LEXINGTON — Opening day of the AAU state tournament on Friday at the Kentucky Basketball Academy didn’t go very well for the four local teams participating as all opened with a loss, two in varsity action and two in junior varsity play.
Harlan fell behind 10-0 against an aggressive Johnson Central press and spent the rest of the game playing catch up in an 80-60 loss to the Golden Eagles, one of the 15th Region’s top teams.
Harlan County also started slow, falling behind 17-7 on the way to a 72-62 loss to 12th Region contender Pulaski County.
Freshman forward Jacob Wilson scored 16 points to lead the Dragons. Noah Busroe scored nine. Kilian Ledford and Kendal Brock each added seven. Cade Barnes and Carter Barnes scored six each. Austin Adams added five. Austin Wilson and Ethan Morton scored two each.
Mason Blair, who led Johnson Central with 30 points, had a couple of early baskets as the Eagles grabbed a 10-point lead with the Dragons struggling to handle the ball. Austin Wilson broke the drought with a basket at the 4:50 mark of the first period.
The Eagles continued to pull away in the second quarter, building a 47-19 lead by halftime.
Harlan won the second half as Jacob Wilson and Busroe each hit 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 64-42 going into the fourth period.
Harlan County missed a lot of easy shots early in falling behind the Maroons. Cameron Carmical and Treyce Spurlock each had baskets as the Bears cut the deficit to 18-14 after one quarter.
Pulaski pulled back out to an eight-point lead in the second quarter before the Bears closed strong again to get within five at halftime.
The Maroons built their lead to 10 after three quarters and led by as many as 18 in the fourth period.
Carmical led the Bears with 31 points. Spurlock scored 12. Tyrese Simmons tossed in seven points, followed by Drew Nolan with six, Alex Pace with four and David Turner with two.
Harlan County will play Tates Creek at noon and Mercer County at 4 p.m. in pool play on Saturday. Harlan will play Lexington Christian Academy at 2:40 p.m.
Harlan County fell to Bryan Station 61-53 in junior varsity action in a game where the lead changed hands numerous times before the Defenders closed with an 8-2 run.
Pace led the Black Bears with 17 points. Patrick Bynum scored 11. Taylor Spurlock contributed nine, followed by Gabe Price and Michael Simpson with five each and A.J. Simmons, Matthew Simpson and Jared Hawkins with two each.
Scott County pulled away in the second half for a 70-39 win over Harlan in junior varsity action. Carter Barnes poured in 18 to lead the Dragons. Jacob Wilson scored six. Cade Barnes contributed five. Logan Taylor and Charles Morton scored three each. Tate Bryson and Jordan Akal each added two.
The Harlan County junior varsity team closed the night with the first win for a local team. The Bears pulled away in the second half for a 59-32 win over Buckhorn. Scoring information for the game was not available.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134