Bears respond in clutch, edge Jackson
With his Harlan County Black Bears clinging to a one-point lead with five minutes left, coach Michael Jones decided to wait no longer. A switch to their spread offense paid off as the Bears reeled off seven straight points and stayed in control from there on the way to a 61-52 win Saturday afternoon over visiting Jackson County.
“I didn’t like the way our offense looked against their zone,” Jones said. “I wanted to pull them out of it and make them guard us man to man. We did a good job of executing out of spread. We got a layup or two and knocked down our free throws at the end.”
Harlan County put the game away by hitting 13 of 16 from the line in the fourth quarter, led by Lamar Burkhart with six of six. Jackson County shot 60 percent (16 of 27) through the first three quarters but hit only one of eight shots from the field in the final period.
“There are no excuses. We missed enough free throws to win the game,” Jackson County coach Greg Parrett said. “Give coach Jones and his squad credit. They held their composure in a tight game and it paid off down the stretch.”
Senior guard Drew Nolan scored 16 points to lead a balanced attack for the 13-1 Black Bears, who also got 12 points from Andrew Creech, 11 from Burkhart, 10 from Alex Pace and nine from Tyrese Simmons.
“We’ve had great balance for the most part all year, but I was disappointed in our effort overall,” Jones said. “I didn’t think we played our best today, but we did enough to win.”
Senior forward Tanner Harris scored 21 points for the 9-4 Generals, who may be the 13th Region’s most improved team.
“We’re off to a good start this season, but we feel this game was within reach,” Parrett said. “We feel we should have won every game we’ve played this year. We play a quality schedule and we hope we’ve learned from those four losses.”
Nolan was hot early with a couple of 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Bears build a 16-9 lead. Jackson County pulled within five by the end of the opening quarter and pulled even at 23 on a 3-pointer by Drew Akemon and basket by Harris. The Generals hit seven of nine shots in the quarter and led by one late in the half before a three-point play by Nolan put HCHS up 33-31 at the break.
There were three ties early in the third quarter and the Generals took a two-point leaden three occasions before HCHS closed strong again, building a 44-41 lead by the end of the period on a basket by Burkhart and 3-pointer by Nolan.
Harlan County will play at South Laurel on Tuesday. Jackson County plays two big 49th District games next week, Tuesday at Clay County and Friday at home against North Laurel.
Jackson County rallied from eight down in the fourth quarter to win 50-42 in junior varsity action.
Sophomore forward Logan Rose scored 19 points to lead the Generals. Zander Elam scored 10, followed by Cameron Powell with nine, Blake Holt with seven, Clay Akemon with three and Isaiah Baker with two.
Freshman guard Tyler Cole scored 11 for the 1-2 Bears. Kobe Burkhart and Josh Turner scored seven each. Taylor Spurlock added five. Elisha Smallwood and Hunter Helton scored four each. Alex Nantz and Michael Simpson each added two.
Tyler Cole poured in 34 points as the Harlan County freshman team improved to 2-0 with a 60-35 win over Jackson County.
Hunter Helton added 10 points for the Bears. Josh Turner and Kobe Burkhart scored six each. Logan Blanton added four.
Blake Allen and Clay Akemon scored 14 each for Jackson County. Zander Elam added four. Dawson Parrett scored two. Garrett Roark chipped in with one.
Harlan County 61, Jackson County 52
JACKSON COUNTY (9-4)
McGuire Wilson 1-2 1-3 3, Drew Akemon 3-7 2-3 9, Hunter Bowling 4-6 1-4 9, Dylan Rose 0-1 6-6 6, Tanner Harris 7-13 7-9 21, Chase Gilbert 2-4 0-0 4, Logan Rose 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 17-35 17-25 52.
HARLAN COUNTY (13-1)
Andrew Creech 4-7 4-6 12, Drew Nolan 5-12 3-5 16, Alex Pace 2-8 6-8 10, Tyrese Simmons 4-7 1-1 9, Lamar Burkhart 2-4 7-7 11, Gabe Price 0-3 3-4 3, Patrick Bynum 0-1 0-2 0. Totals: 17-42 24-33 61.
Jackson County 13 18 10 11 — 52
Harlan County 18 15 8 20 — 61
3-point goals: Jackson County 1-3 (Akemon 1-1, L. Rose 0-2), Harlan County 3-16 (Nolan 3-7, Creech 0-1, Burkhart 0-1, Price 0-1, Pace 0-6). Rebounds: Jackson County 18 (Harris 8, D. Rose 4, Wilson 3, Akemon 2, Bowling 1), Harlan County 26 (Nolan 7, Pace 6, Burkhart 4, Simmons 3, Bynum 3, Creech 2, Price 1). Turnovers: Jackson County 8, Harlan County 6. Fouled out: Jackson County (Wilson, Akemon), Harlan County (Simmons, Nolan). Technical fouls: Jackson County (Bowling).