The Corbin Redhounds will take on the Fleming County Panthers in the semifinal round of the Cumberland Falls Invitational after edging the Hilton Head Seahawks, 83-79 Monday night at Gilliam Gym.
Seniors Jordan Noble and Andrew Parks again led the Corbin offense with 27 and 17 points respectfully while Ryan Tate tossed in 16 points in the winning effort.
“I thought our overall effort was better,” said Corbin coach Tony Pietrowski. “We still had that one quarter that hurt us but our kids competed a whole lot better in the second half and a lot of kids stepped up tonight.”
“Cody Dixon, Ryan Swim and Ryan Tate probably played his best game of the season,” said Pietrowski. “Those kids have to have those type games to support Jordan and Andrew. It was good play by the whole team, I’m proud of the effort and it was good to get one on the W side.”
It was a tough one from the get-go as the Redhounds took on the undefeated (8-0) Hawks from Hilton Head, South Carolina. The Hawks had just won their own tournament, beating Louisville Manual in the final, 60-57.
A balanced team, the Hawks gave Corbin fits from all angles. But it was Corbin jumping out to the early lead. A free throw by Brad Lawson and one by Andrew Parks were the only two points scored in the first two minutes of the game. Noble then got in the lane for a basket to put the host ahead 4-0.
The early Corbin lead would reach 7-2 after a three pointer by Noble and the Redhounds would go to the bench at the end of the first quarter, 19-12.
Junior Ryan Swim came off the bench for five of his seven points.
Once the Seahawks got hot, it was a shooting clinic as the two teams combined for 50 second quarter points. Hilton Head scored 32 of those points, taking a 44-37 lead at the half.
Corbin (3-5) led by as much as nine (25-16) early in the second period but a 13-2 run over a two-minute period saw the Hawks come back to make a game of it.
Matt Palmer and Jamal Brooks sparked the second quarter run but three pointers by Tate and Noble kept the Redhounds close.
With the game tied at 33-33, the Hawks closed out the second period with a 11-4 run. Brooks nailed a three to give Hilton Head the lead before Parks went to the line and hit one of two.
A basket by Palmer pushed the Hawks in front, 38-34 before Tate unleashed a three pointer closing the game back to one. But a basket by Tim Szen and a three pointer by Brooks sent the visitors ahead at the half, 44-37.
Hilton Head grabbed the biggest lead in the game early in the third period when Palmer started the quarter with a pair of free throws. Josh Peters then added a basket as the Hawks led 48-37.
A quick Corbin timeout worked as Pietrowski told his team not to rush their shots. “I told them it was not a time to get impatient or have to rush. If they were going to be back in that zone we needed to attack it.”
“I thought we picked up our intensity on the defensive side of the ball,” said Pietrowski. “That’s where we were going to win the game.”
Sure enough to Pietrowski’s liking the Redhounds started clicking on both ends of the court and went on a 13-2 run. On the offensive side of the ball, junior Cody Dixon nailed a three pointer to get things going. Tate followed with six of the next eight Corbin points before Hilton Head took a timeout with 4:17, still on top, 50-48.
After Parks rejected a shot at the Hawks end of the court, Noble went inside for a basket, tying the score at 50-50.
Sam Lewis answered for the Seahawks before Dixon had back to back baskets including a three pointer to push the Redhounds ahead, 55-52.
Peters answered the challenge for the Hawks with back to back baskets but a Parks two-pointer sent the Redhounds to the bench with a 57-56 lead heading into the final quarter.
Corbin scored the first eight points of the quarter and took a 65-56 lead thanks to baskets by Tate, Josh Crawford, Noble and Swim.
The Redhounds enjoyed a nine point lead twice in the quarter with the last coming at 72-63 when Noble scored from close range.
Hilton Head refused to fold and fought back, tying the game at 72-all. Brooks completed the 9-0 run before Parks scored from close range.
Noble sent the Redhounds ahead 75-72 but Peters tied the game with a three pointer with two minutes remaining.
The Hawks grabbed a quick lead on a Palmer basket but Parks tied the contest with a pair of free throws. Parks sent Corbin back on top and a steal by Crawford allowed Noble to pick up the ball and go in for a lay-up (81-77).
Lewis pulled the Hawks back within two before a series of turnovers cost both teams an opportunity to win the game. Hilton Head missed two three point shots in the final seconds but Tate grabbed one of the misses and was fouled with 5.4 on the clock. He hit both free throws icing the win for Corbin.
“We were able to make that one big run in the game and from there we seem to settle down and play good basketball,” Pietrowski said.
“I thought we did a good job in the second half,” he added.
“2-5 is not the record we want but when you look at the competition we’ve played, the competition we have been up against, for our kids to come in and beat a team that is 8-0, it’s a big win for Corbin,” said Pietrowski.
The Fleming County Panthers are next up for the Redhounds. “Coach Messer does a really good job. He’s been under some great coaches in Bobby Keith and Mike Jones,” said Pietrowski. “He knows a lot about Corbin basketball, he’s been around the 13th region a lot. He will be prepared to play against us.”
“The thing we have to do is match their physical style of play and really concentrate on their point guard,” said Pietrowski. “He is a tremendous player.”
After losing two games in the Great Florida Shootout, Pietrowski said his team had some really good practices before leaving the state and set a goal to win the 2004 Cumberland Falls Invitational. Only one team, Dixie Heights has accomplished that feat, winning back to back titles in 2001 and 2002.
“How great of an accomplishment would it be to come in and win two (titles) in a row,” said Pietrowski. “I don’t think any Corbin team has ever done that. So that would be something to be really proud of.”
Hilton Head 12 32 12 23- 79
Corbin 19 18 20 26- 83
Hilton Head (79) – Lewis 3-11 0-1 6; Szen 10-13, 1-2 24; Palmer 4-6, 2-2 10; Brooks 6-15, 1-1 16; Peters 9-19 0-0 19; Chisolm 1-3 0-0 2; Costa 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 34-71, 4-6 79.
Corbin (83) – Lawson 2-3 1-2 5; Tate 6-9 2-2 16; Parks 6-9 5-9 17; Noble 11-23 3-4 27; Dixon 3-5 0-0 8; Crawford 1-3 1-4 3; Ware 0-0 0-0 0; Swim 3-3 1-1 7; Totals 32-55 13-22 83.
Three-point shooting: Hilton Head 7-24 (Szen 3-5, Brooks 3-9, Peters 1-8); Corbin 6-15 (Tate 2-4, Noble 2-7, Dixon 2-4); Rebounds: Hilton Head 29 (Palmer/Peters 6), Corbin 37 (Parks 12). Assists: Hilton Head 9 (Brooks 8), Corbin 8 (Tate 3). Turnovers: Hilton Head 20, Corbin 25.