The third time was not the charm for the Williamsburg Lady Yellow Jackets Monday night as they fell to the Corbin Lady Redhounds 65-37 in the first round of this year’s 50th District tournament, being played at Whitley County High School.
Corbin has had no trouble getting past Williamsburg this season, and Monday was no exception. With the win, the Lady Hounds improved to 15-12 on the year and advanced to Thursday night’s district championship game. They have also earned the right to play in this year’s 13th Region tournament, which will take place next week at the Corbin Arena.
Of the win, Lady Hounds Head Coach Jason McDaniel said, “We’ve been preaching focus and intensity, as well as being able to accept physical play and play physically ourselves. We did those things tonight. Williamsburg does a great job on the offensive glass. They have two or three bigs that can run in there and crash the boards, and that is what we prepared for. In our previous two games they hit us pretty hard on that offensive glass, so tonight we got physical, got in the right position, and we were able to block them out and pull down some rebounds.”
“It was a team effort across the board,” McDaniel continued. “I was really pleased with our overall effort tonight, and now we’ve punched our ticket to the regional tournament. After the adversity that we’ve dealt with this year, that just shows you the resiliency and the character of these girls. We are on to the region, but we also want to win that fourth consecutive district championship.”
As for who the Hounds will face in this year’s district title game, see the “Tuesday Night Highlights” story on the front page for results from the contest between Whitley County versus South Laurel. The girls’ 50th District championship is scheduled to take place at WCHS this Thursday, February 25, with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m.
Speaking about the Lady Jackets’ season-ending loss, Williamsburg Head Coach Amanda Vermillion said, “I had too many that took the night off. I had too many that were in their own little world somewhere else, and we weren’t deep enough to play who we needed to play in order to be successful. It’s hard to win ball games when you have freshmen and sophomores taking the night off while eighth graders are the ones stepping up.”
“As for the year, we have improved a lot,” Vermillion added. “We’ve done a lot of things that needed to be done here, and we’ve been successful in several areas. It stinks that our record is 6-20, but so many things could happen next year. This year is over with and done. There are things that I probably should have done differently, but we experimented a lot with different lineups, and in the end it just didn’t click for us.”
Vermillion continued, saying, “I have a fantastic group of girls, and I’m just hoping and praying that they will want to go at it full speed and whole-heartedly moving forward. If we do that, then we could be a phenomenal basketball team. It is disheartening that I didn’t get what I wanted out of all of my players tonight, but I’m still proud of this team. We have some fire about us now, and we’re not going to give up.”
Vermillion will graduate no seniors between now and next season, and she is looking forward to the return of both Tori Lester and Fhazaneh Jackson next year. Both of those players were sidelined this winter with injuries, and they should help the Lady Jackets tremendously when they return to the court for the 2016-17 season.
Corbin 65, Williamsburg 37
Corbin – 22 9 15 19 – 65
W’burg – 11 4 11 11 – 35
CHS – Jaclyn Jewell 16, Candice Gulley 11, Tori Baker 10, Morgan Philpot 10, Sarah Beth Price 7, Kameryn Ashurst 6, Jadyn Robertson 4, Madison McDaniel 1
WB – Sydney Tye 10, Madison Centers 7, Madison Chapman 6, Kayla Gibson 5, Lillie Hall 3, Lillie Abbott 2, Kelsey Tye 2
In the late game Monday, the South Laurel Cardinals once again dominated the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets, ending the Jackets 2015-16 campaign with an overall record of 3-17.
After the game, Williamsburg Head Coach Patrick Robinson said, “South Laurel has a really nice team, and you have to give them a lot of credit. I thought our guys battled, but we were just up against a really, really good team that features a lot of size and strength. It was a good experience for us, though. We got a lot of good experience in this season, a lot of playing time, so I’m looking forward to trying to get better and build for the future.”
Speaking specifically about the future of this young Yellow Jackets team, Robinson said, “We’re not playing scared anymore, and we’re beginning to play with some toughness and grit. We’re learning how to maneuver through a tough ball game and a tough season, and now we’re going to do everything that we can to improve every day and try to get back on top.”
In terms of individual efforts, Robinson pointed out sophomore Tanner Boggs as one player that Williamsburg will really be relying on moving forward. Boggs finished the 2015-16 season as the team’s leading scorer, with eighth grader Dalton Ponder coming in at a distant second.
South Laurel 67, Williamsburg 38
S Laurel – 22 21 17 7 – 67
W’burg – 6 13 10 9 – 38
SL – Jared Grubb 16, Caleb Taylor 15, JJ Ramey 9, Braden Miller 7, Andrew Griffith 6, Blake Phelps 5, Ryan Anders 4, Keenan Hernandez 2, Zach Feltner 2, Chase Carson 1
WB – Tanner Boggs 21, Dalton Ponder 9, Hagen Hawn 2, Stohn Hunter 2, Caleb Rose 2, Hunter Brown 2