Black Bears take third in Mountain Classic

Published 5:23 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

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By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writer

Harlan County played for third place in the WYMT Mountain Classic on Saturday against Breathitt County without junior guard Trent Noah.

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It was sophomore guard Maddox Huff who turned in an excellent performance as the Black Bear poured in 29 points while dishing out 12 assists as HC posted an 82-57 victory.

The game was halted with 3:01 left in the fourth quarter due to an injury by sophomore guard Austin Sperry of the Bobcats.

Sperry fell hard on the floor following a rebound attempt. He was finally taken by ambulance off the floor.

The officials agreed to stop the game with the scoring difference and the tournament timetable.

As for the game, the Black Bears got plenty of scoring from all its starters.

Senior guard Daniel Carmical nailed five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Jonah Swanner, a junior guard, scored 13.

Sophomore forward Jaycee Carter tossed in 12 points for the Bears, while Caleb Johnson, a junior forward, added eight points. HC also got a 3-pointer from Ethan Simpson, and Reggie Cottrell chipped in with two.

Senior forward Christian Collins led Breathitt County (2-2) with 18 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Sperry finished with 13 and eight rebounds. Bryce Hopkins scored 12, and Luke Bellemy added eight.

Swanner and Carter each scored six points in the first quarter as Harlan County took a 23-9 advantage into the second period.

Huff poured in nine points, and Carmical added two treys as the Black Bears’ advantage grew to 49-21 at the break.

A basket by Carter at the 7:09 mark of the third quarter gave HC a 52-23 lead, but the Bobcats used a 9-0 spurt to make it a 53-32 advantage.

Breathitt County got as close as 17 points before Harlan County closed the quarter 17-4 run, led by Huff with eight points and Carmical with six.

The Black Bears took a 72-42 cushion into the final period.

Collins scored eight points in the fourth quarter, while Sperry added five.

The Bobcats hit seven of nine shots in the shortened period.

Breathitt County visits Wolfe County on Friday and takes on McCreary Central in the Big Lou Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Perry Central on Saturday.

Harlan County (4-1) played host to Bell County on Tuesday in the second game of a girls/boys 52nd District doubleheader.

The Black Bears will participate in the King of the Bluegrass Tournament beginning Friday in Louisville.

Perry tops HCHS in thriller

One of the tournament’s best games was played Friday, with Harlan County playing Perry Central.

Calen Johnson scored with 12 seconds to play to give the Black Bears a 50-49 edge.

With 2.6 seconds remaining, following a Commodore timeout, Rydge Beverly nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Perry Central escaped with a 52-50 win.

Beverly, a sophomore guard, paced the Commodores with 12 points. Senior center Dylan Knight finished with 10. Carter Castle and Kiser Slone contributed nine points apiece.

Junior guard Trent Noah led the Black Bears with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Carmical followed with eight points, and Huff scored six. Swanner tossed in five, while Carter and Johnson each had two.

Harlan County raced out to a 20-11 advantage after one quarter.

The Commodores trailed 29-23 at halftime but pulled within one, 36-35 heading into the final period.

Both teams traded baskets for most of the fourth quarter.

Perry Central travels to Martin County on Tuesday and takes on cross-town rival Hazard on Thursday in Memorial Gym.

Black Bears begin tournament with blowout

Harlan County opened the tournament with a 63-40 blowout win over Knott Central, coached by former Harlan standout Casey Huff.

Noah powered the Black Bears with 36 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. He connected on 16 of 23 from the field.

Harlan County also got eight points from sophomore guard Brody Napier, seven from Swanner, and six each from Huff and Carmical.

Sophomore point guard Drake Slone led the Patriots with 12 points. Hunter Haddix, a junior guard, followed with 11. Braxton Reader scored eight as Knott shot just 32 percent from the field on 15 of 47 shooting.

Harlan County shot 46 percent on 26 of 57 from the floor and out-rebounded Knott 36-28. Seventeen turnovers hampered the Patriots. HC committed 12.

Haran County led 21-11 after one quarter and 36-21 at halftime. The Bears took a 52-30 advantage into the fourth period.

Knott Central (1-3) played host to Letcher Central on Tuesday. The Patriots will face Buckhorn on Friday and Western Hills on Saturday at home.

“I knew we’d have some jitters, and we talked about that at halftime,” Coach Huff said. “We’re young and hungry, and we’ll bounce back.