It was the renewal of a great series, the Corbin Lady Redhounds and the Whitley County Lady Colonels. However, injuries continued to plaque this game. In the district tournament last season Jamie Bonza went down to a knee injury in the second quarter with Corbin leading and Whitley County rallied to win the game.
Friday night sophomore Stephanie McCullah missed the game after being injured in Thursday’s contest against Lynn Camp. Junior Stacey Perkins was nursing an injured ankle then, early in the first quarter, starting guard Puddie Hibbs went down with an ankle injury.
Still it was a classic contest as Corbin took an early lead, lost it, then rallied in the final quarter to win 30-25 in one of the lowest scoring games between the two teams.
“We played that team with basically three starters out,” said Whitley County coach Larry Anderson. “These kids worked their hearts out tonight. We got down at the end and couldn’t finish up against the zone. We didn’t do a good job attacking it.”
“These kids won this game tonight in their hearts,” Anderson said. “They showed me something I have not seen in this basketball team all season. The emotion was there, the intensity was there and that’s what I’ve been wanting to see. It doesn’t matter to me what the score was, I saw something in this team that I have not seen in two years.”
“We had them on the ropes and should have won the game,” Anderson said.
Indeed the Lady Colonels had Corbin on the ropes in the second half and led 25-23 with five minutes remaining.
The Lady Redhounds took an early 6-0 lead behind the scoring of Katie Akins and senior Jamie Bonza. Corbin led at the end of the first quarter 11-6. In the low scoring second quarter Whitley County outscored Corbin 4-2 and went into the half down 13-10.
It was Whitley County who came out hot from the field in the third quarter, hitting their first three shots and taking a 16-13 lead on baskets by Stacey Perkins and Kayla Haynes.
Corbin coach Jennifer Parsons could only watch as her offensive minded (first in the district in scoring) fire up blanks. Before Mikkah Rogers hit a three-pointer, Samantha Daugherty hit a three pointer that put Whitley County ahead, 19-13.
The Lady Colonels (8-6) led by six times on two more occasions before an Akins basket cut the lead to 23-19 at the end of three.
Akins hit the first basket of the fourth quarter, pulling the Lady Redhounds within a basket and the intensity in the game stepped up another level.
After a quick timeout by Anderson, Haynes pushed the lead back out to four (25-21) but that would be the last points of the game for Whitley County.
A Rogers basket pulled Corbin within two then senior Morgan Barley hit a pair of free throws with 4:13 and the game was tied at 25-all.
A Christina Sutton jumper put Corbin on top late in the game then a Akins basket gave the Redhounds a four point lead with a minute left in the contest.
Corbin could have extended their lead even more, but hit only one of six from the line in the final :37 seconds.
“We missed a lot of easy shots around the basket,” said Anderson. “We had a lot of nice looks, but just didn’t finish up.”
Anderson praised the play of eighth grader, Kayla Osborne. “Kayla is going to be one of the better point guards we have had,” said Anderson. “We knew that a long time ago. She is a natural up there, she handles the ball very well right or left.”
Parsons praised her team for handling the emotion of a big district game. “I think emotionally we were out of the games a couple of times. We were having a hard time executing our offenses. We were timid on offense at times.”
“I think it was obvious that we had not played in nine days,” said Parsons. “We were a little out of sync a couple of times.”
“Whitley made a run at us and we didn’t fold,” said Parsons. “With the intensity of the game and crowd I was glad we were able to pull out the win. It was tournament atmosphere.”
“Even with Whitley without a couple of their girls, it will be a different look when we meet them again in tournament play,” said Parsons. “I think it was good for us to come down here and beat them on their floor even without a couple of their players.”
“We didn’t get mentally ready for this game until the third quarter,” said Parsons. “I think Whitley County is definitely a second half team. They play around with teams in the first and second quarter, then turn it on. They came out in the third quarter and really took it to us.”
“We could have folded at that point,” said Parsons. “Out of the time-out, I told the girls they were beating us mentally.”
“I think we came out of that time-out mentally ready to go,” said Parsons.
The Lady Colonels will take on Rockcastle County on the road Thursday night before meeting Monticello in the Wayne County Classic Saturday.
Corbin 11 2 6 11- 30
Whitley Co. 6 4 13 2- 25
Corbin (30) – Bonza 2, Rogers 5, Clouse 4, Sutton 4, Barley 7, Akins 8.
Whitley County (25) – Daugherty 7, Perkins 6, Haynes 6, Jones 6.