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Bears make themselves at home in rout of Shelby

LEXINGTON — On the first night of play at the Henry Clay Holiday Invitational on Thursday, the Harlan County Black Bears couldn’t have made themselves feel more at home if they had raided the refrigerator and turned on the television.

The folks at Henry Clay were so hospitable to the Bears that they even played Brad Paisley’s You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive during a timeout in the third quarter. The Bears were well on their way to a win by that point, shooting a scorching 48 percent (15 of 32) from the 3-point line in a 77-48 rout of Shelby County.

“When the ball goes in the basket like that everything looks good,” said Harlan County coach Michael Jones. “I had a little talk with three of our upperclassmen and we talked about what they needed from me and I what I needed from them. They wanted some more enthusiasm from me on the sideline, and I was happy to do that to see that kind of effort from our guys.”

Jacob Wilson led the Bears’ 3-point onslaught with his best game at HCHS, hitting seven of nine in a 23-point effort.

“We all know Jacob can shoot like that. We see it every day in practice. I think he just needed to see some go in like tonight and get a little confidence,” Jones said.

Taylor Spurlock added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the 5-2 Bears. Jackson Huff chipped in with 12 points by hitting four of six from beyond the 3-point line.

Junior guard Trenton Burchfield led the 2-5 Rockets with 13 points.

Each team hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening four minutes before the Bears started to pull away with a 7-0 run on 3-pointers by Wilson and Spurlock. Tyler Cole, Josh Turner and Spurlock added baskets in the final two minutes of the period to push the lead to 19-8 after one quarter.

Wilson hit three 3-pointers and Huff added two to help HCHS extend its advantage to 37-19 by halftime.

The Bears went from hot to steaming in the third quarter as Huff hit a 3-pointer followed by two straight from Wilson and then one from Spurlock in a 14-0 run that stretched the lead to 58-25 with 2:21 left in the third quarter. Shelby responded with nine straight points after Jones went to his bench, but the Bears took a 60-34 advantage into the final period with the help of two baskets by Elisha Smallwood.

Harlan County will play Henry Clay in the tourney semifinals on Friday at 10:15 p.m. The Blue Devils were the No. 1 ranked team in the 11th Region in the preseason and are considered a state contender. Henry Clay advanced with a 78-60 win over Louisville Moore. Lafayette edged Columbia, Fla., 37-35 and Bourbon County defeated Louisville Southern 75-58 in other first-round games on Thursday. Lafayette will play Bourbon County in one semifinal, followed by HCHS and Henry Clay.

“I told our kids they put is in the same bracket as them for a reason,” Jones said. “It’s up to us to show them that was a mistake.”

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Harlan County will play in the Hyden Citizens Bank Classic next week, taking on Leslie County at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 27 and East Ridge on Dec. 28 at 2 p.m.

The Harlan County will also play in the tourney. The Lady Bears will meet Owsley County at 1:45 p.m. and Leslie County at 7 p.m. on Dec. 27 and East Ridge at 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 28.

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Harlan County 77, Shelby County 48

HARLAN COUNTY (5-2)

Trent Noah 1-5 0-0 2, Taylor Spurlock 6-14 1-2 16, Jackson Huff 4-7 0-0 12, Tyler Cole 2-4 1-2 6, Jacob Wilson 8-11 0-0 23, Josh Turner 1-1 0-2 2, Jonah Swanner 0-2 0-0 0, Daniel Carmical 1-5 0-0 2, Elisha Smallwood 3-3 0-1 6, Hunter Helton 2-2 0-0 4, James Gray 0-0 1-2 1, Jeremiah Clem 0-0 3-4 3, Tristan Cooper 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Sergent 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Nanti 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-54 6-13 77.

SHELBY COUNTY (2-5)

JaShon Marshall 6-15 1-1 15, Trenton Burchfield 5-11 0-0 13, Chris Armstrong 2-6 0-0 4, Austin Griffin 2-9 1-2 5, Kaden Dagle 2-3 0-0 4, Isaac Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Keegan Tingle 3-6 0-0 7, Dalton Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson Jeffries 0-0 0-0 0, Skyler Bruner 0-0 0-0 0, Isaac Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Jay Magness 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-50 2-3 48.

Harlan County 19 18 25 15 — 77

Shelby County 8 11 15 14 — 48

3-point goals: Harlan 15-32 (Wilson 7-9 Huff 4-6, Spurlock 3-9, Cole 1-2, Noah 0-2, Carmical 0-4), Shelby County 6-22 (Burchfield 3-9, Marshall 2-5, Tingle 1-2, Griffin 0-2, Armstrong 0-4). Rebounds: Harlan County 34 (Spurlock 10, Wilson 6, Noah 4, Cole 3, Turner 3, Smallwood 2, Helton 2, Huff 1, Swanner 1, Gray 1, Cooper 1), Shelby County 19 (Tingle 5, Burchfield 4, Marshall 3, Griffin 2, Dugle 2, Armstrong 1, Jeffries 1, Clark 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 9, Shelby County 14. Assists: Harlan County 18 (Noah 7, Spurlock 6, Huff 1, Wilson 1, Carmical 1, Helton 1, Gray 1), Shelby County 9 (Griffin 4, Jeffries 2, Marshall 1, Moore 1, Dugle 1). Fouled out: None.