An Enterprise Staff Report

Isaiah Alexander beat the buzzer with a tie-breaking layup to send North Laurel past Harlan County 64-62 on Saturday in the championship game of the Smoky Mountain Classic at Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Harlan County grabbed an early lead, but North fought back to within four at halftime and took a four-point lead into the final period.
The Jaguars placed three in double figures, led by Landon Young with 23 points. Reed Sheppard scored 20, followed by Alexander with 18.
The 9-3 Bears were led by senior guard Alex Pace with 21 points. Taylor Spurlock and Tyler Cole added 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Harlan County will play Roger Bacon, Ohio, on Thursday at 3 p.m, in the Legacy Nissan Classic at South Laurel. North Laurel will play White Knoll, S.C., at 8:15 p.m. The Bears and Jaguars could meet again Friday in the tournament, which Harlan County won last year.
North Laurel (64) — Reed Sheppard 20, Adam Sizemore 0, Cole Kelley 7, Landon Young 23, Isaiah Alexander 18, Isaiah Elmore 1.
Harlan County (62) — Alex Pace 21, Gabe Price 6, James Smith 2, Tyler Cole 15, Taylor Spurlock 17, Patrick Bynum 1.

By Shane Shackleford
Contributing Writer
The Harlan County Black Bears continued their march to the championship game of the Smoky Mountain Classic with a 71-39 victory over 9th Region foe Villa Madonna.

For Harlan County (9-2), three players reached double figures led by guards Tyler Cole, a sophomore, and Taylor Spurlock, a junior, with 16 points each.  Freshman guard Jackson Huff came off the bench to add 10.

The Bears were without senior guard Alex Pace, who did not play due to illness.

Forward James Thole led the Vikings (5-7) with 12 points.

After a competitive first quarter, the Bears began to stretch their lead behind Spurlock’s seven points and Huff’s eight to build a 35-19 lead going into the break.  In the second half, the Bears outscored the Vikings 36-20 to set the final victory margin at 32.  Cole led the HCHS scoring with 10 points in the half.

The Bears now move on to the championship game of the tournament and face 13th Region rival North Laurel at 1 p.m at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

Harlan County (71)  — Gabe Price 3, James Smith 5, Tyler Cole 16, Taylor Spurlock 16, Patrick Bynum 4, Josh Turner 1, Elisha Smallwood 9, Jackson Huff 10, Alex Nantz 0, James Gray 0, Jayden Ward 4, Adam Boggs 0, Brayden Cox 3.

Villa Madonna (39) —  Cam Zalla 2, Dom Martin 6, Michael Schueter 5, Nathan Junker 2, Ben Zalla 7, James Thole 12, Drew Kemper 2, Niko Papakirk 3.

By Shane Shackleford
Contributing Writer
GATLINBURG, TENN. — The Harlan County Black Bears opened play in the Smoky Mountain Classic with a 65-30 rout of Meade County.
The Bears were led in scoring by sophomore guard Tyler Cole with 14 points.  Alex Pace added 12, while Gabe Price and Elisha Smallwood contributed 11 each.

Meade (2-6) was led by Chris Armstead with five points.

The Bears got out to an early 16-7 lead behind Price’s seven points, a lead they would never give up.  HCHS outscored Meade 20-7 in the second period, extending their lead to 36-14 at halftime with Pace leading the way with six in the frame.  

The third quarter was much of the same with the Bears outscoring the Greenwave 21-8 with Cole leading the way with eight points.  With both team’s reserves in the game, HCHS and Meade played to an 8-8 tie in the final period.
The 8-2 Bears move to the semifinals and will face the winner of Villa Madonna-Glenwood, Alabama, game at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
Harlan County (65) — Alex Pace 12, Gabe Price 11, James Smith 5, Tyler Cole 14, Taylor Spurlock 4, Patrick Bynum 0, Josh Turner 4, Elisha Smallwood 11, Jackson Huff 2, Adam Boggs 2.  
Meade County (30) — Camron Nall 4, Chris Armstead 5, Chezney Weick 4, Peyton Cole 3, Brayden Blankenship 3, Chaney Weick 4, Kobe Nikolao 1, Parker Johnston 3, Mitchell Dozier 1, Cooper Crump 2.