Last Thursday, the Hazard Bulldogs took on the Harlan County Black Bears in the championship game of the Hyden Bank Christmas Classic. The game went back and forth throughout, with Harlan County pulling out a last minute win.
The game got off to a slow start as neither team could find their range. At the midway point of the first period, Harlan County was up 5-4. Hazard finally managed to get on track, and finished the opening period with the 10-9 lead.
The pace picked up in the second period, with the game being tied at 18 midway through. The final half of the period belonged to the Black Bears, sending them to the locker room leading 28-24.
Hazard spent the better part of the third quarter working their way back into the game, and with 3:00 remaining in the frame, the Bulldogs took the 36-35 advantage. They would then finish the period with the 40-36 lead.
Harlan County would tie the game at 42 early in the fourth quarter, and from that point on, neither team would get more than a one possession lead. Hazard’s final lead (49-48) came with 45 seconds remaining. Down the stretch, the Black Bears were able to hit their free throws, while the Bulldogs came up short, giving Harlan County the 52-49 win, and the title.
Hazard (49) Wade Pelfrey 10, Ryan Smith 11, Cheikh Ndiaye 7, Chase Pennington 5, Jacob Johnson 12 and Reece Fletcher 4.
Tony McGuire can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org