Bears win shootout over Metrolina Christian in Harlan County Hoops Extravaganza as Noah scores 40

By John Henson, Managing Editor





When the visiting Metrolina Christian Warriors were in the process of hitting nine of 11 shots in the second quarter in building a six-point lead, it became clear Harlan County could not afford to have an average night on offense to keep up Monday during the opening night of play in the Harlan County Hoops Extravaganza.
Harlan County shot 65 percent (17 of 26) in the second half and 60 percent (30 of 50) for the game in winning a 92-85 shootout over a North Carolina team that HCHS coach Michael Jones said was the best his team has played thus far.
“I’m not too pleased with giving up 85 points, but we played pretty well offensively in spurts,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “That’s probably the best team we’ve played so far, and we just came back from playing the No. 3 team in South Carolina (at the Seahawk Classic in Hilton Head, S.C.). They started 6-11, 6-9 and 6-8, but this team we played tonight can shoot the lights out of it. It’s very difficult to guard the actions in their offense. I thought we did a better job at times in the second half and made just enough stops to win the game.”
“We started hot offensively, but we struggled getting stops,” said Metrolina Christian coach Michael Wilson. “We were trying to focus on defense, but they are a good team and hit some shots.
“I thought we rushed a little in the third quarter. Basketball is a game of runs. We made a run early, then they made a run and it was back and forth from there.”
Sophomore guard Trent Noah had a record-breaking night to lead the 8-3 Bears, hitting seven of eight 3-pointers in a 40-point performance that broke the boys school record of 39 that he and his cousin, Cameron Carmical, had previously shared.
“He’s a good player and hit a lot of tough shots,” Wilson said. “He goes a great job of creating space. We tried guards on him and we tried forwards on him, and he did a good job against everyone.”
“Tonight was the first night that Trent really demanded the ball and wanted it. We need him to do that every game,” Jones said. “He doesn’t have to score 40 every game, even though it’s great, but we need him to want the ball in those moments. I thought they did a pretty good job guarding him, but he made some tough shots.”
Jonah Swanner added 18 points for the Bears as he helped spark the Bears’ strong second half.
“He’s the Energizer Bunny. He does all the little things for us,” Jones said. “He’s capable of scoring 18 every night, but if he doesn’t he will defend and rebound and is a big key for us.”
Maddox Huff and Daniel Carmical contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Senior guard Daylon Houston led a balanced attack for the Warriors with 18 points. Dylan Deluca, a 6-5 sophomore, added 13 points. Senior guard C.J. Harrist scored 12. Michael Wilson Jr., a 6-6 junior forward, contributed 10 points.
Metrolina Christian hit hit nine of 17 shots in the opening quarter, led by three baskets from Wilson on three shots, to go up 19-14. The lead grew to six in the second quarter, but Noah hit five of six shots and Maddox Huff connected on two of three as the Bears cut the deficit to 41-39 at halftime.
HCHS hit nine of 15 shot sin the third quarter, led by four baskets from Noah, to go up by 11. The Warriors cut the lead to 66-58 going into the fourth period and got as close as two with Houston hitting three 3s in the quarter. Carmical heated up for the Bears by hitting three straight shots.
“Mental mistakes hurt Daniel sometimes,” Jones said. “If he will do what we need on defense, he will play a lot more and not come out and will have those opportunities to knock those shots down.”
The Bears put the game away by executing on two out-of-bounds plays off timeouts in the final 2:15 as Swanner scored both times.
“We hadn’t ran those two plays. We drew them up in a timeout, and I thought the kids executed them very well,” Jones said. “That’s what you want as a coach.”
Harlan County opened the tournament with a 74-61 victory over Heritage High School, of Lynchburg, Va., with the help of a 10-of-25 shooting performance from behind the 3-point line.
Sophomore guard Trent Noah scored 21 points to lead the 7-3 Black Bears. Jackson Huff and Maddox Huff added 13 points each.
Senior forward Kyle Ferguson hit 12 of 21 shots and finished with 27 points to lead Heritage (3-5).
With the Bears down 4-2 in the early going, the Huff brothers and Noah combined to hit five 3-pointers in a 19-5 run that put HCHS up 21-9 after one quarter.
Harlan County led 31-20 at the break and extended its advantage to 18 midway through the quarter as Jonah Swanner scored in the paint and Noah added a dunk. Ferguson kept Heritage within striking distance by hitting four straight shots, but the Bears took a 54-37 lead into the final period.
The Bears were up by 15 when Jones went to his reserves for the final two minutes. Jaycee Carter, Brody Napier and Hunter Napier each hit two of two at the line to close the game. Heritage hit 11 of 19 shots in the period, led by Ferguson with three more baskets, to outscore HCHS 24-20.
Lakota West, Ohio,, rolled past North Raleigh Christian, N.C., 90-68 in the second game on Wednesday as Nathan Dudukovich poured in 51 points. William Layfield and Christopher Barber added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Parker Hodges scored 23 and Gabe Demarest added 18 for Raleigh Christian.
Monday, Dec. 27
Harlan County 71, Heritage, Va 64
Lakota West, Ohio 90, North Raleigh Christian, N.C. 68
Harlan County 92, Metro Christian, N.C. 85

Tuesday, Dec 28
North Raleigh Christian, N.C. vs Heritage, Va. — 11 a.m.
Metro Christian, N.C. vs Lakota West, Ohio — 12:30 p.m.
Harlan County vs North Raleigh Christian, N.C. — 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec 29
Heritage, Va. vs Metro Christian, N.C. — 12:30 p.m.
Harlan County vs Lakota West, Ohio — 2 p.m.