By Chris Parsons
I know it may sound cliché, but from the start of this basketball season, it seemed like the Corbin Lady Redhounds had something special going on.
But then again, when the season starts, a lot of teams seem to be special in a sense that they all feel like they have a shot at winning a district or region championship.
All along, I felt like the 13th Region would come down to one of three teams.
The Whitley County Lady Colonels were the favorite in my opinion and to be honest, if they had remained healthy all season long, I still think they may have been the best team from top to bottom. Clay County was obviously in the mix, but let’s be honest, Clay County is always in the mix.
A dark horse for me was South Laurel because they had something few teams had in a strong post player in senior Taylor Arthur.
Harlan County and Bell County were neck and neck and then, somewhere near the middle to the end of the pack (depending on who you talked to), Corbin was in the conversation.
At one point early in the season, Corbin coach Jennifer Parsons made a statement to me while I was doing a story that stuck with me throughout the season. She said: “I’ve had teams that were more talented than this year’s group, but I have never had a team that played with as much heart and determination as this group.”
That determination, from her and her team, is exactly what carried the Lady Redhounds to their first region title since 1982 and fifth all-time for the school.
I’ve covered this team quite a bit this season because they play a lot of 13th Region teams at home and when you have a deadline like we have, sometimes it’s just easier to stay closer to the office. While covering them, I’ve talked to a lot of coaches and fans about just about every team I have had the opportunity to cover, including Corbin.
While compliments about the Lady Redhounds have included words like balanced, fiery, fundamental, gritty, tough and quick, the words that came up the most are heart and determined.
My take on that coincidence is that it is no coincidence.
I’ve always felt like teams tend to take on the personality of the coaches that lead them. Notice, I said coaches, not coach. I say coaches because if you look up and down the lineup of a team, most of the time there are multiple personality styles that you can identify. More times than not, the majority of those personalities will mirror one or more of the coaches on the sideline.
For this year’s Corbin Lady Redhounds, although I won’t give my opinion on what players mirror what coaches, but hopefully if you got to see this team play at some point this season, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Coach Jennifer Parsons is said to be the calm, cool and collective one of the group. That was never more evident when her team’s lead shrank to one point against Bell County in the region finals.
I believe junior varsity coach Jessica Ledington is a strong part of the team’s strategy. Her husband, Corbin baseball coach Rob Ledington, has admitted to me he is the second-best coach in his home, so she must have something to do with Corbin’s game-planning.
While I’m sure they play a huge part in motivating the team as well as other things, assistants Jamie Cutshall and Mikkah Rogers have a hand in the comic relief. I know this because while interviewing the two former players for a story in this section, there were plenty of funny stories told.
As serious as Parsons and Ledington are on the sidelines, someone has to keep this team laughing.
No matter how you see these four coaches for their respective jobs, the fact of the matter is they have played a role in the lives of this particular team that every girl involved will remember for a lifetime.
If it’s true that a team really does take on the personality of its coaches, then this group of Lady Redhounds is in good hands now and for years to come.
For complete coverage of the Lady Redhounds heading to the Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green, see Wednesday's newspaper for our full-color, eight page special section.