Corbin will meet the Shelby Valley Lady ‘Cats in the first-round of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA State Basketball Tournament Wednesday at 8 p.m.
“From what I have gathered they are similar to the teams that we have played recently,” Corbin Coach Jennifer Parsons said. “They have three girls that are just a point or two a part in scoring which is similar to us. They have excellent three-point shooting and they like to drive and penetrate. They remind me in that respect of Whitley County in that they run a dribble drive offense. They like to drive and kick the ball out for a three which is similar to Whitley County and Bell County which is the type teams we have played lately.”
Senior Brianna Fraley is the Lady ‘Cats top scorer on the season with an 11.9 average. Sophomore Taylor Rowe is averaging 11.8 points per game and is the team’s top scorer from outside, hitting 81 three-pointers this season. Freshman Lakyn Mullins is hitting on 10.0 points a game while junior Rachel Smith is near double figures with 9.8 points per game.
“They also have the post play that is scrappy inside,” Parsons said. “So, it’s going to be a good match-up for us.”
Mullins and Fraley are the two leading rebounders. Mullins has 222 for a 6.9 average while Fraley has 213 for a 6.6 average on the boards.
Shelby Valley is making their second trip to the Sweet Sixteen. The Lady ‘Cats appeared in the 2000 state tournament, losing to Shelby County, 53-51 in the first-round.
Corbin averaged 58.1 points per game and allowed 48 points per game in compiling a 27-8 record. “We lost four of those games in the first two weeks of the season,” Parsons said. Since returning from the KSA Tournament in Florida the Lady Redhounds are 17-2.
Shelby Valley is 28-4 on the season and has won six straight since a 54-37 loss to Letcher Central. The Lady ‘Cats are also 17-2 since December.
“Hopefully it will be to our advantage that they are not an experienced state tournament team that we are both going into unknown territory,” Parsons said. “Maybe if we both have the nerves we can overcome it together, but I know Coach (Rodney) Rowe for them has taken a boys’ team to the state tournament at Shelby Valley. He will have that experience himself as a coach were I will not.”
“It comes down to staying focused. We have had a lot of support. A lot of community action going on with us which has been outstanding, but it will our job as coaches to get us back down to where we can be ready for Wednesday night’s game,” Parsons said.
“We are going a day earlier and I think that will help,” Parsons said. “We are going down to see a little of that first session so that they are not going in at our game time and being awe of what’s happening.
Shelby Valley played one team in this year’s 16-team field. The Lady ‘Cats beat Letcher Central in the WYMT Classic, 57-53 on a neutral court, but lost to the Lady Cougars in Whitesburg.
Corbin played Madison Central in the Berea Lady Pirate Holiday Classic and lost to the Lady Indians, 40-37. They were scheduled to play Lincoln County, but the game was cancelled.
Be seeing the early games it will let them know a little more of what to expect. Of course, I anticipate the nerves, I think I will have them just as much.”
“When that ball goes up in the air it’s game time,” Parsons said. “Hopefully we can use the pregame and warm-ups to get the jitters out.”
Parsons hopes having a deep bench will help the Lady Redhounds in the long run. “It looks like Shelby Valley plays about seven players, so I am hoping with us playing nine or ten players that will help us,” Parsons said.
“But, you are not going to be there (state) and not be a good team,” she said. “They are a good team, we just have to play to the best that we know how and whatever happens, happens. We’re going to be satisfied with that as long as we are playing the best that we kind.”