Carmical, Huff spoil Jackets’ strategy as HC rolls to district win at Middlesboro


Danny Vaughn

Harlan County guard Trent Noah slammed home two points off a pass from Maddox Huff during Friday’s district clash at Middlesboro. The Black Bears improved to 14-3 with a 79-46 win.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

MIDDLESBORO — Holding all-state guard Trent Noah to 15 points is a victory for just about any opponent the Harlan County Black Bears will face this season. Middlesboro coach John Wheat didn’t fell like celebrating afterwards though after winning a battle but losing the war Friday in the Black Bears’ 79-46 victory.
Senior guard Daniel Carmical, who hit eight of 11 shots and scored 23 points, and sophomore guard Maddox Huff, who hit eight of 10 shots and scored 19 points, spoiled the strategy and sent the Bears to their 14th win in 17 games this season.
“A team like that, as good as they are, you can’t stop everything,” Wheat said. “You have to pick your poison on which one you want to try to contain.”
Middlesboro turned the ball over nine times in each of the first two quarters as Harlan County raced to a 19-6 lead in the opening five minutes, then added a 16-0 run in the second quarter to take a 49-24 lead by halftime.
“You have to give Harlan County credit. They are more athletic than you think they are, plus their length bothered us,” Wheat said.
While the Bears were good during the runs sparked by defense, Harlan County coach Kyle Jones was not happy that his team gave up an 8-0 run to end the first quarter and went through stretches of inconsistency much of the night.
“I felt we got up on them early and relaxed and took some unnecessary chances on defense because we felt we could get steals and sometimes that leads to easy baskets for the other team,” Jones said. “I feel we have a really good team, but we have to learn when we get up on somebody to turn up the intensity even more. It’s a district win and I’m happy to get it, but I didn’t feel we played that well overall. We played well in spurts. We just have to keep getting better.”
Junior forward Trey King and sophomore guard Jack Smith scored 11 points each and senior guard Ashton Osborne added eight for the 3-12 Yellow Jackets.
Carmical hit three 3-pointers in each of the first two quarters while Huff and Noah each had two baskets in the first quarter and three in the second. Jonah Swanner, who finished with 10 points, also had three baskets in the second quarter.
Huff carried the HCHS offense in the third quarter with three baskets. Noah and Carmical each had two baskets, including Carmical’s seventh trey to close the period and start a running clock.
Smith led the Jackets in the fourth quarter with three 3-pointers as both teams went to their reserves. Senior guard Jeremiah Clem provided the highlight for Harlan County with a 3-pointer as he saw his first action of the season after missing extended time due to an injury.
Harlan County returns to action Tuesday at Bell County in a district doubleheader. The Bears’ game scheduled Saturday at home against Knox Central was postponed. Middlesboro plays at Pineville on Tuesday.