Black Bears sweep pool in KBA tourney

Published 7:55 pm Saturday, June 16, 2018

LEXINGTON — Whenever the Harlan County Black Bears found themselves in trouble on Friday against Floyd Central in pool play from the Kentucky Basketball Academy State Tournament, senior guard Alex Pace was there in a 26-point performance that led HCHS to a 63-55 victory.

Harlan County led from start to finish, but Floyd Central battled back in the second half after the Bears built an 18-point advantage early in the third quarter. Pace came to the rescue several times in the fourth quarter as Floyd Central got as close as four, hitting eight of 10 at the line and scoring 10 of the Bears’ first 11 points in the period.

Tyler Cole added nine points for the Bears, followed by Patrick Bynum with eight, Josh Turner with six, Taylor Spurlock with five, James Smith with four, Jacob Wilson with three and Gabe Price with two.

Two straight baskets by Turner in an 8-0 run that also featured baskets by Bynum and Smith gave HCHS a 24-8 lead after one quarter.

Floyd Central battled back to within 10 in the second quarter before baskets by Bynum and Pace pushed the advantage to 15, at 37-22, by halftime.

Bynum and Pace each had four points in the third quarter as the Bears maintained a 50-36 lead heading into the fourth period. HCHS could manage only one basket in the fourth period but was able to win by connecting on 11 free throws as Floyd Central rallied with pressure defense.

Harlan County swept its pool with a 71-64 victory over Scott County (Blue) later Friday. Price scored 19 to lead the Bears, followed closely by Pace with 17 and Wilson and Cole with 11 each. Spurlock and Smith closed the scoring with nine and four points, respectively.

Cole carried the HCHS offense early with two 3-pointers and a basket as the Bears battled back from early deficit to pull even at 17 going into the second quarter.

Price had three baskets in the second quarter and Pace added two as HCHS pulled out to a 36-30 lead by halftime. Pace hit a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter and Price added three baskets to help Harlan County stretch its lead to 54-40.

Scott County made a run in the fourth quarter, but Price stepped up with a couple of clutch baskets and plenty of leadership with his work on the boards and on defense. Wilson added five points in the period.

Harlan County (16-6) moves on to tournament play and earned a bye in the first round. The Bears will play in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 12:45 p.m.

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Harlan County improved to 2-0 in junior varsity pool play with a 38-36 win over Thomas Nelson.

Hunter Helton scored 10 points to lead the Bears, followed by Jayden Ward with nine, Adam Boggs with eight, Josh Turner with four, Alex Nantz with three and Braden Cox and Caleb Reynolds with two each.

Harlan split two games in junior varsity action, defeating Mason County 32-16 and falling to East Jessamine 37-32 to finish 1-2 in pool play.

Jackson Huff scored 13 in the win over Mason. Jaeden Gist and Daelyn Shepherd scored five each. Kaleb McLendon added four, followed by Trent Noah with three and Cade Middleton with two.

Huff scored 13 and Noah added 11 against East Jessamine. Gist and Charles David Morton scored three each. McLendon and Shepherd chipped in with one each.