By Les Dixon for the Times-Tribune
CORBIN — Trailing 61-59 with nine seconds remaining with Nate Cole at the free-throw-line and a chance to cut his team’s deficit to one point, coach Brian Evans went with a plan that came up just short.
Cole missed his second free-throw attempt on purpose, but the Panthers couldn’t come up with the rebound, and seconds later Corbin’s Trevor Browning was fouled with a chance to wrap-up another Redhounds win.
He did just that by hitting both free-throw attempts, securing a 63-59 win for Corbin, while putting the Redhounds in today’s Cumberland Falls Invitational title game against 13th Region foe Jackson County at 9 p.m.
The two teams tipped off their respective seasons against each other close to a month ago with Corbin pulling off a slim, 75-73, win thanks to a buzzer-beater by eighth-grader Andrew Taylor.
Corbin coach Tony Pietrowski expects another nail-biter during today’s second contest between the two teams.
“Jackson County is playing really well right now,” he said. “I haven’t seen Clay County play in a while, but I’d be hard-pressed not to put Jackson County as the top team in the region right now.”
With that said, Corbin isn’t too far behind.
The Redhounds (7-4) continue to silence the critics by knocking off another one of the region’s top teams. Corbin continues to play well thanks to solid shooting.
Pietrowski’s squad connected on 22-of-43 shot attempts (51 percent) for the game.
The Redhounds also managed to get the win with leading scorer Kevin Goins logging only 17 minutes of play because of foul trouble.
“This wasn’t Kevin Goins’ best game, and we needed someone to step up with him on the bench with foul trouble.”
Corbin got just that, as Browning and Taylor each scored 18 points apiece to help guide their team over Knox Central. Browning also finished the game with 11 rebounds.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Pietrowski said. “We executed our game plan, and played within ourselves. This was truly a team win tonight.
“We knew we needed other kids to step up and we were able to get that," Pietrowski added. "The big key is that we stayed within ourselves.”
The game was nip-and-tuck throughout with the Redhounds holding on to a slim 19-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Corbin managed to take a 42-34 lead into halftime before seeing Knox Central (5-6) make a valiant comeback attempt in the second half.
“Our undoing was the first half,” Panther coach Brian Evans said. “We just didn’t play well in the first half. We had too much to overcome.
“Give credit to Corbin, though,” he added. “They are a good team, and they are very good on offense. They played great in the first half.”
Despite the loss, Evans said he continues to see signs of improvement.
“We are learning,” he said. “Hopefully we learned some lessons tonight. We didn’t defend at times in the first half, and didn’t execute on offense at times in the first half. If we could have done those two things, like we did in the second half, who knows?”
Knox Central was led in scoring by Matthew Barger, who turned in a 23-point scoring effort while Chad Marsee scored 14 points and finished with nine rebounds.
The Redhounds outrebounded the Panthers, 30-22, and also forced Knox Central into 12 turnovers while only committing six in the game.
“We’ve got to be ready for Jackson County,” Pietrowski said. “They are going to be looking out for revenge.”
Corbin 63, Knox Central 59
Corbin 19 23 6 15—63
Knox Cent. 16 18 8 17—59
Corbin (63) — Goins 9, Waddle 6, Taylor 18, Shelton 1, Browning 18, Maguet 5, Hokpins 4, Rice 2.
Knox Central (59) — Marsee 14, Cole 11, Adams 3, Barger 23, Hensley 7, Wyatt 1.