TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Chris Parsons
When the dust settled following the first round of the girls 13th Region Tournament, two of the four teams remaining were Bell County and Corbin.
The two are not only familiar with each other, but they have a lot in common as well.
After Corbin came away with a 63-60 win in one of the most exciting region championship games in recent memory, the two teams have remained at or near the top of the regional rankings for most of this season.
Bell County has gotten the best of the Lady Redhounds in both meetings this season (83-82 on Dec. 2 and 69-57 on Feb. 1), accounting for two of Corbin’s seven loses of the season.
While he knows his squad will have its work cut out, McDaniel stressed the fact that the deciding factor will most likely be execution.
“We’ve played Bell County twice this season and as most postseason games do, it will probably come down to execution on both ends,” McDaniel said. “We’ve got to leave it on the floor as I anticipate a very good game.”
As for Bell County, head coach David Teague said his team will need a group effort if it is to get back to the region finals.
“They’ve got a very nice basketball team over there at Corbin and we are very familiar with each other, which always makes for a good game,” Teague said. “They have some strength on the inside with the (Natalye) Gallagher girl, which is something we have struggled against this season. At the same time you have to try and limit what you allow their guards to do offensively.
“Our kids have played well this season and they’ve worked toward trying to get back to the region championship game,” he added. “If we can get past Corbin we will have a chance to play for the region title, so we’ll see what happens when we hit the court.”
Bell County comes in to the contest with a 25-4 record, having won seven straight and 17 of its last 18 contests. Corbin is 24-7 and has won eight straight with its last loss coming at the hands of the Lady Cats. McDaniel said despite the fact his team has played well lately, they’ll have to play as good or better if they want to advance to Sunday’s finals.
“Fortunately we are playing well and our girls are focused on the task at hand,” McDaniel said. “If we can limit some of their scoring, keep our turnovers down and rebound, I like our chances.
“They have a great team and obviously a top player in our state in Maci Morris,” he added. “Jessica Sanders and Morgan Garnett are great shooters too, so they really space you out defensively. They are really a well-rounded team and it will be a tough challenge.”