Black Bears headed to finals

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

By Paul Lunsford

Many thought it would come down to an all-Harlan County championship in the boys 52nd District Tournament.

The Harlan County Black Bears needed a strong fourth quarter on Tuesday to get themselves in the finals.

Harlan County connected on all six field goals in the final eight minutes and hit seven of nine free throws in the period to defeat the Bell County Bobcats 56-47.

With the game tied at 34-34 after three quarter, HC opened the fourth period with Trent Noah nailing a 3-pointer. The Bobcats took the lead as Dawson Woolum scored twice and Hayden Callebs hitting one of two free throws with 5:27 remaining.

Tyler Cole completed a three-point play at the 5:19 mark to give the Bears the lead for good at 40-39.

Cole added a basket just before Jackson Huff nailed a 3-pointer to make it a six-point advantage.

A trey by Maddox Huff and layup by Noah push the lead to 50-40 with two minutes to play.

HC connected on six of eight free throws in the closing two minutes to seal the victory.

“We just got more aggressive offensively. We ran some things we’ve not ran all year. I think the kids adjusted real well,” said Harlan County coach Michael Jones.

Cole, a senior guard, powered the 19-4 Black Bears with 19 points. Noah, a freshman guard, followed with 17 points. Senior forward Josh Turner hit all three of his shots for seven points.

Woolum, a junior guard, led Bell County (16-11) with 22 points. Junior forward Cameron Burnett scored 14.

Noah hit a pair of 3-pointer and Cole added another as Harlan County led 12-8 after one quarter.

Cole scored seven points in the second period as the Black Bears took a 22-19 advantage into the break.

Bell County opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 27-22 lead with 4:48 remaining in the period. HC fought back as Jonah Swanner and Cole knocked down two baskets each.

“Harlan County has a good team. They’re very well coached,” said Bell County coach Brad Sizemore.

“You’ve got to give their kids credit,” said Jones. “We knew what Bell County was going to play defensively. We knew it wasn’t going to be like the first time we played them (a 76-44 win at home).

“Coach Sizemore is such a great coach and he has some talented kids, but you’ve got to give our kids credit. They got down two in the fourth quarter and didn’t fold.”

– – – – –

Harlan County 56, Bell County 47


Cameron Burnett 5-14 3-4 14, Dawson Woolum 9-13 3-5 22, Dalton Stepp 1-4 0-0 2, Hayden Callebs 0-1 5-8 5, Andrew Caldwell 1-4 0-2 3, Carter McCune 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 16-36 12-21 47.


Trent Noah 5-12 4-4 17, Daniel Carmical 0-2 0-0 0, Tyler Cole 8-14 1-1 19, Jackson Huff 1-1 1-2 4, Josh Turner 3-3 1-2 7, Jonah Swanner 2-2 0-0 4, Maddox Huff 1-4 2-5 5, Tristan Cooper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-38 9-14 56.

Bell County 08 11 15 13 – 47

Harlan County 12 10 12 22 – 56

3-Point goals: Bell County 3-8 (Woolum 1-2, Caldwell 1-2, Burnett 1-3, Stepp 0-1), Harlan County 7-14 (Noah 3-5, Cole 2-3, J. Huff 1-1, M. Huff 1-4, Carmical 0-1). Rebounds: Bell County 19 (Burnett 5, Woolum 5, Caldwell 4, Callebs 4, McCune 1), Harlan County 16 (Cole 5, Noah 4, Turner 4, J. Huff 1, Swanner 1, M. Huff 1). Assists: Bell County 3 (Burnett 1, Callebs 1, Caldwell 1), Harlan County 7 (Noah 2). Turnovers: Bell County 9, Harlan County 9. Fouled out: Bell County (Caldwell). Technical fouls: Bell County (Woolum), Harlan County (M. Huff).