By John Stepp / For The Times Tribune
As the old saying goes, the third time’s a charm, and that certainly rang true Friday night when the Corbin Lady Hounds defeated the Whitley County Lady Colonels 65-57 in the clash of 50th District rivals.
The Lady Colonels were able to win the first two meetings between the teams — 65-57 in the Berea Holiday Classic and 75-59 at home. Now, the teams are sitting with one-loss each in district play.
“In the Berea tournament, it was basically three games in 36 hours and we didn’t have any prep time. Down at Whitley they kicked us pretty good — bottom line,” said Corbin Coach Jason McDaniel. “This was a district seed game and the girls executed the game plan really well. They made crucial plays all throughout the game.”
The Lady Hounds used a trio of scorers in the game that carried them to the win. Miranda Wilson led Corbin with 20 points on the night. Sara Ashley finished with 17 points, Kayla Wilson added 13.
In addition to leading the Lady Hounds in scoring, it was also Miranda Wilson’s free throw shooting that sealed the game down the stretch. Wilson stepped to the charity stripe 12 times during the final quarter and knocked down all 12 free throws.
“I kept telling Miranda it’s going to come back to her. She is such a bulldog out there. She loves the moments when the pressure is going to come to her and she needs to make a shot,” said McDaniel. “She stepped up there and got fouled and she ended up 12-of-12 from the free throw line. That helped seal the game.”
Corbin looked to be in control of the game early on. Ashley managed to score nine of her 17 points in the opening quarter, helping the Lady Hounds to a 20-19 lead after one. Brooklyn Ashurst and Kayla Wilson each added four points in the first.
The second quarter saw Whitley County begin to take over the game. Corbin was only able to connect on three field goals during the quarter, all three-pointers, and outscored 15-9 by the Lady Colonels. Maria Johnson led Whitley County with seven points in the quarter, as the Lady Colonels took a 34-29 advantage into halftime.
“It could go either way any time we play Corbin right now,” said Whitley County Coach Donnie Jones. “I didn’t feel like we put forth our best effort, but Corbin had a lot to do with that tonight.”
The Corbin defense really stepped up in the third quarter. The Lady Hounds were able to fight back and take a 38-36 lead with just under six minutes left in the third. A free throw by Whitley County’s Kandace Craig made the score 38-37, but that would be the last point scored by the Lady Colonels in the final five minutes of the third period.
A huge three-point basket by Corbin’s Jaclyn Jewell gave the Lady Hounds a 41-37 lead and the game never got any closer than that.
“(Corbin) played well tonight. They shot the ball well and they played us well defensively. They just outplayed us tonight,” said Jones. “They played harder and we didn’t play with energy. They took advantage of that. We didn’t match the intensity and that was the outcome of the game.”
The Lady Colonels would go on a scoring barrage in the final quarter. Senior guard Brandi Smith scored 12 of her game-high 26 points in the quarter, but nearly perfect free-throw shooting by the Lady Hounds would squash any chance at a comeback. Wilson knocked down all 12 of her free throws in the quarter and Ashley connected on four-of-six.
With the win, Corbin improves to 18-7 on the season. They will take on Harlan County next Friday. The Lady Colonels now hold a record of 19-5 and will play host to Williamsburg on Monday.
Corbin 65, Whitley County 57
Corbin 20 9 14 22—65
Whitley Co. 19 15 3 20—57
Corbin (65) — Miranda Wilson 20, Ashley 17, Kayla Wilson 13, Ashurst 7, Jewell 6, Natayle Gallagher 2.
Whitley County (57) — Smith 26, Kandace Craig 9, Johnson 8, Taylor Dingess 5, Hallie Jones 4, Abby Estes 3, Savanna Sizemore 2.