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Spurlock scores 32 as Bears extend win streak to eight

All signs pointed to Taylor Spurlock being a future basketball star when he arrived at Harlan County High School four years ago. The younger brother of Treyce Spurlock, who helped lead HCHS to the 13th Region title in 2017, Spurlock had the length, skills and pedigree to follow in his brother’s footsteps, but inconsistency the past two years kept him from getting there, at least until this season.

Spurlock, now 6-foot-7 as a senior, had an impressive summer performance that earned him a ranking as one of the 13th Region’s top 10 players and he’s continued his strong play through the midpoint of the season. Spurlock hit 11 of 13 shots on Saturday in a 32-point performance as the Bears stretched their win streak to eight and improved to 15-5 on the season with a 70-50 victory over visiting Jackson County.

“He was real aggressive offensively, and that’s what we have to have from him. He makes us a lot better when he plays that way,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “We talked last night about there being no tomorrow for him. I hope he will be ready to play every night like he was tonight.”

Tyler Cole and Trent Noah added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Bears, who shot 60 percent (24 of 40) from the field. The Bears were coming off an impressive performance a night earlier when they hit 14 3-pointers in a win at Corbin.

“There was no worry about having a letdown. I knew we’d have a letdown,” said Jones. “I was worried I’d have to sub all five and I hoped they’d prove me wrong. We were sluggish the first half. They have to be emotionally and mentally ready to play no matter who we are playing, and in the first half we weren’t. We did a little better job in the second half of attacking the basket.”

Senior forward Logan Rose and junior guard Clay Akemon led the 8-10 Generals with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Sophomore guard Andrew Madden added 12.

A couple of 3-pointers by Jackson Huff helped the Bears grab an early 11-3 lead, prompting a pair of timeouts from Jackson County coach Greg Parrett. Rose, Akemon and Madden had baskets as the Generals cut the deficit to 13-10 by the end of the period.

Jackson got as close as two before Spurlock and Noah sparked an 11-7 run that pushed the HCHS lead to 28-22 at halftime as freshman Jonah Swanner beat the buzzer with a jumper.

Spurlock had two treys and a three-point play to help HCHS extend its lead to 15. Rose and Jude Lakes scored as the Generals pulled within 10 going into the final period.

Cole and Spurlock teamed for nine straight points in the fourth quarter as the Bears built their lead to 61-38 with 4:35 left.

Harlan County will return to action Tuesday at Middlesboro in a girls/boys district doubleheader.

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The Harlan County junior varsity team improved to 6-4 on the season with a 67-52 win. Freshman guard Jeremiah Clem scored 18 to lead the Bears. James Gray added 14. Tristan Cooper contributed 10. Jonah Swanner scored nine. Josh Sergent added three. Bradley Halcomb chipped in with two.

Trenton Hammonds scored 18, Luke Hammonds tossed in 15 and Colby Bales added 11 to lead the Generals.

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Harlan County 70, Jackson County 50

JACKSON COUNTY (8-10)

Garrett Roark 0-0 0-0 0, Jude Lakes 1-11 0-0 2, Andrew Madden 5-7 2-6 12, Clay Akemon 5-13 0-0 14, Logan Rose 6-9 1-2 15 Trenton Hammonds 1-3 1-2 3, Dalton Lakes 0-0 2-2 2, Colby Bales 0-1 0-0 0, Luke Adkins 0-0 0-0 0, Kody Bowling 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 19-46 6-12 50.

HARLAN COUNTY (15-5)

Trent Noah 4-8 0-0 11, Taylor Spurlock 11-13 8-11 32, Jackson Huff 2-3 0-0 6, Tyler Cole 4-8 5-6 13, Jacob Wilson 0-3 0-0 0, Josh Turner 0-1 0-0 0, Jonah Swanner 2-2 1-2 5, Elisha Smallwood 0-0 1-2 1, Hunter Helton 1-2 0-0 2, Tristan Cooper 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Carmical 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-40 15-21 70.

Jackson County 10 12 15 13 — 50

Harlan County 13 15 19 23 — 70

3-point goals: Jackson County 6-14 (Akemon 4-9, Rose 2-3, Lakes 0-1, Hammonds 0-1), Harlan County 7-14 (Noah 3-6, Spurlock 2-3, Huff 2-3, Cole 0-1, Wilson 0-1). Rebounds: Jackson County 19 (J Lakes 5, Rose 4, Hammonds 4, Madden 3, Akemon 1, Bowling 1, D. Lakes 1), Harlan County 26 (Spurlock 6, Cole 4, Wilson 4, Huff 3, Turner 3, Noah 2, Swanner 2, Smallwood 1, Cooper 1). Assists: Jackson County 11 (Akemon 4, Madden 4), Harlan County 7 (Noah 3). Turnovers: Jackson County 13, Harlan County 13. Fouled out: Jackson County (Hammonds).