By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
CORBIN - The rivalry between Corbin, and Bell County renewed again Saturday with the Lady Bobcats improving to 2-0 this season against the defending 13th Region champions by pulling away for a hard-fought 69-57 win.
Bell County (15-3) slipped past Corbin (16-7) during an earlier meeting this season, 83-82, but looked like it was going to cruise to an easy win this time around.
The Lady Bobcats led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter and maintained the lead throughout before seeing Jason McDaniel's squad begin to rally in the second half.
The Lady Redhounds managed to tie the game on a couple of occasions in the fourth quarter, but two three-pointers by Jessica Sanders combined with a 3-pointer by teammate Morgan Garnett triggered an 11-2 run that allowed Bell County to pull away and pick up the 12-point win.
The loss turned out to be Corbin's third in six games.
“It was a good game compared to when we played in the Cumberland Falls (Invitational),” McDaniel said. “We will look at some things from this game and go forward. I'd love to be able to see them again (in the postseason).
“They're a good team,” he added. “Maci, of course, is a tremendous player, and tonight Sanders and Garnett hit some big three-pointers late in the game for them. I'm proud of our girls' effort. They battled and gave a heck of an effort.”
After tying the game at 52 apiece with less than four minutes to go in the game, the wheels began to fall off for Corbin.
The Lady Redhounds missed two front ends of a one-and-one situation, and went through a stretch where they missed five shots in a row. They connected on only 3-of-13 shot attempts during the game's final eight minutes.
“That was a tough stretch,” McDaniel said. “They got us in transition a couple of times. This was another tough game. We haven't played many home games, and we were coming off a tough battle with Lynn Camp, but those are no excuses, we just need to refocus and continue to improve.”
It looked as if Bell County was going to run away with the game early on. The Lady Bobcats built a 22-11 lead in the first quarter behind 8-of-15 shooting from the floor, but the Lady Redhounds began chipping away in the second quarter.
Despite connecting on only seven-of-22 shot attempts during the period, Corbin outhustled Bell County, and got numerous second chance opportunities, that allowed the Lady Redhounds to get back in the game. By the time halftime rolled around, Corbin's deficit was only four points (36-32).
The Lady Redhounds tied the game at 36 apiece to open the third quarter, but the Lady Bobcats managed to take a slim, 47-45, lead into the fourth quarter.
Corbin tied the game on three different occasions in the final eight minutes, but Garnett's three-pointer at the 3:32 mark gave her team a 55-52 edge and a lead it would never relinquish.
After seeing the Lady Redhounds miss two straight free throws, Sanders followed with a three-pointer, and added another trey seconds later to give her team a commanding 61-54 edge.
Kelli Smith added a jumper to make the score, 63-54, as the Lady Bobcats wrapped up the win.
Morris led all scorers with 25 points while Smith added 14 and Sanders finished with 12 for Bell County. Miranda Wilson led Corbin with a 19-point scoring effort.
Bell County 69, Corbin 57
Bell Co. 22 14 11 22 – 69
Corbin 11 21 13 12 – 57
Bell County (69) – Sanders 12, Garnett 10, Smith 14, Morris 25, Jackson 6, Collins 2.
Corbin (57) – Blackburn 2, Jewell 2, Ashurst 5, M. Wilson 19, Ashley 14, K. Wilson 7, Gallagher 8.