Black Bears rally for summer wins over South, Rockcastle


John Henson

Harlan County senior guard Jackson Huff prepared to pass around a Rockcastle County defender in scrimmage action Thursday. Huff scored 25 points in the Bears’ 64-61 win.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Playing without point guard Trent Noah, heading into this third year as a starter, was not an ideal summer scenario for the Harlan County Black Bears, but they appear to be finding ways to make the best of the situation as Noah works his way back from surgery.
Several players stepped up in a big way Thursday as the Bears rallied for wins over both South Laurel and Rockcastle County in a day of scrimmages at Harlan County.
Down by 12 in the second half of the final scrimmage of the night against Rockcastle County, the Bears rallied behind a barrage of 3-pointers from Jackson Huff, Maddox Huff and Daniel Carmical to force overtime. A four-point play by Carmical gave HCHS the lead in the extra period, but Rockcastle pulled even. Maddox Huff headed for the basket as the final seconds ticked away and found Jeremiah Clem open in the corner for the game-winning 3-pointer in a 64-61 victory.
Jackson Huff, a senior guard slowed by injuries of his own this spring, finished with 25 points on seven 3-pointers to lead the Bears. Maddox Huff, a freshman, scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half after his older brother had carried the HCHS offense in the first half. Carmical and Clem added 12 and six points, respectively.
Harlan County trailed most of the way against South after the Cardinals scored the first seven points, but a three-point play by freshman center Jaycee Carter gave the Bears a late lead, then Clem and Maddox Huff hit late 3-pointers to finish off a 44-39 win.
Maddox Huff scored 21 to lead the Bears. Jackson Huff scored nine, followed by Carter with five, Clem with three and Carmical with two.
Harlan County, now 3-3 on the summer, will play at Lee County on Friday.
With several players battling injury problems and others busy with spring sports, the Harlan County junior varsity team this summer is dominated by incoming freshmen with five starters who played on the eighth-grade level last season.
The Bears fell 60-49 to South Laurel on Thursday. Hunter Napier and Brody Napier each scored 12 and Connor Daniels added 10 to lead HCHS. Jaycee Carter scored sis, followed by Taelor Haywood with five and Blake Hensley and Brayden Hensley with two each.
Daniels scored 12 to lead the Bears in a 52-38 loss to Rockcastle County. Blake Hensley and Hunter Napier scored seven each, followed by Carter with six, Haywood with three, Napier with two and Brayden Hensley with one.
Harlan County split a pair of varsity scrimmages Monday at Lindsey Wilson College, downing Adair County 49-46 and falling 64-58 to Campbellsville.
Maddox Huff scored 19 to lead the Bears against Adair. Jackson Huff, Daniel Carmical and Ethan Rhymer scored eight each. Jared Rhymer added three. Caleb Johnson scored two. Jaycee Carter added one.
Campbellsville rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to win in the Bears’ final scrimmage of the day. Three Bears reached double figures, including Carmical with 16, Jackson Huff with 13 and Maddox Huff with 10. Jeremiah Clem scored four, followed by Johnson with three and Ethan Rhymer with two.
Carter scored 16, while Hunter Napier and Connor Daniels added 12 each as HCHS fell 64-58 to Adair County in junior varsity action. Brody Napier and Blake Hensley added seven each. Brayden Hensley scored four.