If you are going to rely on the advice of a basketball coach, John Wooden isn’t a bad place to start. A quote from the legendary UCLA coach appears to have had an impact on David Parks’ Harlan squad. The Green Dragons’ unselfish play led to the first winning streak of the season as they knocked off visiting Barbourville 55-48 on Monday.
“We are just trying to win. I don’t care who scores. There is a very good quote by John Wooden that says ‘It’s amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit.’ That’s the kind of approach that I have taken,” Parks said. “I want to get this program turned around and I want to win. That’s all I am trying to do.”
All 10 Green Dragons that entered Monday’s contest reached the scoring column, as that new found unselfishness was on full display. Freshman Drew Parks was the only Dragon in double-figures with 11 points.
After Barbourville’s Devon Mills opened the scoring with a putback off of an offensive rebound, Harlan went on a 10-2 run to take the early advantage. Parks capped the surge with a pair of 3-pointers. However, the rest of the first quarter belonged to Barbourville. The Tigers closed the period on an 11-0 run to go up 15-10. Mills carried Barbourville with 12 points in the opening period, and finished with 26 points to lead all scorers.
Mills opened the second quarter with a trey and a jumper to make it 22-13, but the Dragons began to chip away from that point. A Dylan McNiel 3-pointer started a rally that saw Harlan close the half on a 12-4 run to reduce the deficit to 26-25 at the break. Senior David Allen led the Dragons with six points in the period, including an offensive rebound putback just before the buzzer.
Harlan took the lead in an impressive third quarter. The Green Dragons led by as many as eight points, before taking a 38-33 lead into the fourth quarter. The biggest difference came on the glass, where Harlan outrebounded the Tigers 13-7. Senior Dakota Morris had three points and four rebounds in the period.
The Dragons threatened to put the game out of reach early in the final period as back-to-baskets from Nathan Young and Isaiah Johnson pushed the lead to 42-33. However, Barbourville wouldn’t go away quietly and responded with an 8-3 run that saw the lead shrink to four with 3:09 remaining. Harlan stiffened up defensively from that point, holding the Tigers scoreless for nearly two minutes. The Green Dragons missed several opportunities to extend the lead during that stretch, hitting just four-of-10 free throws to make it 49-41.
Alexander Phipps drained a trey from the right corner to make it 49-44 with 1:35 left, but Johnson answered with a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession. Parks followed with another pair from the line with 1:17 left in the contest, and the Dragons were never threatened from that point.
“This is the signature win that we really needed. I think it will really help our program. We still did a lot of things to make it interesting, but we played hard. It was a heck of a win for us,” Parks said. “We came up with a big play when we needed to come up to it.”
Harlan’s Caleb Hogue thrived in his new role at point guard. The freshman provided a reliable ball-handling option and finished with seven points.
“I thought Caleb Hogue played huge. He gets any loose ball, and goes to the foul line and hits two free throws with his leg killing him,” Parks said. “It is very unusual when you have a freshman as a leader, and Caleb has turned into that.”
Harlan (6-13) returns to action Thursday at J. Frank White (Tenn.), while Barbourville (12-8) will travel to South Laurel on Saturday.
Harlan fell 52-45 to Barbourville in the junior varsity contest.
Eighth-graders Cameron Carmical and Noah Busroe had 17 points and 12 points respectively to pace the Green Dragons. Austin Wilson, Andrew Varney and Tanner Parks each contributed four points. Tanner Morris recorded three points, and Andrew Mills added one point.
In previously unreported action, the Green Dragons cruised to a 90-21 victory at Riverside Christian on Saturday.
Harlan relied on a balanced offensive attack, placing five scorers in double-digits. McNiel, Johnson and Aaron Simpson led the Dragons with 12 points each.
The Dragons were never challenged by Riverside, leading 28-11 after one quarter and 55-17 at the half.
Harlan (55) – Drew Parks 11, Caleb Hogue 7, Nathan Young 4, Isaiah Johnson 6, Aaron Simpson 3, Leighton Piper 1, Manny Davis 4, Dylan McNiel 7, David Allen 7, Dakota Morris 5.
Barbourville (48) – Tanner Moore 0, Alexander Phipps 8, Zack Strong 6, Devon Mills 26, Jason Mills 4, Jacob Ruse 2, Kevin Engle 0, Austin Eldridge 2, Brentley Perry 0.
Harlan (90) – Drew Parks 6, Caleb Hogue 0, Nathan Young 10, Manny Davis 10, Aaron Simpson 12, Leighton Piper 6, Isaiah Johnson 12, Dylan McNiel 12, David Allen 5, Ethan Morton 4, Andrew Saylor 2, Tanner Parks 3, Andrew Varney 8.
Riverside Christian (21)