By John Middleton
For The Times-Tribune
HARLAN — Harlan County hasn't played its best basketball in recent weeks, but the Black Bears reminded everyone Thursday they are more than capable of putting together a run that ends in Rupp Arena.
Harlan County snapped a three-game home losing skid on Senior Night with a 60-29 rout of Whitley County.
“We are just as good a team right now as we were at the first of the year when we were 11-0. We have just lost some close games. We have some bad luck where we didn’t make a play or two at the end of the game,” said Harlan County coach Mike Jones. “We don't want our fans to give up on these kids.”
The Bears got off to a slow start in the first quarter. Boston Bryant had six straight Whitley County points to put the Colonels on top by two midway through the opening period. Chad Massingill responded with five straight points of his own to put Harlan County up 11-8.
The Black Bears limited Whitley to five points in the second quarter as they began to pull away. Tyler Miller had eight points and Alex Sergent added five in the period as the lead grew to 17 points at the half. Miller, a sophomore forward, continued his strong play and finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
It was Aaron Caldwell’s turn to take over in the post in the third quarter. The senior forward had six points and four rebounds in the period as the lead grew to 41-22.
The Bears continued to dominate on the interior in the fourth quarter. Harlan County’s post players combined for 15 points and eight rebounds in the final eight minutes as the Bears cruised to the win. Harlan County controlled the boards throughout Thursday's contest, outrebounding Whitley County, 37-17.
The Bears also turned in arguably their best defensive performance of the season in limiting Whitley County to just 29 points and 11 made shots. Whitley's output is the fewest by a Harlan County opponent this season, and the least amount scored by the Colonels all year.
“It’s hard to say too much negative when you hold somebody like Whitley County to 29 points. They have played right with Corbin, they beat South Laurel and Knox Central only beat them by three,” Jones said.
By John Middleton
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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