Bears open season with blowout win at Perry behind record-tying night from Noah


John Henson

Harlan County guard Trent Noah, pictured in action earlier this season, scored 39 points as the Bears won 86-62 at Perry Central.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


HAZARD — Facing the 14th Region’s second-ranked team on the road, the Harlan County Black Bears may have looked like an underdog going into Monday’s season-opening game.
It was soon clear that the visiting Black Bears were not going to play a down-to-the-wire game on this night as they hit nine of their first 11 shots and put Perry Central away early in building a 29-6 lead after one quarter on the way to an 86-62 victory.
“It’s a great way to start the season,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “I wanted them to know I was proud of them to go on the road and beat a team like Perry Central to start the season. I told them I expect Perry Central to be in Rupp at the end of the season or at least in the regional finals with a chance to go.”
After the Commodores scored the game’s first two points, the Bears reeled off 24 of the next 26 led by Trent Noah with seven-of-eight shooting in the opening period, including a 3 to close the period that gave Harlan County a 23-point lead. Noah finished with 39 points to tie the school record held by his cousin, Cameron Carmical, a former HCHS all-state guard.
“We shot it real well early and good things happen when you shoot well,” Jones said. “I also thought we defended well. It’s the first time we’ve played man in a while. We made mistakes, but we played pretty well on defense overall and if we can keep doing that we have a good chance every night.”
Noah finished the night by hitting 14 of 20 shots from the field while adding eight rebounds. Jonah Swanner was outstanding in the open court as he sliced his way to a 17-point night. Freshman point guard Maddox Huff added 14 points.
“We wanted Trent to not settle even though we don’t care for him to shoot from the outside. He’s hard to guard, and he set the tone early. Whenever they made a run, he stopped them. We’re fortunate to have a player like him,” Jones said. “Jonah does a great job off the dribble and gives us another element on offense. Maddox just grows up more every day and runs the show like we want him to. He also hit some big shots when they made a run. I also though Jackson (Huff) did a great job on defense and rebounding.”
Perry Central was led by freshman guard Rydge Beverly with 19 points. Senior guard Landon Napier, a transfer from Estill County, added 11 points.
The Commodores tried to fight back behind Beverly, who had a couple of baskets to cut the deficit to 18 before Noah and Maddox Huff each hit 3-pointers from well beyond 20 feet as the lead grew to 44-22 at the break.

Harlan County returns to action Saturday in the Ted Cook Classic at South Laurel, taking on Rockcastle County at 8 p.m.
Mason Sumner hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds left as Perry Central rallied from four down in the final minute to win 49-48 in junior varsity action.
Daulton Combs scored 19 and Tyson Neace added 10 to lead the Commodores.
Hunter Napier paced the Bears with nine points. Brody Napier and Jaycee Carter scored eight each. Ethan Simpson tossed in seven. Terry Michael Delaney and Josh Sergent each added five. Connor Daniels scored four. Taelor Haywood added two.