Bears overpower Perry in season-opener to give Jones first win


Honesty Thomas

Harlan County junior guard Trent Noah slammed home two of his 25 points in the Black Bears’ 80-61 win Monday over Perry Central.

Soaked and smiling in his office at the Harlan County High School gymnasium, Kyle Jones was enjoying his first win as a high school basketball coach moments after his Black Bears finished off an 80-61 victory over visiting Perry Central to open the 2022-2023 season.
“It does feel good to get the first one. I have to admit I was a little nervous about tonight, but the kids kind of rallied around me and the other coaches” said Jones, who took over this summer for his brother, Michael, as the HCHS coach. The Bears followed a familiar formula to victory as all-state junior guard Trent Noah scored 25 points and senior wing Daniel Carmical added 24 as he tied current Harlan County assistant coach Cameron Carmical and Trey Sanders for the school record in 3-pointers with eight.
“I’ve seen Daniel go on streaks like that for four years. He can hit seven or eight in a row,” Jones said. “It didn’t surprise me.”
Up six at halftime, the Bears opened the second half with a 10-0 run to take command. Noah and Jonah Swanner each had two baskets in the run as Perry was held scoreless for over four minutes. Two Carmical treys pushed the lead to 21 points as HCHS took a 59-40 lead into the final period.
“We made some adjustments on what they were doing defensively,” Jones said. “We made the adjustment of moving Daniel against the 1-2-2 they were playing and had Trent on the block. It’s kind of pick your poison with that. They were locked in and focused the second half. They didn’t want to lose their home opener.”
Junior forward Kizer Slone came off the bench to lead the Commodores with 15 points. Trayton Woods and Dylan Knight added 14 and 12 points, respectively. Standout sophomore guard Rydge Beverly scored eight as he played only parts of the first three quarters after suffering an ankle injury midway through the opening period.
Perry Central came out red hot, hitting eight of its first nine shot to take an early 17-13 lead before the Bears battled back to pull even at 19-all by the end of the period.
“I think we were pressing a little early, plus Perry Central has a really good team. They’ll be 1 or 2 in the 14th Region all season,” Jones said. “We weathered the storm early. They hurt us early getting to the bucket, and changed to our matchup zone and it gave them some trouble.”
With Maddox Huff hitting three shots and Noah and Carmical adding two each, the Bears slowly built a 10-point lead before Beverly’s 3 cut the deficit to 38-32 at halftime. Huff added 13 points and 11 rebounds while running the HCHS offense
“I thought Maddox played a great floor game tonight,” Jones said. “He got everyone involved. I was real proud of how he moved the ball. We’re a better team if we can get multiple guys in double figures.”
Harlan County (1-0) will play Mercer County on Saturday at 2:15 at South Laurel High School.
Harlan County was unable to overcome a scoreless third quarter in falling 40-38 to Perry Central in junior varsity action.
Sophomore forward Connor Caudill led the Commodores with 13 points, followed by Landon Miller with nine, Mason Sumner with eight, Tyson Neace with six and Dalton Combs with four.
Reggie Cottrelll and Aidan Reynolds each scored nine for the Bears. Brody Napier added eight. Brennan Blevins scored six. Taylor Haywood contributed four. Tyler Baker added two.


Harlan County coach Kyle Jones talked with junior forward Caleb Johnson during Monday’s season-opening win over visiting Perry Central. (John Henson)
Harlan County senior guard Daniel Carmical tied a school record Tuesday with eight 3-pointers in the Bears’ 80-61 victory.