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Bears pull away in second half for rout of Cards

With the 52nd District Tournament opening in two weeks, Harlan County coach Michael Jones wants to see more urgency from his Harlan County Black Bears. He benched his starters in the first half of Monday’s game against visiting Red Bird in his quest for more intensity but didn’t get what he wanted until a personal 10-0 run by senior guard Taylor Spurlock in the third quarter pushed Harlan County’s lead to 21 points on the way to a 78-45 victory.

“We just didn’t have the effort I wanted to see in the first half,” Jones said after the Bears improved to 17-7 on the season. “We’re not carrying the urgency over from practice into games.There are only two weeks left in the season, which means there is no tomorrow for these seniors, but they aren’t playing like it yet.”

The Bears blew the game open by switching to a man-to-man in the third quarter, leading to several Red Bird turnovers in the game’s decisive run.

“We have a hard time playing that way against our district opponents, so we have to do a better job out of our matchup (zone),” Jones said. “We aren’t guarding or rebounding like we have to.”

Spurlock scored 22 points to lead the Bears. Tyler Cole contributed 10, followed by Jackson Huff with nine and Josh Turner with eight.

Senior guards Dalton Finley and Deagon Finley led the 6-17 Cardinals with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

HCHS raced to a 10-2 lead behind Trent Noah and Jacob Wilson, but the Cardinals battled back to within two late in the period. Two baskets in the final minute by Elisha Smallwood helped the Bears take an 18-14 lead.

Red Bird pulled even on two straight baskets by Dalton Finley, but a putback by Wilson and a dunk off a steal by Spurlock started a 20-8 run to close the half. Freshmen guards Jonah Swanner and Daniel Carmical each had baskets as the Bears built a 38-26 halftime advantage.

Spurlock dominated the third quarter, hitting five of seven shots, as the Bears extended their lead to as many as 21 points before a late run by Red Bird cut the deficit to 56-39.

Three more baskets by Spurlock and two from Turner helped HCHS quickly build its lead to 30 midway through final period. Harlan County hit nine of 17 shots in the quarter and forced Red Bird into eight turnovers.

Harlan County returns to action Tuesday at home against Barbourville, the second of five games over a six-day period for the Bears.

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Freshman guard Jonah Swanner poured in 27 points as Harlan County improved to 8-5 in junior varsity action with a 56-22 victory.

Daniel Carmical and Jeremiah Clem added 10 points each for the Bears. Tristan Cooper scored four. Josh Sergent tossed in three. Dylan Hicks scored two.

Jonathan Sumbela scored eight and Bryce Helton added six to lead Red Bird.

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Harlan County 78, Red Bird 45

RED BIRD (6-17)

Tyler Preston 3-7 0-0 8, Austin Napier 2-7 0-0 4, Dalton Asher 2-11 1-1 6, Dalton Finley 7-13 0-0 15, Andrew Hoskins 0-2 1-2 1, Deagon Finley 5-9 1-1 11, Bryan Moma 0-3 0-0 0, Bryce Helton 0-0 0-0 0, Adolfe Onusumba 0-0 0-0 0, Felix Onusumba 0-0 0-0 0, Jonathan Sumbala 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-57 3-4 45.

HARLAN COUNTY (17-7)

Trent Noah 3-5 0-0 7, Taylor Spurlock 10-15 2-4 22, Jackson Huff 3-8 0-0 9, Tyler Cole 5-6 0-2 10, Jacob Wilson 2-3 1-1 5, Josh Turner 4-9 0-2 8, Elisha Smallwood 3-5 0-2 6, Jeremiah Clem 0-3 0-0 0, Jonah Swanner 2-3 0-0 4, Daniel Carmical 1-3 0-0 3, Tristan Cooper 0-0 2-2 2, Hunter Helton 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Sergent 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Nantz 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 33-60 7-15 78.

Red Bird 14 12 13 6 — 45

Harlan County 18 20 18 22 — 78

3-point goals: Red Bird 4-20 (Preston 2-6, Dalton Finley 1-1, Asher 1-6, Hoskins 0-1, Deagon Finley 0-1, Moma 0-2, Napier 0-3), Harlan County 5-19 (Huff 3-6, Noah 1-3, Carmical 1-3, Cole 0-1, Wilson 0-1, Swanner 0-1, Spurlock 0-2, Clem 0-2). Rebounds: Red Bird 21 (Napier 7, Hoskins 6, Dalton Finley 3, Deagon Finley 3, Napier 1, Asher 1), Harlan County 39 (Smallwood 8, Spurlock 7, Cole 4, Helton 4, Wilson 3, Clem 3, Carmical 3, Noah 2, Turner 2, Huff 1, Cooper 1, Sergent 1). Turnovers: Red Bird 20, Harlan County 14. Fouled out: None.