By Chris Parsons
WILLIAMSBURG — What looked to be a blowout after the first two quarters turned into a typical nailbiter between Corbin and South Laurel.
After cruising to a 34-17 lead at halftime, Corbin had to hold off a second-half rally by the Cardinals to capture its fifth straight 50th District championship with a 73-66 victory.
Corbin jumped out to a 13-0 lead to start the game and though South Laurel got within one at the end of the third quarter, never lost the lead from that point.
Redhounds’ sixth-man Kevin Goins scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, including three three-pointers and an old-fashioned 3-point play in the fourth quarter to help slow South Laurel’s momentum.
After the game, Corbin coach Tony Pietrowski said he was happy with the way his team withstood the Cardinals’ rally, admitting they could have folded up the tent when South Laurel trimmed the lead late.
“I’m so proud of these kids for this effort tonight, but this is the way it has been all year,” Pietrowski said. “They could have very easily tucked their tails when South made a run, but they stood their ground and weathered the storm.
“I can’t say enough about all our kids and you’ve got a kid like Kevin Goins that comes off the bench and does what he did tonight,” he added. “I’m enjoying the heck out of this team right now, so we’re going to enjoy this and get ready for the region tournament.”
South Laurel struggled in the first quarter, opening the game with an 0-for-15 shooting effort, which led to a 16-7 score after the first quarter.
Things didn’t get much better in the second period for the Cardinals as they only made four-of-14 shots and trailed 34-17 at halftime.
While he was pleased with his team’s comeback effort, Cardinals coach Jeff Davis said no team can fall behind like South Laurel did and be in the game at the end.
“You can’t come into a game like this and not be ready to play,” Davis said. “You can’t be shell-shocked and you certainly can’t go down 12 or 13 points and not score a point.
“It’s not really our offense that hurt us, but it goes back to not playing aggressively on defense,” he added. “You’ve got to give Corbin all the credit because they took us out of what we wanted to do and at times, it looked like they just wanted it more than we did.”
After trailing 34-17 at the half, South Laurel used a 29-13 third-quarter effort to trim the deficit to 47-46 with one period to play. Goins scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 53-46, but the Cardinals rallied to trim the lead to 55-53.
The teams traded baskets from that point, but Corbin’s were the three-point kind, allowing them to extend the lead to 69-61 with a minute to play. The Redhounds went four-for-four from the free-throw line to close the game.
50th District Tournament
at Williamsburg High School
Corbin 73, South Laurel 66
S. Laurel 7 10 29 20 66
Corbin 16 18 13 26 73
S. Laurel (66) – Sanders 25, Baxter 21, Slavey 7, Miller 5, Rader 4, Schaser 4.
Corbin (73) – Goins 19, Farley 15, Hill 12, Maguet 9, Grubb 9, Igo 9.