Bears go back to basics, end skid with blowout at Middlesboro


Les Nicholson

Harlan County guard Trent Noah, pictured in action earlier this season, scored 33 points on Friday and added four blocked shots as the Black Bears downed Middlesboro 80-49.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

MIDDLESBORO — Coming off a five-game losing streak when they doubled their season total in only 12 days, the Harlan County Black Bears took a little time to evaluate.
They decided they could fix their slumping offense by finding more energy on defense. The strategy worked Friday as HCHS limited Middlesboro to 33 percent (13 of 39) shooting on the way to an 80-49 victory.
“We’ve had good talks the last few days, just being honest with each other, and watched a lot of film trying to them where we were at and what we were doing defensively when we were playing well and what we were doing defensively not good when we went on that little slump,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “I thought tonight they really locked in defensively and did what we talked about in film. When you play well defensively, then your offense comes and it looks better. I was proud of them.”
With a University of Central Florida assistant coach watching from the stands, sophomore guard Trent Noah poured in 33 points to lead the 17-10 Black Bears. Daniel Carmical added 14 points. Jackson Huff and Maddox Huff contributed nine points each.
Jay West and Trey King scored nine points each to lead the 8-19 Jackets, who are playing without sophomore guard Cayden Grigsby due to illness.
Harlan County forced a three-way tie for the 52nd District’s top seed with the win, meaning a draw will be held Monday at the 52nd District Tournament meeting at Bell County to determine the top three seeds in the tournament. Middlesboro will be the fourth seed in the tournament and will play the team that draws the top seed.
Harlan County will close its regular-season schedule by playing Williamsburg at home on Tuesday and Red Bird at home on Thursday. Middlesboro will play host to Lynn Camp on Tuesday.