The Corbin Redhounds jumped out to a 16-2 lead and never looked back Friday night in beating arch-rival Whitley County, 87-42 in its season opener. Three players scored in double figures led by freshman Josh Crawford with 26 points.
“Corbin is a very good basketball team,” said Whitley County coach Darrell Guffey. “I think everybody saw that tonight. They have two of the better players in the region. Crawford is one of the best players in the region, Swim has really improved and they have some others who have really improved.”
“I think our inexperience really showed and shined,” said Guffey. “Our kids have not played in this type of environment very much and it’s one of the reasons I chose to seed the district and play everybody twice so that we would get six basketball games with this type of environment. If Whitley County is going to take that next step up in building this program, we’ve got to play these type teams in this type of environment.”
“We are not going to shy away from anybody, we’re going to play everybody,” he said. “As matter of fact, it doesn’t get any easier.”
Things got a little rough on the Colonels (1-1) right off the bat as Corbin scored the first ten points of the ballgame. Crawford opened the game with a basket and senior Kyle French followed with a three-point play. Crawford went back to the line for a pair of free throws then a steal and lay-up at midcourt by French pushed the Redhounds ahead 9-0.
Crawford made it 10-0 at the free throw line before 8th grader Jamie Lebanion got the Colonels on the scoreboard with exactly six minutes remaining with a pair of free throws,
That would be the only two points for another two minutes for the Colonels as Crawford and French combined for six points and a 16-2 lead when Guffey took a time-out with 4:12 in the quarter.
The first basket of the game came at the 3:48 mark when Jacob Lowrie scored two points in the paint.
The Redhounds added nine more points and led 25-4 before Lebanion had an opportunity for a three-point play. However, he missed the free throw with 1:07 left and the Colonels down 25-6.
While Guffey wasn’t the most pleased person in the gym, Corbin’s Tony Pietrowski was pleased with his team’s play. “I thought we came out with a lot of intensity, the kids carried a lot of things over from practice that we have been working on.”
“It’s a sign kids are coachable and doing some things that we are asking them to do,” said Pietrowski. “The effort was excellent.”
“I thought the first two quarters we played extremely hard,” said Pietrowski. “We did make a few mistakes but you can’t get too discouraged when your kids are giving the effort that mine did tonight.”
The Colonels picked up the scoring pace in the second quarter but were still outscored by the Redhounds 19-12 and trailed at the half, 48-18.
Senior Ryan Tate and sophomore Deke Barley carried the scoring load in the third period with five points each as Corbin took a 65-26 lead at the end of three.
“We’re trying to get this thing going the right way,” said Guffey. “Our kids are just so young, I think they were shell-shocked from the get-go. We just didn’t compete the way we have in practice. I thought we were a step slow and a little sluggish.”
“We’re playing for March and not December,” said Guffey. “I think we will see some things turn around on in the season.”
Corbin was led by Crawford’s 26 points followed by French with 15 points and Swim with 13 points. “French has done really good in practice and is a good weapon,” said Pietrowski. “I like the fact that he can step in and post up for you or handle the ball on the floor.”
“He’s got to be a rebounder for us this year,” added Pietrowski. “I thought he did a good job tonight, he has to be that second or third rebounder behind Swim.”
Corbin 87, Whitley Co. 42
Whitley Co. 6 12 8 16-42
Corbin 29 19 17 22-87
Whitley Co. (42) – Roaden 7, Reynolds 2, McCumbers 6, Jones 6, Teague 4, Lebanion 9, Lowrie 5, Prewitt 3.
Corbin (87) – Hamlin 6, Tate 7, French 15, Crawford 26, Swim 13, Barley 9, Smith 6, Logan 2, Cashen 3.