Black Bears edge Bell to earn a spot in freshman regional semifinals

Harlan County battled its way into the semifinals of the 13th Region freshman tournament with a hard-fought 32-29 win Monday over visiting Bell County.
Brody Napier scored 12 to lead the 5-1 Bears. Jaycee Carter and Hunter Napier chipped in with 10 and eight points, respectively.
Blake Burnett paced the Bobcats with 10 points. Noah Brock scored six.
Harlan County grabbed an early 5-0 lead before Elijah Hampton, Ethan Buell and Austin Goodin each had 3-pointers for the Bobcats to give Bell an 11-10 lead after one quarter.
Bell took a 16-14 lead into the halftime break, but the Bears took control in the third quarter as Brody Napier hit a pair of 3-pointers and Hunter Napier added a basket and two free throws to give HCHS a 28-23 lead.
Carter had two baskets in the fourth quarter as the Bears maintained a five-point lead. Brock cut the deficit to three. Bell had the ball with a minute left, calling three timeouts, but was unable to cash in on a tying 3-pointer.
Harlan County will advance to the final four of the tournament on Feb. 12 at Williamsburg High School.
Harlan County (32) — Brody Napier 12, Jaycee Carter 10, Hunter Napier 8, Blake Hensley 2.
Bell County (29) — Noah Brock 6, Blake Burnett 10, Elijah Hampton 3, Ethan Buell 4, Austin Goodin 3, Cameron Hall 3.