Bears back to burning the nets from 3-point line in rout of Whitley County

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Even though it was a 43-point beatdown, there was quite a bit going on in Harlan County’s 77-34 win Thursday over visiting Whitley County, including:
— Senior guard Tyler Cole becoming the seventh member of the HCHS 1,000-point club with a 21-point first half as part of a 23-point performance;
— The Bears hitting 15 of 28 3-point attempts only three games after being limited to three-of-25 shooting in a loss at Harlan;
— Whitley County coach Mark White being led out of the gym by a police officer after a lengthy debate with officials and an officer late in the third quarter, only to return a few minutes later since he was not ejected or assessed a technical;
After a sluggish start, the Bears took control in the second quarter and ran away with their third straight win following a three-game losing streak. Cole led the 15-4 Bears but he one of four in double figures. Maddox Huff came off the bench to score 15. Trent Noah and Daniel Carmical added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
“We talk every day in practice about attacking, but we also talk about when someone’s man commits we want to make the extra pass. I think tonight we did that as well as have all year,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said.
The Colonels were limited to 26 percent (10 of 38) shooting and held to single digits in the final three quarters.
“We played pretty good man defense the second half. We did a good job of guarding them,” Jones said. “I wasn’t happy with our rebounding the first half, but we did a better job the second half.”
The Bears shot a blazing 54 percent (15 of 28) from behind the 3-point line, while Whitley hit only one of nine attempts. Maddox Huff led the Bears with five 3-pointers, while Cole hit four, Carmical three and Noah two.
“We’ve been talking a week or two about playing downhill and not shooting as many 3s, but it’s hard not to shoot when you are making them,” Jones said. “I always want to the kids to shoot with confidence. They got on a roll the second half shooting.”
Cole, needing 20 points for 1,000, scored 10 in the first quarter as the Bears built an 18-11 lead, hitting four of five shots.
Noah heated up in the second period with three baskets as HCHS hit nine of 18 shots compared to one of eight for the Colonels. Cole hit two straight treys in the final minute to reach 21 points and prompt a short presentation as the Bears took a 43-18 lead into the break.
“What’s impressive about Tyler’s 1,000 points is that he only had 15 as a freshmen, so he basically did it in three years,” Jones said. “He’s not only a tremendous basketball player, but he’s an even better person. I’m extremely happy for him.”
Carmical hit three straight 3-pointers in the third quarter, starting a running clock at the 5:33 mark of the period with his third trey. Jonah Swanner and Noah added two baskets each as the Bears’ lead grew to 66-27 by the end of the period. White called a timeout to argue with an official after a call and was soon led off the court by a police officer before returning a few minutes later to finish the game, apparently since he was not assessed a technical or ejected.
Huff hit two 3-pointers and Tristan Cooper added one as the Bears outscored Whitley 15-11 in the fourth quarter.
The loss was the 11th straight for the Colonels, who fell to 3-11 overall. Whitley returned five starters from last year’s 12-19 team, but two have reportedly transferred and two others quit the team earlier this week.
Harlan County returns to action Saturday, taking on 14th Region preseason favorite Wolfe County at 11:45 a.m. at Buckhorn in the Big Lou Coaches vs Cancer Classic. Whitley County plays host to Williamsburg on Saturday.


Freshman guard Caleb Johnson exploded for 26 points as Harlan County rolled to a 54-19 win in junior varsity action.
Ethan Rhymer added nine points for the 4-4 Bears, followed by Jeremiah Clem with eight, Jared Rhymer with six, Taelor Haywood with three and Samuel Henson with two.
Caleb Wetherill led Whitley with eight points. Pierce Bowlin scored five. Cooper Prewitt added four. Kory Rowe and Chaseton Potter chipped in with one each.
HCHS fell 28-26 to Bell County in previously unreported action. Noah Brock, Teddy Saylor, Cole Hoskins and Conner McGeorge scored five each for the Bobcats.
Clem led the Bears with 10 points, followed by Tristan Cooper with nine and Ethan Rhymer with seven.