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Bears overcome 17-point deficit, down Christian

LONDON — Down 28-11 midway through the second quarter, the Harlan County Black Bears looked like a team heading toward a running clock and a blowout loss. The Bears were struggling against the pressure applied by an athletic Christian County team that enters the season ranked second in the 2nd Region.

The Bears adjusted to the pressure and slowly turned the momentum, going on a 40-14 run that extended through much of the third quarter to turn a 17-point deficit into a nine-point lead. Christian County battled back to within one in the closing seconds but could not overcome the HCHS run as the Bears held on for a 65-63 victory in the G.J. Smith Showcase on Friday at South Laurel High School.

Senior guard Taylor Spurlock led the Black Bears with 24 points. Junior guard Tyler Cole tossed in 14. Senior forward Jacob Wilson added 10.

Stephen Bussell, a senior guard, led Christian County with 20 points. Sophomore guard Jalil Farrow added 10.

Kobe Dilliard hit a pair of 3-pointers early as Christian raced to a 10-3 lead. Bussell scored five straight as the Colonels built a 19-9 lead after one quarter.

Two straight baskets by Farrow pushed the lead to 28-11 before a timeout by Harlan County coach Michael Jones. Wilson and Spurlock had baskets and Jackson Huff hit a 3-pointer In a 7-0 run that helped the Bears cut the deficit to 33-25 by halftime.

Four straight free throws by Spurlock cut the deficit to four early in the third quarter. Bussell’s 3-pointer pushed the lead back to six before Harlan County reeled off 15 straight points, beginning with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from Trent Noah, Huff and Cole. The Bears led by as many as nine before Bussell helped Christian cut the deficit to 53-47 going into the final period.

Christian got as close as three before Cole, Spurlock and Wilson scored to push the lead back to six. HCHS was able to run 80 seconds off the clock on a late possession to put the game away.

Harlan County will open its regular season schedule Tuesday at Breathitt County.

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Harlan County (65) — Trent Noah 9, Tyler Cole 14, Jackson Huff 8, Jacob Wilson 10, Taylor Spurlock 24.

Christian County (63) — Kobe Dillard 6, Qua Chambers 6, McKeon Mathis 6, Darren Bussell 8, Stephen Bussell 20, Jalil Farrow 10, Olajuwon White 7.