By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
WHITLEY COUNTY — The losing streak is finally over.
Before Friday night, the Whitley County Colonels had lost to the Corbin Redhounds for 19 straight seasons, dating back to 1994-1995. But, the 35-game losing streak ended when the Colonels defeated the Redhounds 61-50 in their first meeting of 2014.
It was not only Whitley County’s first win over Corbin in 19 years, but just the fourth time they have won the game since 1988, when the Colonels defeated the Redhounds twice that season.
It was a huge milestone for Whitley County Head Coach Jerry Overbey, who is in his third season as the Colonels’ coach.
“It was a big win for us. It’s saying something about where the kids are at right now. They’ve been working hard since August and it is paying off,” said Overbey. “It’s a confidence builder for us. It’s a program builder for us, too. We’re working toward that first seed in the district tonight.”
The first seed in the 50th District is now wide open. Whitley defeated Corbin, but lost to South Laurel, while Corbin beat South Laurel. Redhounds’ Coach Tony Pietrowski said with the loss, it’s anybody’s seed to take.
“I felt like if we could come in here and get the win tonight, that would put us in the driver’s seat for the first seed,” said Pietrowski. “Now, the district is wide open. We can still control our own destiny, but we have to win games to do that.”
Whitley County was the underdog coming into Friday night’s game, but I don’t think they got the memo. The Colonels looked great from the start of the game, playing with incredible intensity on both ends of the floor.
After falling down 7-3 in the first quarter, the Colonels went on a 10-2 run to finish the quarter and take a 13-9 lead into the second quarter. Both teams struggled on the offensive end during the second quarter, but Whitley County was able to hold onto a 22-19 lead heading into the half.
“First of all, hats off to Whitley County tonight. They deserved this win. They outplayed us for the entire game,” said Pietrowski. “A couple of things that stick out are that I didn’t think we were focused and ready to play early. Then, we just missed a lot of shots. You got to put points on the board in order to win games.”
There still weren’t many points being put on the board in the third quarter, as each team’s defense tightened up. Whitley County 8th grader Corey Johnson scored six points for the Colonels in the quarter, but it was a three-point basket by sophomore Luke Woods as time expired, that gave Whitley County the momentum they needed heading into the final period, up 38-32.
“That three that Luke (Woods) hit was a momentum pusher. It carried us into the fourth quarter with a six-point lead and helped us play the type of defense we wanted to play,” said Overbey. “That gave us a little cushion and put us where we needed to be.”
Corbin tried to fight back in the fourth quarter, but struggling at the free throw line hindered the Redhounds’ opportunities. Corbin missed six free throws during the last three minutes of the game, while the Colonels were 11-15 from the charity stripe in the fourth.
“I thought we had some good attempts early in the game, but couldn’t finish at the rim,” said Pietrowski. “Couple that with missed free throws at the end of the game, and you aren’t going to win many games like that. Whitley County out-executed us tonight and that was the difference in the game.”
The Redhounds were without one starter in the game in junior Trevor Browning, who did not make the trip due to family illness.
The Colonels were led by Johnson with 15 points. James Sasko had 12 points and Levi Barton and Casey Crisologo finished with 11 apiece.
Corbin 8th grader Andrew Taylor scored 12 points to lead the Redhounds.
Whitley County 61, Corbin 50
Whitley Co. 13 9 16 23 – 61
Corbin 9 10 13 18 – 50
Corbin (50) – Taylor 12, Goins 8, Maguet 8, Shelton 6, Waddle 6, Garrison 4, Hopper 4, Hopkins 2.
Whitley County (61) – Johnson 15, Sasko 12, Barton 11, Crisologo 11, Woods 9, Petrey 3.