LONDON — A strange play wiped out Harlan County’s four-point lead over Montgomery County in the G.J. Smith Showcase at South Laurel on Saturday afternoon.
An even stranger play as time expired gave the Bears a 60-58 win in their final preseason tuneup.
Harlan County had led most of the way in the scrimmage and was up by four after Cameron Carmical hit two free throws with 8.7 seconds to play.
Montgomery County called a timeout with 5.5 seconds left, then got the ball to standout senior guard Art Walker, who hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and drew a foul. The free throw that followed tied the scrimmage.
Harlan County sophomore guard Andrew Creech got the ball at halfcourt and fired up a shot that fell short of the basket, but Tyrese Simmons, also a sophomore, grabbed the ball and threw it toward the basket. The ball bounced off the glass, around the rim and then through the net as time ran out.
Carmical and Treyce Spurlock, the only two returning starters from last year’s 52nd District championship team, carried the Harlan County offense with 22 and 19 points, respectively.
Walker led Montgomery County, ranked second in the 10th Region by the Cats Pause, with 20 points. Brennan Canada added 13 points.
Spurlock and Carmical each had six points in the first quarter as Harlan County built a 13-10 lead.
With Carmical and Walker trading 3-pointers, the lead changed hands several times in the second quarter before a trey by Carmical put HCHS up 25-23 at halftime.
Spurlock took over in the third quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and converting a three-point play as the Bears extended their advantage to double digits. A 3-pointer by Lamar Burkhart gave HCHS its biggest lead at 12 points before Montgomery scored the final five points of the period.
Jerryd Jones scored all of his eight points in the fourth quarter as he pulled the Indians even three times, but Harlan County answered each occasion, first on baskets by Spurlock and Burkhart and then two free throws by Carmical as the lead grew to four before the wild last three seconds.
Harlan County opens its regular season schedule Monday at Letcher Central.
The Harlan Lady Dragons won two varsity scrimmages, each a half only, on Friday at Hazard. Harlan defeated Pikeville 26-21 and Knott Central 31-26. Harlan lost to Pikeville 21-4 and Knott Central 28-15 in junior varsity scrimmages.
HARLAN COUNTY (60) — Cameron Carmical 22, Treyce Spurlock 19, Drew Nolan 6, Tyrese Simmons 6, David Turner 2, Lamar Burkhart 5.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY (58) — Smith 2, Canada 13, Fuller 7, Walker 20, Parsley 4, Combs 4, Jones 8.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134