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Commodores edge HC on Cornett’s buzzer-beater

HAZARD — Two seasons after edging Cordia on a last-second halfcourt prayer by Cameron Carmical in the first round of the WYMT Mountain, the Harlan County Black Bears were on the wrong side of a miracle shot.

After Gabe Price had given the Black Bears a two-point lead by hitting two free throws with 1.7 seconds left, Perry Central guard Dylan Cornett took the inbounds pass and a dribble before launching a game-winning 3-pointer in the Commodores’ 47-46 victory in the opening round Tuesday at Perry Central High School.

Senior guard Noah Back scored 20 points and senior center Noah Caudill added 14 to lead the Commodores.

The 2-1 Black Bears were led by senior guard Alex Pace with 13 points and sophomore guard James Smith with 11.

The HCHS defense held Perry scoreless the first three and a half minutes and took a 6-0 lead on 3-pointers by Smith and Taylor Spurlock. Back ended the drought for the Commodores with a three-point play, but the Bears stayed ahead on baskets by Elisha Smallwood and Patrick Bynum. A basket by Caudill cut the deficit to 10-8 after one quarter.

Perry pulled even for the first time on a 3-pointer by Back with 3:48 left in the first half. Josh Turner put the Bears back on top with a basket inside and Alex Pace followed with three free throws. Another trey by Back cut the deficit to two before a basket by Spurlock and two more free throws by Pace extended the HCHS lead to 22-16 at halftime.

Perry took its first lead with 3:05 left in the third quarter on a basket by Dylan Chaney off a steal. Caudill had two baskets in 13-5 run to start the second half. The Bears missed 11 of 13 shots in the period and fell behind by four, at 31-27.

The Commodores led by four with less than two minutes to play when Smith hit his third 3-pointer. Pace’s basket in the lane tied the game at 44-44 with 31 seconds left.

Perry tried to hold for one shot and Back drew a foul with 3.6 seconds left, but he missed both shots. Price was fouled near midcourt and hit both shots to put the Bears ahead by two.

Harlan County will play Paintsville on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the consolation round. Perry Central will play Knox Central, a 78-77 winner over Paintsville in Tuesday night’s opening game.

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Perry Central 47, Harlan County 46

HARLAN COUNTY (2-1)

James Smith 4-9 0-0 11, Taylor Spurlock 2-11 1-3 6, Alex Pace 3-12 7-7 13, Tyler Cole 1-5 1-2 3, Gabe Price 1-5 5-6 7, Patrick Bynum 1-2 0-0 2, Josh Turner 1-3 0-0 2, Elisha Smallwood 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 14-49 14-16 46.

PERRY CENTRAL (1-1)

Camron Turner 2-6 0-0 5, Dylan Chaney 1-3 1-2 3, Noah Back 7-19 4-6 20, Dylan Cornett 2-3 0-5 5, Noah Caudill 4-9 6-11 14, Cameron Fugate 0-4 0-0 0, Weston Sizemore 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Eldridge 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-44 11-19 47.

Harlan County 10 12 5 19 — 46

Perry Central 8 8 15 16 — 47

3-point goals: Harlan County 4-20 (Smith 3-6, Spurlock 1-6, Cole 0-1, Price 0-3, Pace 0-4), Perry Central 4-13 (Back 2-8, Cornett 1-1, Turner 1-3, Chaney 0-1). Rebounds: Harlan County 37 (Pace 10, Price 7, Cole 5, Spurlock 4, Smallwood 4, Bynum 3, Turner 3, Smith 1), Perry Central 20 (Caudill 8, Back 5, Turner 3, Cornett 2, Chaney 1, Fugate 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 14, Perry Central 11. Fouled out: Harlan County (Pace).