By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
BARBOURVILLE — The Whitley County Lady Colonels made quick work of Knox Central Tuesday in the 51st District Tournament Championship game, but there was no huge celebration or hoopla that followed the win.
After the 3-0 (25-16, 25-20 and 25-18) win, Whitley County coach David Halcomb said his team has reached one of its goals, but they have a few more things they want to accomplish before they quit for the season.
“We do have something else in mind and that’s what our girls are thinking about,” Halcomb said. “We’ve played a tough schedule here lately at the end of the season and I think it’s paid off by giving our kids some confidence.
“Knox Central played hard and you know Barb Gregory does a good job with these kids here,” he added. “Our kids came out a little bit lethargic at the beginning, but we did a good job of coming out of it and getting the win.”
Knox Central jumped ahead early in the first set, but once the Lady Colonels got things going, they were able to grab a lead they never let go of en route to the 25-16 win to go ahead 1-0 after the first set.
Whitley County turned the tables in the second set by taking an early lead and leading by as many as 11 points at 20-9 before they had to cling to the lead and close out a 25-20 win, pushing the lead to 2-0.
Knox Central looked poised to force at least a fourth set in the early stages of the third, taking an early 6-3 lead. Whitley County again recovered from the sluggish start to regain the lead at 7-6. With the lead trimmed to 12-10, the Lady Colonels rattled off nine straight points on serve to push the gap to 21-10, but Knox Central wasn’t done yet.
The Lady Panthers used a rally of their own, cutting the gap to 23-18 before Whitley County closed things out for the district championship.
The win was the second straight district title for the Lady Colonels as they knocked off Knox Central last year as well. Whitley County eventually fell to Corbin in the 13th Region Championship match by a score of 2-0. Halcomb said he thinks his team is ready for what is to come next week.
“Like I said, I think our kids gained some confidence with those last two wins of the regular season over a pretty good Rockcastle County team and a really good Corbin team,” he said. “We can play with the best of them when we are on our game.
“Tonight I think we played a little too much at Knox Central’s pace and that threw our kids off a little bit,” he added. “I also think the kids thought they would come in here and have an easy win, but this Knox Central team has improved throughout the season and they fought hard tonight.”