By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
Just three weeks ago, a loss to the Whitley County Colonels started a five-game losing streak for the Corbin Redhounds, the longest in Coach Tony Pietrowski's tenure.
All of that changed on Friday night, however, when Corbin took down the Colonels, 74-46, winning their third-straight game and giving Whitley County their fifth loss in six games.
Both teams are vying for the second-seed in the 50th District tournament, which is yet to be determined. Odds are the teams will face off in the first round for a trip to the 13th Region Tournament. With the postseason just a couple of weeks away, Pietrowski hopes his team is pulling it together at just the right time.
"We went through a tough stretch where we weren't able to get all of our kids at practice. We had some family issues and some sickness and we could never really get any continuity in practice," said Pietrowski. "We need these two weeks of practice to be able to improve and hopefully be peaking at the right time. I like the direction this team is headed in."
The Redhounds were headed in the right direction from the very tip of Friday's game. The Redhounds raced to a 17-10 first quarter lead behind eighth-grader Andrew Taylor and senior Kevin Goins, who each had five points in the quarter.
Taylor and Goins would go on to lead Corbin on offense for the game. Taylor scored a game-high 20 points, while Goins finished with 17.
"The kids did a great job. Whitley puts a lot of pressure on you and they extend that pressure. We wanted to stay aggressive and if they were going to try to press us full court, to go with it and make plays," said Pietrowski. "(Taylor) had an excellent game tonight. He stepped up and hit some big shots for us. As a team, I think our kids are starting to figure out their roles and understand how to play the game."
The Colonels played their best basketball of the night in the second quarter. Sophomore Luke Woods and eighth-grader Corey Johnson each knocked down two three-point shots for Whitley County. Woods cut the lead to six with just over two minutes left in the first half, but baskets by Corbin's Trevor Browning and Corey Shelton allowed the Redhounds to take a 36-26 lead into the half.
"I thought we kind of weathered the storm there (in the second quarter) and made a run, but they were able to make some shots and we missed some," said Whitley County Coach Jerry Overbey. "We got some good looks. We preached and preached in the first half and the second half to get to the free throw line and it just didn't happen. We shot six free throws for the game."
While their offense was impressive in the first half, it was the Corbin defense that dominated the game in the third and fourth quarters. The Redhounds allowed just three Colonel field goals in the third quarter, holding the Whitley County offense to seven points.
With a 43-30 lead with just over three minutes left in the third, the Redhounds went on a 12-3 run to end the quarter. Goins scored the last seven Redhound points in the period, helping his team to a 55-33 advantage heading into the fourth.
"As a team, I thought we did a really good job of taking care of the ball and getting it in the right people's hands and making plays when we did," said Pietrowski. "But, we still need some practice. We still need to get in and get better so we can compete for another district and put ourselves in the mix for the region."
The Colonels were never able to get any closer than 19 points in the fourth quarter. With a 68-43 lead and the game all but over, both coaches began to clear their benches, as the Redhounds strolled to a 74-46 win.
"We've got to get back to work. It was a tale of two teams," said Overbey. "Right now, we're really struggling with confidence. We have to start stepping up and taking better shots. That's something we can fix and we still have some games left to do that."
The Redhounds will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to McCreary Central. Whitley County will take on 50th District rival Williamsburg on Monday.
Corbin 74, Whitley County 46
Corbin 17 19 19 19—74
Whitley Co. 10 16 7 13—46
Corbin (74) — Taylor 20, Goins 17, Kenny Hopper 10, Trevor Browning 8, Joey Shelton 8, Zach Maguet 7, Sam Taylor 2.
Whitley County (46) — Johnson 12, Woods 11, Levi Barton 9, James Sasko 8, Cameron Johnson 5, Casey Crisologo 1.