Bears close regular season with victory at Barbourville

Noah scores 40 as HCHS improves to 25-5 on season


Scott Warren

Harlan County guard Trent Noah worked inside for a shot over Barbourville’s K.T. Turner on Thursday. Noah had 40 points and 16 rebounds in the Bears’ 75-70 victory.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

BARBOURVILLE — With a ninth-place ranking in the state RPI, the Harlan County Black Bears aren’t catching anyone by surprise as the 2023 regular season comes to a close. The Bears faced another large and loud crowd on Thursday on Senior Night at Barbourville and found themselves in a battle with a three-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
For HCHS coach Kyle Jones, that was the time to turn the game over to all-state junior guard Trent Noah, who hit five of six shots in the final period as part of a 40-point, 16-rebound night in Harlan County’s 75-70 victory.
“It makes you look good as a coach when you have someone like Trent who can take a game over,” Jones said. “Sometimes I will start to call something, but then just let him go. I thought we did a good job of changing defense also because this is a loud gym with a big crowd in here.”
Junior forward Caleb Johnson also had a big night as he started in place of injured point guard Maddox Huff. Johnson demonstrated his athleticism on the glass as he scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Senior guard Daniel Carmical added 15 points on five 3-pointers, moving within 19 points of the school’s 1,000-point club.
“I thought Jonah (Swanner) did a good job on (Matthew) Warren, and I can’t say enough about Caleb’s effort tonight,” Jones said. “I thought he was so active, and that’s what we need him to be. Reggie (Cottrell) and Brody (Napier) came in and gave us some good minutes.
The 16-10 Tigers were led by 21 points from Warren, a senior guard. Senior forward K.T. Turner and senior guard Travis Scott each added 16 points.
After a couple of early lead changes, the Bears took the lead for good with a 14-5 run led by three baskets from Noah. A Ty Clark 3-pointer helped Barbourville cut the deficit to 19-15 after one quarter.
Harlan County owned a 10-4 advantage on the boards in the second period, led by five from Johnson and four from Noah. Johnson also hit three of four shots as the Bears extended their lead to 36-30 at halftime.
The Bears pushed their lead to 10 on five straight points by Noah midway through the third quarter, but a three-point play by Warren and a 3-pointer from Turner cut the deficit to 51-48 going into the final quarter.
Noah took over at the point, beating the Tigers off the dribble several times as part if a 12-point period. Carmical hit a pair of 3-pointers to help the Bears extend their lead to 70-59 with 90 seconds left.
“I was glad to see Daniel step up there after he missed a few shots the last couple of games,” Jones said.
Harrlan County returns to action Tuesday at Middlesboro, taking on the host Jackets in the 52nd District Tournament. Barbourville will play Lynn Camp on Tuesday in the 51st District Tournament at Pineville.
“We just have to be focused and ready. We aren’t taking Middlesboro for granted,” Jones said. “I’m real tickled where we are now. It was a good effort.”


Harlan County guard Jonah Swanner put up a shot in Thursday’s win at Barbourville. The Bears ended the regular season with a 25-5 record. (Scott Warren)