By Dan Connell
WHITLEY COUNTY — It's no secret that Donnie Jones and his Lady Colonels are setting their sights on both district and region crowns this season, but Lynn Camp (14-2) might be the 13th Region's biggest attention grabber in terms of wins and losses.
The Lady Cats hold an impressive overall record, which includes two early season tournament championships, but Whitley County continues to shine against some of the region's best teams with victories over Corbin and Harlan.
Whitley County came away with a 50-40 win over Lynn Camp on Thursday night at home, improving them to 15-4 on the season. Lady Colonel head coach Donnie Jones commented on the game afterward.
“I thought we came out a little sluggish,” Jones said. “It was because of their 2-3 zone, they played it well and we weren't shooting it particularly well from the outside.
“They just took it to us and we had our hands full with their big kids,” he added. “We kept them around the game and they just kept playing harder and harder.”
Whitley County began the game by going to their senior stars Brandi Smith and Kandace Craig, who ignited the Lady Colonel offense in the opening minutes, each scoring on the opening two possessions of the game against Lynn Camp's zone. Whitley County also created several defensive stops as the full court pressure resulted in several Lynn Camp turnovers, helping to slow the Lady Wildcat offense down throughout the period. The Lady Colonels led 16-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Wildcat zone defense and rebounding began to trouble Whitley County. Lynn Camp forced several stops on defense and the Lady Cats went to Brianna Hollin, who rallied Lynn Camp with a 3-pointer to trim the lead to three points, followed by three consecutive free throws to tie the score at 16.
The scoring drought ended for the Lady Colonels when Brandi Smith's basket with just over 3:00 remaining in the period broke the tie, along with a Kandace Craig layup that extended the lead, giving the Lady Colonels a slim 22-18 advantage at halftime. Craig finished the half with 11 points.
Lynn Camp pulled to within a point to begin the third quarter when the Whitley County offense began its run. A technical foul on Lynn Camp coach Richard Jones sent Brandi Smith to the free throw line, pushing the lead to 30-21. The lead grew to 13 points as a Brandi Smith basket and free throw put the Lady Colonels in the lead, 38-25, to wind down the third quarter.
Lynn Camp cut the lead to nine points on a pair of baskets by Miranda Miller and Brooklyn Bryant to open the fourth quarter, but the fouls began to mount for the Lady Cats.
Whitley County's Taylor Dingess connected on 10-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter and finished 10-for-11 overall from the charity stripe. Dingess' free throws were the difference maker as Whitley County prevailed down the stretch, holding on to the 10-point win at home.
Lynn Camp's Richard Jones commented on his team's effort.
“Early in the game they hurt us inside,” Jones said. “We had our zone spread way out and it allowed them to get some easy baskets.
“We made some adjustments after that and done a pretty good job of controlling them after we started packing down inside,” he added. “We just needed a way to put more points on the board. We just have to build from this and hopefully by the time post season play comes around, we can build it up a little better.”
Whitley County 50, Lynn Camp 40
Lynn Camp 8 10 7 15 – 40
Whitley Co. 16 6 16 12 – 50
Lynn Camp (40) – May 12, Wilson 9, Hollin 8, Bryant 4, Burke 4, Miller 3
Whitley County (50) – Craig 15, Smith 14, Dingess 14, Estes 3, Johnson 2, Sizemore 2