Black Bears claw out double OT win over Knott Central in Mountain Classic return
HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The Mountain Classic is always a thrilling week in the Mountains, but when Harlan County takes the stage, the Black Bears always seem to raise the ante whether the game falls in their favor or not. HC has been in both games that produced the Mountain Classic Miracle, part one and two. Cameron Carmical cemented himself in Classic history hitting a three-quarter court shot in 2017 giving Harlan County the win at the buzzer.
In 2018, Harlan County was on the other end of a similar shot when Perry Central’s Dylan Cornett lifted the Commodores past the Black Bears in the opening round of the last tournament the team was in.
Wednesday Night, Harlan County returned to the Basketball Classic, in the same gym the infamous shot took place, with a tall task. The Black Bears rose to the occasion though, defeating defeat the third-place finishers from 2019 in Knott Central to win 74-70 in double overtime. A game that meant more than just the tournament.
The Patriots dominated the start of the game, racing out to a 16-6 start in the first quarter. Kent Damron and Colby Napier were making it look easy in the early parts of that run as each player had nine points in the first half. Harlan County fought back ending the first quarter on an 8-0 run that carried into the second quarter. That spurt cut the Patriots lead to 16-11 after the first eight minutes and ultimately within two. The Black Bears would lead 27-26 with five seconds remaining before the break, but Kizer Slone drove a wide-open lane at the buzzer to give Knott Central the lead.
Both teams stayed deadlocked through the third quarter, going into the final frame of the game tied at 41. While the first three minutes were quiet, the game heated up. The Patriots pulled ahead 49-43 on three quick baskets, but the Patriots tried slowing the game by holding the ball.
“I felt like we gave the game away,” said Knott Central Head Coach B.B King. “We turned the ball over, we wouldn’t foul, or listen down the stretch when we needed to.”
The Black Bears took advantage of the Patriots out of their rhythm. 8th Grader Maddox Huff crafted an iconic Classic moment hitting the game tying three at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Knott would lead most of the extra period, but with less than a minute remaining Huff would hit another three to force four more minutes.
Huff’s brother, Jackson had 6 threes and 20 pts in the game helping out the Black Bears. Both of which, brothers to Cameron Carmical.
It was all Freshman Trent Noah finding an extra gear in OT scoring 14 of Harlan County’s 20 OT points. Noah would finish with 28 on the night.
Knott Central’s Colby Napier would lead all scorers with 30 points.
The win was more than a Classic return for the Black Bears.
“I am kind of disappointed in the disrespect this team has gotten,” said Head Coach Michael Jones. “I don’t think they are getting the attention they deserve. We came over here to earn the respect of everybody.”
Harlan County fell in the 13th Region Championship last year to Knox Central with a young team surprising some. This season, many of those key players return giving the Black Bears a chip on their shoulders.
The Black Bears, who are 11-1, will look to continue proving that when they face the winner of Hazard and Martin County who tip off Thursday night in Saturday’s Semifinals.
You can watch the postgame for Harlan County and Knott Central below.
Copyright 2021 WYMT. All rights reserved.