Noah marks birthday with 30-point, 10-rebound night as Bears cruise to win

By John Henson, Managing Editor


After sophomore guard Trent Noah was held to 12 points in a three-point loss two weeks ago at Bell County, Harlan County coach Michael Jones knew he couldn’t afford to have another night where the Bears’ 6-foot-6 standout was kept out of the paint.
Noah has spent more time of late in the post and found a good mixture of inside and outside Tuesday in the second day of play in the Harlan County Hoops Extravaganza. Noah celebrated his birthday with a 30-point, 10-rebound performance as the Bears led all the way in a 93-70 out of an outmanned North Raleigh Christian Academy, N.C., squad.
“We want him to post up when people put smaller players on him and then play through him,” Jones said. “He’s doing a better job of getting in the paint and pulling up. We want him to continue being aggressive like we want all of them to do. When he plays aggressive, he obviously makes us a lot better.”
The Bears, who hit 15 3-pointers in a win over Metrolina Christian Academy, N.C., a night earlier, connected on 12 more against North Raleigh, led by Daniel Carmical with six in a 20-performance. Jonah Swanner chipped in with 10 points as the Bears improved to 9-3.
Harlan County scored the game’s first 14 points and appeared well on the way to a blowout win, but the short-handed Knights fought back to within nine by halftime.
“We’ve put up 90-plus the last two games, but we’ve given up 70-plus. I wasn’t happy at halftime because we watched them cut a 17-point lead to nine at halftime,” Jones said. “I’m trying to get this team to get a killer instinct and play that way the entire time and not wait to flip the switch. If we can do that, we’ll give ourselves a good chance at the end of the year. We have to get that mentality the rest of the year.”
North Raleigh Christian Academy fell to 5-9 with three losses in the tournament but remained competitive throughout with only a six-man roster as several players stayed home due to covid issues. North Raleigh coach Ronnie Kruger said he was missing eight players.
“I thought we kind of ran out of gas in the third quarter with only six guys, but Harlan County is a good team,” Kruger said. “They just kept attacking and rotating. (Noah) is a special player. This gave us a lot of experience and gave me some game film to review with them.”
The Knights got as close as six early in the third quarter on a Parker Hodgson 3-pointer. Carmical, Swanner and Maddox Huff sparked a 13-0 run that put the Bears back in control on the way to building a 71-44 lead going into the final period. Harlan County led by 33 early in the fourth quarter when Jones sent his starters to the bench for the remainder of the evening.
Junior guard Gabe Demorest led the Knights with 24 points on eight-of-11 shooting from behind the 3-point line, including four of four in the final quarter.
Harlan County remained in control as several of the younger Bears had big nights, led by freshman guard Ethan Simpson with nine points in the fourth quarter. Sophomore forward Caleb Johnson added four points, and eighth-grade forward Hunter Napier pulled down four rebounds.
The Bears will close tournament play on Wednesday at 2 p.m. against Lakota West, Ohio. Both teams are 2-0 in tournament play.
Nathan Dudukovich followed a 51-point performance on Monday with a 27-point effort Tuesday as Lakota West, Ohio, defeated Metrolina Christian, N.C., 69-59 in earlier action Tuesday.
C.J. Harrist led Metrolina Christian with 16 points.
Heritage, Va., defeated North Raleigh Christian 63-41 in the opening game Tuesday. Hussain Williams scored 20 and Kyle Ferguson added 16 to lead Heritage.
Parker Hodgson led North Raleigh Christian with 22 points.
Lakota West, Ohio (69) — Bryson Curry 9 Jason Lavender 9, Derek Jackson 2, Nathan Dudukovih 27, Christopher Barber 17, Luke Gilbert 2.
Metrolina Christian (59) — Eli Clark 8, C.J. Harrist 16, Jacob Fisher-Davis 5, Myles McIntyre 2, Daylon Houston 2, Dylan Deluce 9, Blair Crumbie 8, Michael Wilson Jr. 9.
Heritage, Va. (63) — Donovan Jones 10, Hussain Williams 20, Hassanur Freeman 6, Simeon McMilian 2, Omar Anderson 3, Kyle Ferguson 16, Terrell Washington 6.
North Raleigh Christian (41) – Mykel Williams 6, Saren Richardson 2, Parker Hodgson 22, Brooks Buis 2, Gabe Demorest 5, Payne Thomas 4.
Monday, Dec. 27
Harlan County 74, Heritage, Va 61
Lakota West, Ohio 90, North Raleigh Christian, N.C. 68
Harlan County 92, Metro Christian, N.C. 85

Tuesday, Dec 28
Heritage, Va. 63, North Raleigh Christian, N.C., 41
Lakota West, Ohio, 69, Metro Christian, N.C., 59
Harlan County 93, North Raleigh Christian, N.C., 70

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