Bears defeat 12th Region’s top team in G.J. Smith Showcase
Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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By John Henson
Contributing Sports Writer
There will be no shortage of challenges for the Harlan County Black Bears during the 2024 season, beginning with a preseason scrimmage Saturday at South Laurel against Danville Christian as part of the G.J. Smith Showcase.
With a lineup featuring 6-11 junior center Luis Ayiei, the Warriors entered the season ranked 22nd in the state by the Louisville Courier Journal and No. 1 in the 12th Region by the Cats Pause.
Harlan County, ranked first in the 13th Region and 18th in the state, took control midway through the first quarter on the way to a 68-41 victory. Senior guard Trent Noah scored 28 points to lead the Black Bears. Maddox Huff and Caleb Johnson added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Emmanuel Dut led the Warriors with 14 points.
Down 6-5 after a pair of Danville Christian 3-pointers, the Bears went on an 8-0 run on baskets by Reggie Cottrell, Johnson, Noah and Huff to take the lead for good. Two baskets by Huff and two free throws from Noah to close the quarter extended the HCHS lead to 17-10.
Noah went baseline for a dunk, then hit a jumper in the lane as the Bears continued to build on the lead in the second quarter, Jaycee Carter and Noah each hit 3-pointers as Harlan County pushed its lead to 29-19 at the break.
The Warriors pulled to within seven before Carter started a 16-2 run with a three-point play. Noah and Brody Napier added treys in the run as HCHS took a 50-28 lead into the final period.
Johnson and Noah each hit 3s in a 10-2 run as Harlan County pushed the lead to 64-34 midway through the fourth quarter before coach Kyle Jones went to his reserves to end the game.
Harlan County will open its regular season schedule Friday at Jackson County in a 6:30 p.m. game at the PRTC Classic.