LEXINGTON — Playing their fourth game in about 30 hours against an athletic Lafayette team that pressed the entire way, the Harlan County Black Bears may have learned a little about themselves Saturday night in the second round of the Kentucky Basketball Academy Summer State Tournament.
Harlan County scored the game’s first 10 points and never trailed but had to overcome more than a little adversity at the end to hang on for a wild 75-72 win to advance to the state quarterfinals.
Lafayette pulled even, wiping out an 11-point HCHS lead with four minutes left in the game, on two free throws with 42 seconds left. The Bears appeared to be in trouble at that point as senior point guard Cameron Carmical had fouled out with 2:06 to play.
The Bears beat the pressure with Treyce Spurlock at the point, and Tyrese Simmons drew a foul with 11.2 seconds left. He hit one of two to put Harlan County up by one.
Junior guard Andrew Creech then forced a turnover, and the Bears were able to get the ball to Alex Pace for a layup and a foul. He missed the free throw, but the Generals were well off the mark for a potential tying 3.
Carmical scored 22 points and Spurlock added 16 to lead the Bears. Turner and Simmons also had big games, more than holding their own on the boards while adding 15 and 14 points, respectively. Drew Nolan scored five, while Pace added two and Creech contributed one.
The Bears led by 12 after one quarter as Carmical closed the period with back-to-back 3-pointers as he scored 11 in the quarter. Turner added six points.
Simmons had two baskets early in the second quarter as the Bears’ lead grew to 14. Lafayette cut the deficit to 36-27 by halftime.
The Bears led by as many as 11 in the third period but a surge of 3-pointers pulled the Generals within one before Turner closed the quarter with another basket off a rebound.
Harlan County was eliminated from the tournament with a 71-64 loss to Scott County on Sunday afternoon. The Bears finished the summer with a record of 20-5.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134