By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
CORBIN — For the second time in as many years, the Corbin Lady Redhounds are the 50th District Champions.
Whitley County senior guard Brandi Smith missed a running floater as time expired to allow the Lady Redhounds to take the 45-44 win, in a game that many knew would come down to the wire.
For Corbin and their first-year head coach Jason McDaniel, it was the second time in four meetings that they defeated Whitley County this season, and this one was by far the best.
“Obviously, I came into a great situation. We had our ups and downs this season, like every team has, but I still feel like we are playing our best basketball right now,” McDaniel said. “These kids have a lot of character. They could have thrown in the towel plenty of times, but they stuck with it. I'm very proud of these girls.”
For Whitley County coach Donnie Jones, losing in the district finals, especially in the last seconds, was disappointing, but there is no other player in the region that he would want to take the last shot than his senior point guard.
“It was a tough shot. She was running full speed. It looked good from where I was at, but it just rimmed out,” said Jones. “I wouldn't want anybody but Brandi Smith to take that shot right there. I never thought we'd get that good of a look. She got a nice look at it, and it just rolled off the rim. It just wasn't our night, I guess.”
It didn't look like it was going to be anyone's night in the first half. Neither team seemed to get into a rhythm on the offensive end of the court, as two of the best offenses in the 13th Region struggled to hit open shots.
After the first quarter, the game was tied at 9-9 and a Brooklyn Ashurst three-pointer put Corbin ahead 12-9 to start the second quarter. Ashurst carried the Lady Redhounds throughout much of the first and second quarters, scoring seven of their first 12 points.
Smith came through late in the fourth quarter, knocking down a long three-pointer with :14.1 left, cutting the lead to 45-43. The Lady Redhounds threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds and Smith was fouled with just :7.5 left on the clock. She hit the first one to make it 45-44, but went on to miss the second. She got a second attempt at a game winner as time expired that fell just short, allowing Corbin to escape.
With such a great player like Smith taking the final shot, McDaniel just knew it was going in.
“I've watched Brandi play a heck of a lot this year and she is such a good ball player,” said McDaniel. “Honestly, I closed my eyes. I just had a feeling it was going to go in.”
Corbin 45, Whitley County 44
Whitley Co. 9 7 15 13 – 44
Corbin 9 7 14 15 – 45
Corbin (45) – Ashley 15, Mi. Wilson 10, B. Ashurst 7, K. Wilson 6, Jewell 5, Gallagher 2
Whitley County (44) – Smith 21, Craig 8, Taylor Dingess 7, Johnson 6, Sizemore 2
Lady Redhounds repeat as 50th district champions
By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
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