Black Bears selected to King of the Bluegrass field


A Harlan County basketball team will be playing in the prestigious King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic for the first time in 40 years. According to a story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Harlan County is among the 16 teams selected to play in this year’s tournament.

State champion George Rogers Clark and state runner-up Warren Central are among the teams that will compete, according to tournament director Lloyd Gardner, who announced the 16-team field last week. The KOB is scheduled for Dec. 16-20 at Fairdale High School.

GRC and Warren Central are among five teams in the field that won regional championships last season. The Cardinals beat the Dragons 43-42 on March 19 in the Sweet 16 championship game.Other KOB teams that reached the Sweet 16 last season are Lyon County, Male and North Oldham.

The other nine Kentucky teams in the field will be Covington Holy Cross, Fairdale, Great Crossing, Harlan County, LaRue County, Manual, Spencer County, Trinity and Woodford County.

The two out-of-state teams are Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Weston (Florida) Sagemont.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic will feature Debaba Tshiebwe, the brother of University of Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe. Debaba Tshiebwe is a 6-foot-6 forward and a member of the class of 2023.

Five players who earned 2022 Courier Journal All-State honors are scheduled to be in the field: GRC’s Jerone Morton (first team) and Trent Edwards (third team), Lyon County’s Travis Perry (first team), Harlan County’s Trent Noah (second team) and Covington Holy Cross’ Jacob Meyer (second team). 

The bracket for the KOB will be released at a later date.

The last county team to play in the tournament was the 1983 Cawood Trojans under the direction of coach Kirk Chiles and assistant Mike Jones. The team, which featured seniors David Hensley, Everly Eads, Kevin Hatfield and Tony Sanford, was the 13th Region runner-up that season, losing to Middlesboro in overtime in the finals.

Harlan County posted a 19-11 record last season and has been one of the most consistent teams in the 13th Region with three trips to the regional finals in the last 10 years, including one title.