Bobcats end losing streak against HC

Published 9:58 am Monday, December 20, 2021

The visiting Harlan County Black Bears battled back numerous times in Friday’s 52nd District opener against Bell County, but still trailed by six with 55 seconds left when they made a final run.

Two free throws by Tristan Cooper and a three-point play by Jackson Huff cut the deficit to one. Bell took three timeouts trying to get the ball inbounds with 12.4 seconds remaining but still turned the ball over, giving HCHS a final chance. Maddox Huff, Jackson Huff and Cooper each had shots in the paint to put the Bears ahead but couldn’t convert. Dalton Stepp closed the game with a rebound and two free throws with one-tenth of a second left as the Bobcats ended a seven-year drought claiming a 59-56 victory.

The last time Bell High defeated HC was Jan. 23, 2015. Snapping a 15-game losing streak.

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Senior forward Cameron Burnett led a balanced Bell attack with 24 points. Senior guard Dalton Stepp poured in 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Junior guard Dawson Woolum added 14. Hayden Callers had four points and six rebounds.

Sophomore guard Jonah Swanner fired in 18 points for the Black Bears. Freshman guard Maddox Huff scored 16. Trent Noah, a sophomore guard, was held to 12 points. Jackson Huff tossed in six points while Tristan Cooper chipped in with four.

The Bobcats took an 18-12 lead after one quarter of play. Harlan County cut the deficit to 28-26 at the break.

Bell took a 43-38 advantage into the final period.

The Bears held an 18-16 edge in the last quarter.

The two teams will meet again on Jan. 11 at HC.

Bell County (5-0) will have two tough outings coming up as they travel to Knox Central on Monday and Lynn Camp on Tuesday.

Harlan County (4-2) will open play Monday in the Seahawk Holiday Classic at Hilton Head (S.C).