An Enterprise Staff Report
Harlan County opened the Hilton Head, S.C. Classic by defeating the 13th-ranked team in the Palmetto state. The Black Bears rallied from a nine-point deficit with just over two minutes remaining to knock off Whale Branch Early College High School 82-77 in overtime.
“This was a good win for our kids, with the way we had to battle back. They are like a prep school and get kids from different places,” said Harlan County coach Mike Jones. “They were very athletic and shot the ball well. We were just able to get some shots late in game when we had to. We did a real good job of attacking the basket and getting fouled to stop the clock.”
Harlan County exploded on the offensive end in the fourth quarter, pouring in 30 points in the period to erase a five-point deficit. Tyler Brewer had 10 of his game-high 20 points in the final period, while Alex Sergent added eight of his 20 points in the final period to power the comeback.
“The kids were trying to get the ball to open people. When we penetrated it opened up some people,” Jones said. “All of the kids that played contributed and did a good job.”
The Black Bears led by two after the opening period, but were outscored 23-11 by Whale Branch (7-2) in the second and trailed 31-21 at the half.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well in first half. We got really good shots, but we just had to finish them,” Jones said. ‘We had to adjust some things on our defense. It took a while to get everything going.”
Harlan County began the comeback bid in the third quarter, outscoring Whale Branch 18-13 in the period to cut the deficit to five.
“It took a really good effort by our kids. At the end of the game, we just kept telling them we had worked on things like this in practice, and they just had to execute, get stops and attack basket to get to the free throw line,” Jones said.
Harlan County (9-0) returns to action today against White Knoll, S.C., at 3:30 p.m. The Timberwolves knocked off Colleton County, S.C., on Friday.
“They are a very good team,” Jones said of White Knoll. “That is another game where we really have to do a good job of executing.”
Harlan County (82) — Tyler Brewer 20, Alex Sergent 20, Chad Massingill 15, Aaron Caldwell 9, Tyler Miller 9, Zach Caldwell 9, James Bond 0, Cody Bumgardner 0.
Whale Branch (77) — Dee Delaaney 7, Simeon Middleton 28, Charles Jiles 8, Hazel 5, Michael Middleton 21, Denzel Daniels 4, Jay Abney 4.