Black Bears capture tourney title at KBC
Published 12:20 pm Monday, June 17, 2019
LEXINGTON — After an early exit in the 52nd District Tournament to end the 2019 season, the Harlan County Black Bears entered their summer schedule with lower expectations than what had been the norm.
The Bears may have put themselves back into the 13th Region discussion with a strong showing over the weekend in the Mack, Miller and Lofton Tournament at the Kentucky Basketball Commission. HCHS won four tournament games in the gold division by an average of 28 points to capture the tourney title. Harlan County opened the tournament with a 67-25 rout of Nicholas County on Saturday, then rolled past Oneida Baptist 76-37 on Sunday in the quarterfinals, followed by a 73-58 win over Greenwood in the semifinals and a 65-48 victory over Mason County in the finals.
Harlan County closed its summer schedule with an 18-6 record, showing good balance in the tournament with four in double figures during all three games Sunday.
“We were pleased with how the team grew up over the summer, especially down here. We got a little better in certain areas each day,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “We knew we going to face some great competition, and we are proud of how the kids didn’t back down and just competed.”
Eighth-grade point guard Trent Noah, who gained some media attention during the tournament as one of the top players in the state’s 2024 class, led the Bears in the championship game with 19 points. Junior guard Tyler Cole tossed in 18 points, followed by senior guard Taylor Spurlock with 15 points and sophomore guard Jackson Huff with 10. Hunter Helton and Josh Turner closed out the scoring with two and one, respectively.
“We talked about it all all summer that once we got in a half court set we needed to move the ball around offensively to get good looks,” Jones said. “For the most part, we did a good job of that today.”
Cole scored 18 to lead the Bears in the rout of OBI. Spurlock scored 16, followed by Noah with 15, Jacob Wilson with 11, Helton and Daniel Carmical with five each, Huff with three, Turner with two and James Gray with one.
Spurlock poured in 22 to lead the Bears against Greenwood. Cole and Noah chipped in with 14 each. Wilson tossed in 12. Huff scored nine. Carmical added two.
Harlan dropped out of tournament play with a 62-43 loss to Mason County in the quarterfinals.
Jordan Akal, a sophomore guard who was among the leading scorers in the tournament, led the Dragons with 17 points. Jon Eldridge scored 14. Jaedyn Gist and Johann Gist scored six and four points, respectively. Charles David Morton added two.
The Dragons will conclude summer play with scrimmages Monday and Tuesday in London.