TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By John Stepp
For The Times Tribune
CORBIN — For the seventh time in the last 10 seasons, the Corbin Redhounds are headed to the 13th Region finals, after their 56-48 win over the Bell County Bobcats in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Corbin has not had an easy road to the championship game. The Redhounds have won their last four games by a combined 18 points, including a double overtime victory over Williamsburg in the 50th District championship.
The close games have only made Corbin that much stronger, according to coach Tony Pietrowski. If not for their close games at the end of the season, the Redhounds may not have been playing on Monday night.
“A month ago in those situations, we folded. Now, we have kind of weathered through some games, and we are playing better in those situations,” said Pietrowski. “Hats off to our kids. There was no room for the meek out there tonight. It was a physical battle and I thought our kids bowed their backs and continued to battle.”
The physicality of the game seemed to play into the hands of the Redhounds, despite what many thought was the better inside game of Bell County. Corbin forced an astounding 27 Bobcat turnovers, and gave the Bell County guards fits with their full court pressure. The Redhounds were also able to outrebound the Bobcats, 25-21 — something they failed to do in their regular season meeting earlier in the year.
“I think one thing we really talked about was trying to speed up play. As big and strong a team as they are, a half court game is not what we wanted to do,” said Pietrowski. “I thought we did a good job. The kids played hard and expended a lot of effort. We were able to get the tempo that we wanted and ultimately that won out.”
It was definitely a battle from the opening tip. The teams played back and forth the entire first quarter, playing to a 15-15 tie after one.
Bell County scored the first basket of the second quarter, to take a 17-15 advantage, but the Corbin defense didn't allow another field goal until :42 to play in the half. Zach Maguet scored the last five points of the period for the Redhounds, helping them to a 29-23 halftime lead.
“I'm proud of these kids. It was a quick turnaround with very little prep time,” said Pietrowski. “It was a great effort. I'm just so proud of these kids for sticking their nose in there over and over and just continuing to doubt the naysayers.”
Corbin looked to be in complete control of the game in the third quarter. Consecutive baskets by Kevin Goins and Maguet gave the Redhounds their biggest lead of the game at 38-30 with 2:47 to go in the third quarter. Bell County fought back and a jumper by Tyler Potter cut the Corbin lead to 40-36 heading into the fourth.
A quick score by Bell County's Jake Patterson cut the lead to 40-38 to open the final period, but that would be as close as the Bobcats could get it.
13th Region Tournament
Boys Second Round
at The Corbin Arena
Corbin 56, Bell County 48
Corbin 15 14 11 16 – 56
Bell Co. 15 8 13 12 – 48
Corbin (56) – Goins 26, Maguet 14, Taylor 7, Hopper 4, Hopkins 4, Shelton 1
Bell County (48) – Potter 16, Patterson 14, Partin 9, Asher 5, Collett 2, Woolum 2