After three wins by three points or less to open the season, the Harlan County Black Bears were probably due for a breather. They found it Friday in a 78-17 rout of visiting Middlesboro in a game they dominated every way possible, including intensity.
“We just want to come out each game and get better, and I think we got better,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “I was telling them at halftime that I wanted them to play like the score was tied and not lose their intensity. For the most part we did that.”
Harlan County’s hard work on defense forced the Jackets into 32 turnovers, leading to numerous transition buckets. The Bears also dominated on the boards, limiting Middlesboro to four rebounds which led to a 58-16 advantage in shots attempted.
Junior guard Cameron Carmical was one of three Bears in double figures as hit nine of 11 shots for 27 points. Sophomore guard Drew Nolan hit all five of his shots from the field and finished with 14 points, Junior guard Treyce Spurlock added 13 points.
Christian Hubbard, Andrew Padgett and Tyler Hammons scored four points each for the Jackets, who fell to 1-6 overall.
Harlan County hit 12 of 14 shots from the field and forced 11 turnovers in building a 33-6 lead after one quarter. Carmical hit three 3-pointers and five of six shots overall. Nolan connected on all four of his shots, and Spurlock added a 3-pointer and a jumper as HCHS closed the period with a 21-0 run.
Spurlock and Carmical each had two baskets in the second quarter as HCHS scored the final 19 points of the half after Hammons opened the period with a 3-pointer. An Andrew Padgett rebound in the final minute of the half was the first of the game for the Jackets.
Harlan County pushed its lead to 66-11 by the end of the third quarter, which began with a running clock. A 3-pointer by Lamar Burkhart followed by two free throws from Christian Hall capped a 12-0 run to end the period.
Harlan County returns to action Saturday in the Black Bears Classic against Breathitt County in a 4:30 p.m. game. Bell County will play East Ridge at 3 p.m. Middlesboro returns to action Tuesday at home against Pineville.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134