By Dan Connell / Staff Writer
WILLIAMSBURG — The highly anticipated girls' 50th District shoot out between Corbin and Whitley County took place Friday night.
Donnie Jones' squad had captured the Berea Holiday Classic in December by defeating Corbin, 65-57 in the championship game.
When the smoke cleared Friday, the Whitley County Lady Colonels came away with a 75-59 win, which keeps them undefeated in district competition. Jones and his staff were all smiles afterward. Jones commented on the Whitley County's effort on Friday night.
“Anytime it's a district game and it's us and Corbin, it's a big atmosphere,” Jones said. “We always respond and play pretty well. I thought in the second half we played a little more defensively, and we made it hard at times for them to score. We were able to stretch a little lead out there and just hang on.”
Whitley County came out the aggressor in the first quarter as Kandace Craig scored two baskets early to give the Lady Colonels a 4-0 lead and perhaps the acceleration they would need to build momentum early in the contest.
Whitley County's size and post presence were effective in stopping the penetration of Corbin's guards who often struggled to find ways to score underneath the basket. Craig came up with big rebounds on both ends of the floor and the Lady Colonels also found Brandi Smith who scored seven to end the first quarter as Whitley County held a 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Corbin fought back with a Melanie Wilson layup, which gave Corbin its first lead of the contest at 25-24 with just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Lady Colonel guards Abbey Estes and Brandi Smith connected from three-point territory to help keep the Whitley County offense in motion. Corbin's Miranda Wilson and Sarah Ashley led the second-quarter comeback for the Lady Redhounds from the outside and from the paint. Corbin held a slim 33-32 lead at halftime.
Abbey Estes' three-point basket broke a 38-38 tie in the third quarter and the Lady Colonel offense received the spark it needed. A Kandace Craig rebound and kick out to Smith for three pushed the lead up to 44-38. The lead and offense continued for Whitley as a pair of Taylor Dingess free throws extended the lead to 51-43. Whitley County was able to break the full court pressure of Corbin and execute in transition. Defensively, the Lady Colonels continued to stop the Corbin penetration and rebound off the missed Corbin attempts.
“Kandace has learned to stay on her feet and keep her hands up and stay out of foul trouble,” Jones said. “She's been a force in there all year long, but many times she would play a half a game because she would be in foul trouble.”
The night belonged to Whitley County as four Lady Colonels finished in the double figure scoring column led by Kandace Craig's 24 points and by Brandi Smith's 23. Miranda Wilson led the Lady Redhounds on the evening with 13 points.
“Whitley's half court offense execution was excellent,” Corbin coach Jason McDaniel said. “We kind of got away from ourselves and some of the principles that we've worked on and I thought Whitley did a really good job of exposing that.”
The loss drops Corbin to 14-5 on the season. Both teams will play at Corbin on Feb. 7th.
Whitley County 75, Corbin 59
Corbin 10 23 12 14 – 59
Whitley Co. 19 13 21 22 – 75
Corbin (59) – Mi. Wilson 13, Ashley 12, K. Wilson 9, Me. Wilson 8, Jewell 8, B. Ashurst 5, Gallagher 4
Whitley County (75) – Craig 24, Smith 23, Dingess 10, Estes 10, Hickey 3, Sizemore 2, Jones 2, Johnson 1
By Dan Connell / Staff Writer
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