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Freshmen provide spark as Bears overcome slow start

Trailing by five with 90 seconds left in the first half of Tuesday’s Senior Night game against Barbourville, the Harlan County Black Bears were a team in need of an energy boost.

Freshmen guards Daniel Carmical and Jonah Swanner provided just that soon after they entered the game. Carmical hit a pair of 3-pointers and Swanner forced a couple of momentum-shifting turnovers as the Bears closed with an 8-0 run to take a 26-23 lead into halftime. The Bears took over in the third quarter on the way to a 73-58 victory.

“I’ve talked to them all year about being ready when their opportunities come,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “They really gave us some energy when we needed it tonight.”

The Bears blew the game open with a 17-2 run in the third quarter sparked by Trent Noah, Taylor Spurlock and Tyler Cole to build a 16-point lead.

“I was really happy with the way we played the third quarter. I really liked the intensity we had on defense during that stretch,” Jones said.

Spurlock scored 19 while Noah and Cole added 18 each for the 17-7 Bears.

Junior guard Matthew Gray scored 21 and senior forward Shawn Vaughn added 19 for the 10-12 Tigers.

Harlan County returns to action Thursday at Harlan in a girls/boys district doubleheader.

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Harlan County 73, Barbourville 58

BARBOURVILLE (10-12)

Jordan Collins 3-6 4-5 10, Matthew Gray 8-11 2-3 21, Dylan Bingham 1-8 0-1 2, Shawn Vaughn 9-13 0-0 19, Jonathan Mills 0-2 0-0 0, Dylan Moore 3-5 0-0 6, Michael Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Colby Martin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-45 6-9 58.

HARLAN COUNTY (18-7)

Trent Noah 5-11 4-4 18, Taylor Spurlock 7-14 4-5 19, Jackson Huff 2-8 0-0 5, Tyler Cole 7-10 3-3 18, Jacob Wilson 0-5 0-0 0, Josh Turner 0-0 2-2 2, Elisha Smallwood 0-1 0-0 0, Jonah Swanner 1-2 0-0 3, Daniel Carmical 2-4 0-0 6, Alex Nantz 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 25-57 13-14 73.

Barbourville 11 12 8 27 — 58

Harlan County 13 13 19 28 — 73

3-point goals: Barbourville 4-14 (Gray 3-5, Vaughn 1-2, Moore 0-1, Mills 0-2, Bingham 0-4), Harlan County 10-26 (Noah 4-7, Carmical 2-4, Swanner 1-1, Cole 1-3, Spurlock 1-4, Huff 1-5, Wilson 0-2). Rebounds: Barbourville 18 (Vaughn 6, Collins 5, Gray 2, Bingham 2, Moore 2, Mills 1), Harlan County 30 (Spurlock 10, Noah 5, Cole 4, Huff 3, Wilson 3, Turner 2, Swanner 2, Smallwood 1). Turnovers: Barbourville 16, Harlan County 14. Fouled out: None.