dragons were unable to get any closer. Harlan trailed by 19 late in the period when Isaiah Johnson scored to make it 61-44 heading into the fourth.
Pineville put the game out of reach in the final quarter, outscoring Harlan 19-8. Jacob Skinner led the Mountain Lions with six points in the period.
Pineville (2-1) will travel to Harlan County on Monday, while Harlan (0-2) will host Knox Central on Tuesday.
Drew Parks had 13 points to lift Harlan to a 40-21 win in the junior varsity contest.
Pineville (80) - Jared Philpot 14, Cody Collett 15, Jacob Skinner 12, Byron David Asher 8, John Simpson 25, Connor Ford 2, Dalton Ledbetter 4, John Robbins 0, Nate Wilbur 0.
Harlan (52) — Eric Young 6, Nathan Young 10, David Allen 5, Isaiah Johnson 8, Aaron Simpson 6, Caleb Hogue 2, Leighton Piper 2, Drew Parks 6, Dylan McNiel 5, Manny Davis 2, Donavan Miller 0, Andrew Varney 0, Tanner Morris 0.
Harlan (40) - Drew Parks 13, Caleb Hogue 8, Donavan Miller 2, Tanner Morris 2, Andrew Varney 2, Cameron Carmical 5, Austin Wilson 2, Devin Foster 3, Andrew Mills 3.
Pineville (21) - T. Carroll 2, T. Woolum 2, W. Adams 6, N. Wilder 6, J. Robbins 3, D. Ledbetter 2.