Black Bears win first ever 50th District soccer title

Published 11:35 am Friday, October 8, 2021

By Paul Lunsford

Junior Caydon Shanks scored both goals on Wednesday as the Harlan Black Bears defeated host Barbourville 2-1 to win the 50th District Soccer Tournament championship.

It marks HC’s first ever district soccer title.

The Black Bears, now 8-6-2, who fell to Knox Central in last year’s district championship, and Middlesboro in 2019’s finals, will be making their third straight trip to the 13th Region Tournament.

Barbourville dropped its record to 10-8 on the season.

Senior Michael Smith had the Tigers’ only goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Sam Buchanan had 15 block goals.

On Tuesday, Harlan County got two goals from junior forward Haiden Mefford as the Black Bears defeated Middlesboro 4-1 in the tournament opener.

Shanks and Matthew Jones each had one goal for the Bears. Ray Splawn added an assist.

Harlan County freshman goalkeeper Travis Burkhart blocked two goals and allowed one.

Middlesboro closed its season with a 6-7 record.

District champions: 2021 – Harlan County; 2020 – Knox Central; 2019 – Middlesboro; 2018 – Middlesboro; 2017 – Knox Central; 2016 – Knox Central; 2015 – Middlesboro; 2014 – Oneida Baptist; 2013 – Oneida Baptist; 2012 – Oneida Baptist.

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MaKenzi Hopper scored four goals and Ivy Partin had three as Knox Central defeated Harlan County 9-1 on Wednesday to claim the 50th District Tournament Championship at Barbourville.

Abi Beller added two goals for the 12-5 Lady Panthers. Taylor Payne had two assists while, Hopper, Beller and Jadyan Belile each contributed one assists. Chloe Riley and Layla Gray each blocked three goals apiece.

It was Knox Central’s second district title since 2017. It also marked the Lady Bears’ fifth runner-up since 2016.

Harlan County fell to 5-9 on the season.

On Monday, the Lady Bears got two goals from senior forward Natalie Bolin as HC edged Middlesboro 2-1 in the tournament opener.

Victoria Day and Leah Taulbee each had an assist for Harlan County.

Junior goalkeeper Brooke Crider blocked 14 goals for the Lady Bears.

Jordyn Ferguson had the lone goal for the Middlesboro. Macy Bruce added an assist and four blocked goals.

The Lady Jackets closed their season with a 4-13 record.

District champions: 2021 – Knox Central; 2020 – Middlesboro; 2019 – Middlesboro; 2018 – Middlesboro; 2017 – Knox Central; 2016 – Middlesboro; 2015 – Middlesboro; 2014 – Oneida Baptist; 2013 – Middlesboro; 2012 – Middlesboro.