The Corbin Redhounds are moving on to the 13th Region tournament.
The Redhounds earned their spot on Saturday with a 90-68 victory over Whitley County in the first round of the 50th District Tournament.
Josh Hibbits led the way for Corbin with 26 points, while Dakota Patterson and Hayden Llewellyn each chipped in 22 points.
The victory, along with South Laurel’s 80-71 win over Williamsburg, set up Monday night’s 50th District Championship Game.
The Redhounds went back and forth with the Cardinals over 32 minutes before South Laurel pulled out the 59-55 victory.
Carter Stewart had 19 points to lead Corbin. Llewellyn added 14 points, while Hibbits and Brody Wells each added 10.
However, Hibbits was limited by early foul trouble, and both he and Wells fouled out of the game within the final minutes with Corbin attempting to tie the game.
“It was a physical game, and thought we played really well against this team,” said Coach Tony Pietrowski. “We handled that physicality. We got good looks.”
Hibbits picked up his second foul midway through the first quarter.
However, the Redhounds didn’t miss a beat as Wells came up with two big shots and a steal to help Corbin end the first quarter with a 19-13 lead.
The two teams kept things close, but South Laurel opened things up midway through the second quarter, going on an 18-3 run en route to 33-26 halftime lead.
Corbin was outscored 20-7 in the quarter.
The Cardinals continued to extend the lead early in the second half, going up by nine.
The Redhounds appeared to suffer another blow as Hibbits went down on the court with a knee injury.
However, after several moments, he was back up and walking around, and returned to the game.
Led by a couple of baskets by Stewart, the Redhounds went on an 8-2 run, closing the gap to one point, 37-36.
Llewellyn and Wells hit back-to-back baskets and Corbin led, 40-37 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Redhounds continued the run, stretching the lead to seven.
South hit one last shot, cutting the lead to 46-41 at the end of the third quarter.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Hibbits picked up his fourth foul, but remained in the game.
A three-pointer by Patterson and a big dunk by Wells extended Corbin’s lead back to seven with about six minutes remaining, but South Laurel mounted another comeback to tie the game with four minutes remaining.
The teams exchanged baskets and the Cardinals led, 55-53 with 1:45 remaining and possession of the ball.
At that point, South Laurel went the four-corners, forcing Corbin to open up its defense in attempt to pressure the ball.
Parker Payne found a seam in the Redhounds’ defense and scored the easy layup.
Corbin quickly answered to cut the lead to 57-55, but with time winding down, the Cardinals hit several foul shots.
Payne added a late basket on a steal to put the game out of reach with 11 seconds remaining.
“We turned it over way too much,” Pietrowski said. “We just had way too many turnovers.”
“We just needed to make more plays,” he said noting that the foul trouble Hibbits and Wells got into made things even tougher.
While the Redhounds didn’t bring home the district championship, playing the game marks the 17th consecutive time that Pietrowski’s squad has reached the championship game.
Pietrowski said it is very easy for the district runner-up to pack it in at the regional tournament.
Even though the Redhounds are a young team with Hibbits and Isaac Mcvay being the only seniors, Pietrowski said he will be challenging his team not to fall into that trap and be prepared no matter which of the four district champions Corbin draws as an opponent in the opening round of the 13th Region.
“We are still as good as anybody in our region,” Pietrowski said noting Corbin was in a position to win Monday night. “This young team will grow from it.”