High school basketball fans in Whitley County will have at least one more week of local basketball as the Corbin Redhounds and Whitley County Lady Colonels both qualified for the 13th Region Tournament with their respective wins in the first round of the 50th District Tournament on Saturday.
Coach Tony Pietrowski preached patience at the beginning of the season as sophomore Hayden Llewellyn appeared to be the one constant on the Redhounds’ squad.
“This group continues to put in the work in practice and shows improvement, literally daily,” Pietrowski said as Corbin had opened the season with a 2-3 record noting that the experience gained throughout the season would mean a different squad on the floor.
Fast forward to Saturday’s game against Whitley County in the district tournament and it was exactly as Pietrowski said.
Corbin put up 90 points as Josh Hibbits led the Redhounds with 26 points in what was the team’s 10th straight win dating back to Feb. 10.
North Laurel will remain the elephant in the room in the 13th Region.
The Jaguars were undefeated locally with their two losses coming to Ashland Blazer and Lexington Catholic, finishing the season 21-2.
For comparisson’s sake, one local media member, who has seen the North Laurel team play on multiple occasions, said it is better than the South Laurel team from 2004/05 that won the state championship.
However, the Redhounds have shown they can play with the Jaguars, going to London on Feb. 5 and hanging with the North Laurel before losing 98-90.
At the time, Pietrowski noted that his team remained focused, taking the loss, which was one of three in a row, in stride and preparing for the next game.
Can they take Monday’s heartbreaker against South Laurel in stride and be ready to play one of the four district winners?
Whitley County Lady Colonels’ Coach Sean Pigman’s squad played a textbook game in taking down host Williamsburg, 71-43.
Whitley County brought the defensive pressure from the tipoff, which has been a staple of the Lady Colonels throughout the season.
Pigman noted that style is possible because the players have all bought into it.
“We do a lot of talking about Colonel Pride,” Pigman said noting that the players are playing for the name on the front of the jersey as opposed to the back.
There are numerous examples of what a team can accomplish in the post season when an entire team subscribes to that as opposed to individual players being worried about their own stats.
The 16 teams that will compete next week for the 13th Region titles (eight boys and eight girls), will learn their respective roads on Saturday when the bracket draws occur.
As of Tuesday morning, South Laurel, Corbin and Clay County had punched their tickets to The Arena.
On the girls’ side, Whitley County, South Laurel, Clay County, Knox Central, Pineville, Bell County and Harlan County have earned spots.
Corbin has become a better all-around team with Josh Hibbits, Dakota Patterson, Carter Stewart and Brody Wells stepping up and becoming viable weapons.
From game to game, a different one or two, or more may prove to be the difference makers.
With the loss to South Laurel on Monday, Corbin must be prepared to face one of the district champions.
Whitley County is like the Energizer Bunny. The players just keep going and going … at both ends of the court.
There are times when anything they throw at the basket seems to go in. Then there are stretches where they can’t buy a basket.
Both teams are both capable of making some noise in the 13th Region.
The competition is about to be kicked up a notch. Will the Redhounds and/or Lady Colonels respond?