Whitley rallies from 9 down to edge HC

Published 9:50 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

With perhaps the toughest test in the 13th Region awaiting his team next week in the opening round of the 50th District Tournament, Whitley County coach Jerry Overbay knew a strong performance Friday at Harlan County could provide a much-needed confidence boost for his Colonels.

The Colonels fought hard and stayed close all the way until Gabe Price sparked an 11-2 run to put Harlan County up 56-47 with just over a minute to play. Just when it appeared the game was lost, Whitley forced four timely turnovers in an 11-1 run to end the game over the final 70 seconds to win 58-57 on a Dakota Lawson basket with two seconds to play.

“This is a signature win for us against one of the top two or three teams in the region,” Overbay said. “To win on the road against a good team like this is big for us. I think our pressure got in their heads a little, and our kids were very resilient.”

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Senior guard Devin Bowling hit six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points to lead the 17-13 Colonels. Hunter Hollingsworth and Dakota Lawson added 17 and 11 points, respectively.

Senior guards Alex Pace and Price led the 19-7 Bears with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Taylor Spurlock scored 10.

Price appeared to put the game away for HCHS with a gutsy effort in the fourth quarter before fouling out as he scored twice off putbacks as he grabbed five rebounds in the period.

“I was proud of Gabe and the effort he gave us on defense and on the boards. It’s too bad he didn’t much help tonight,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “I never would have believed we’d lose a game where we’re at the line with a nine-point lead and only 1:09 to play. Our guys have to do a better job of executing and doing what they are told in the huddle. I think we can learn from this. It’s far from over.”

The Bears lost two starters to injuries in the second half as James Smith went out with a sore ankle and Tyler Cole injured his knee. Jones said he thought both players would be fine for tournament action, but he kept both out as a precaution.

Harlan County will play Middlesboro on Tuesday in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament at Bell County High School. Whitley County will take on South Laurel in the opening game of the 50th District Tournament on Monday at South Laurel.


Alex Nantz hit two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to give Harlan County a 45-44 win in the junior varsity game.

Freshman guard Jackson Huff scored 16 points and sophomore forward James Gray added 14 for the 8-3 Bears. Jayden Ward added six points, followed by Adam Boggs with five and Nantz and Brayden Cox with two each.


Whitley County 58, Harlan County 57


Hunter Hollingsworth 7-14 3-4 17, Dakota Lawson 4-7 0-0 11, Devin Bowling 6-11 0-0 18, Jack Estes 3-4 0-1 6, Tyler Lawson 1-2 2-2 4, Trae Potter 0-1 0-0 0, Garrett McNealey 1-4 0-0 2, Gray Estes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-43 7-9 58.


James Smith 1-2 2-2 5, Taylor Spurlock 3-7 3-5 10, Alex Pace 3-10 7-8 15, Tyler Cole 2-3 0-0 5, Gabe Price 6-7 2-3 14, Patrick Bynum 1-1 1-1 3, Josh Turner 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Wilson 2-5 0-2 5. Totals: 18-36 15-21 57.

Whitley County 13 11 16 18 — 58

Harlan County 13 13 17 14 — 57

3-point goals: Whitley County 7-15 (Bowling 6-10, D. Lawson 1-2, McNealy 0-1, Hollingsworth 0-2), Harlan County 6-17 (Pace 2-7, Smith 1-2, Spurlock 1-2, Cole 1-2, Wilson 1-4). Rebounds: Whitley County 13 (Hollingsworth 5, D. Lawson 4, Bowling 2, Potter 1, McNealy 1), Harlan County 27 (Pace 9, Price 8, Spurlock 3, Wilson 3, Cole 2, Bynum 1, Turner 1). Turnovers: Whitley County 7, Harlan County 14. Fouled out: Harlan County (Price).