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Black Bears dominate in win at Perry Central

HAZARD — Coming off perhaps their worst performance of the season Monday in a five-point in over Letcher Central, the Harlan County Black Bears bounced back in impressive fashion Thursday with a 81-64 victory over defending 14th Region champ Perry Central.

Four Bears reached double figures during a game in which they never trailed and showed the ability to get to the basket and hit 3-pointers. Senior guard Taylor Spurlock scored 22 for the 10-5 Bears, while Tyler Cole added 18, Jacob Wilson tossed in 16 and Trent Noah contributed 14.

“It wasn’t about the missed shots the other day against Letcher. It was about the intensity and effort. I just didn’t think it was there, so we gave them some goals for each quarter today and I thought they responded,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones. “I thought we got after them defensively and we attacked the basket. When we do that, we’re a pretty good team. I feel we have five out there who can get to the basket. It’s just getting them into that mindset. I don’t want them to stop shooting, but I want them to be more aggressive, and I thought tonight we took a step in the right direction.”

Senior guard DeAndre Reed paced the 4-11 Commodores with 15 points. Dylan Cornett and Cameron Fugate, both seniors, added 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Wilson hit back-to-back shots midway through the first quarter to put the Bears ahead for good. Spurlock also had two baskets in the period as HCHS built a 12-8 lead.

Cole had four baskets and four rebounds in the second quarter as Harlan County went on a 14-5 run that also featured two 3-pointers from Wilson. Dawson and Duff scored in a 6-0 run as the Commodores cut the deficit to 32-26 at halftime. Cole led the Bears with 11 rebounds as HCHS owned a 33-25 advantage on the boards.

“I love the way Cole is attacking the offensive boards right now. He’s really going after it, and Josh (Turner) is going after it,” Jones said. “If we can get four of them doing that it’s another thing that will make us hard to beat.”

After being slowed by foul trouble in the second half, Noah took over for the Bears in the third quarter as he was able to work his way to the basket several times for three baskets and two free throws. Spurlock added a pair of 3-pointers as Harlan County’s lead grew to 18 before two baskets by Fugate got Perry within 13. A basket by Elisha Smallwood to close the quarter extended the Bears’ lead to 57-42.

Perry opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to get within nine. Cole responded with four straight points. A 3-pointer by Jackson Huff followed by a three-point play from Noah pushed the lead back to 16 midway through the final period and put the game out of reach.

Harlan County plays Montgomery County on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Bobby Keith Classic at Clay County High School.

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James Hazall scored six of his game-high 22 points in the final minute as Perry Central rallied from four down to edge the Bears 40-38 in junior varsity action.

Daniel Carmical led the 3-4 Bears with 11 points. James Gray scored nine, followed by Jonah Swanner with seven, Tristan Cooper and Jeremiah Clem with four each and Josh Sergent with three.

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Harlan County 81, Perry Central 64

HARLAN COUNTY (10-5)

Trent Noah 5-11 4-5 14, Taylor Spurlock 7-14 6-7 22, Jackson Huff 2-6 1-2 7, Tyler Cole 5-14 8-12 18, Jacob Wilson 5-5 3-4 16, Josh Turner 0-1 0-0 0, Elisha Smallwood 2-2 0-0 4, Jonah Swanner 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Carmical 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 26-54 22-31 81.

PERRY CENTRAL (4-11)

Dylan Cornett 5-7 0-0 13, Dawson Duff 2-9 2-2 7, DeAndre Reed 6-15 3-5 15, Dylan Brock 3-4 2-4 8, Cameron Fugate 3-4 4-4 10, Tyler Day 2-5 1-2 5, Rydge Beverly 2-5 2-2 6, Lance McKenzie 0-1 0-1 0, Jamel Hazell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-50 14-20 64.

Harlan County 12 20 25 24 — 81

Perry Central 8 18 16 22 — 64

3-point goals: Harlan County 7-16 (Wilson 3-3, Spurlock 2-4, Huff 2-5, Cole 0-1, Carmical 0-1, Noah 0-2), Perry Central 4-12 (Cornett 3-4, Huff 1-4, Day 0-1, Reed 0-3). Rebounds: Harlan County 33 (Cole 11, Noah 7, Spurlock 7, Wilson 3, Huff 2, Turner 2, Smallwood 1), Perry Central 25 (Day 8, Duff 5, Cornett 3, Brock 3, Reed 2, McKenzie 2, Fugate 1, Beverly 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 12, Perry Central 14. Fouled out: Perry Central (Fugate, Reed).