Knox Central comes from behind 74-70 in thrilling WYMT Food City Mountain Classic title game defeating Harlan County

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Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 9:43 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 11:49 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky (WYMT)- Knox Central defeated Harlan County in a thrilling WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic presented by your local Kentucky Farm Bureau agents and sponsored by ARH championship game, 74-70.

The last time these two teams met, Knox Central rallied from behind to Harlan County in the 13th Regional Title game 72-68 at the Corbin Arena.

The Panthers had to come from behind again in this one. Knox Central was charged with a technical foul for dunking before the game. Following the two Trent Noah free throws, Jackson Huff and Daniel Carmical hit three straight threes forcing Tony Patterson to call a timeout, trailing 11-0.

“We’re fine,” said Knox Central’s Coach Tony Patterson to his team on the sidelines. It is early, It is still the first quarter.

Out of the time out, Trent Noah hit another three for the Black Bears allowing them on a 14-0 run to start the game.

Knox Central began to chip away, ending the first quarter down 7, 24-17.

Harlan County’s head coach, Michael Jones said that wasn’t surprising.

“We started the game well, but I told the kids we weren’t going to blow this team out,” said Jones. “They are too good, too talented. We just didn’t do a good job of rebounding the basketball. They outrebounded us 11-2, 11-3 in the fourth quarter. We can’t win ball games that way, especially close ones.”

In the second, Knox would rally getting even closer, Andrew Sizemore banked in a three at the buzzer cutting Harlan County’s halftime lead to 44-41.

Knox Central would lead by as many as 7 in the third quarter taking the lead coming out of the break, but Harlan County’s three-ball came alive again, getting the Black Bears in front 59-55.

Trent Noah, Tyler Cole, and Daniel Carmical split the high points man with 18 points each.

“It was different but I think we can still learn from it,” said Cole, who was named to the All-Tournament Team with Jackson Huff, who scored 10 points Monday. “We played three really good teams and I think it will help us down the stretch.

While the Panthers would lead again in the fourth, Harlan County’s Freshman, Trent Noah, the third Black Bear named to the team used multiple three point plays to gap the Panthers late.

“Those older guys definitely taught me a lot going against them in this tournament,” said Noah. “Its good to watch them and learn from them. I think we got a lot from this tournament.”

The team that has been to the finals of the WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic three of the last four years trailed 70-66 with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth. Jevonte Turner hit a big three to make the score 70-69. Turner, who sparked the comeback said last year in the Regional final game where the Panthers needed a big second half, said then he knew the Panthers would come back. Monday, it was similar feelings for the MVP.

“We just needed energy and we have to play defense. That’s all it comes down to,” said Turner. He led the Panthers with 26.

Isaac Mills, who joined Andrew Sizemore and Abe Brock on the All-Tournament team would hit a free throw to tie the game going into the final minute. He would add 24 points for the Panthers.

Knox Central would score two baskets in the final 30 seconds to win 74-70.

“We just wanted to earn everybody’s respect,” said Sizemore. “It’s not given, you got to earn, it and that is what we came out here to do.

Both teams expect to see each other again in 10 days and might cross each other once more in the postseason.

After the win, Knox Central dedicated the title to Samuel Collins, an elementary student fighting cancer for the second time.

“He is fighting for his life,” said Patterson. “I know he is going to prevail. He is a Knox County kid! I love my county, and I love my state.” Patterson played in the first-ever WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic Title game.

Knox Central leaves the classic 6-2 with a game against Corbin Wednesday.

Harlan County is 12-2 and will play North Laurel Tuesday night in an Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 No. 1 and No. 2 battle.

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