By Dan Connell / Staff Writer
CORBIN — Saturday's championship game of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament was perhaps a postseason preview of things to come as two of the 13th Region's top girls teams met for the first time this season at Gilliam Gymnasium.
Maci Morris and the Bell County Lady Bobcats wanted to play the role of spoiler on Corbin's home court by denying the Lady Redhounds their first crown as tournament champions.
When all was settled, Bell County narrowly escaped with an 83-82 victory.
“Bell County is just a tremendous team,” Corbin coach Jason McDaniel. “They are obviously one of the best teams in the 13th Region and you've got to give them credit for the way they play.”
Both teams wasted no time putting points on the board early in the contest. After several basket exchanges, Bell County's half-court defensive trap began to create problems for the Lady Redhound offense and forced Corbin into several turnovers. The Lady Bobcats went to their senior leader, Maci Morris, who scored quickly and effectively for Bell County throughout the first quarter. However, Morris picked up two early fouls and went to the bench before the end of the period.
The Lady Bobcats did not appear phased minus Morris on the court and led 28-18 at the end of the first period.
Corbin's Miranda Wilson and Natalie Gallagher rallied their team back from the 10-point deficit. Each contributed to a 5-0 Corbin run in the second quarter and the Lady Redhounds came up big on the defensive end. Morris sat out most of the second quarter, but Bell County remained in the lead 45-40 at halftime.
Morris returned to Bell County's starting lineup in the second half and the Lady Bobcats received the spark they needed. Bell County's defensive pressure continued to plague Corbin as the Lady Redhounds found themselves down by as many as 21 points in the third period.
A large part of Bell County's offense came from points off turnovers during the quarter with Morris coming up with big plays on both ends of the court. Corbin's offensive struggle led only to 10 points during the period and Bell County held a comfortable 66-50 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
Corbin wasn't ready to call it a night. The Lady Redhounds mounted a furious fourth quarter rally. Corbin began scoring from long range as Kayla Wilson knocked down a three to cut the lead to 12 points. Jaclyn Jewell would follow with a three of her own, cutting the Bell County lead to single digits with under six minutes remaining. Corbin trailed by nine points with just over three minutes remaining when Sarah Ashley led the fourth quarter Lady Redhound charge.
Morris's shot on the ensuing possession rimmed out and Corbin's final opportunity for a game-winning basket came up empty at the buzzer.
“I'm really, really blessed and proud of our girls tonight,” McDaniel said. “They (Bell County) put us back on our heels and made quite a bit of a run in the third quarter.
“There are things we need to work on and we will as we go along this season,” he added.
The Lady Redhounds will resume action on Tuesday at Casey County.
Bell County 83, Corbin 82
Bell Co. 28 17 21 17 - 83
Corbin 18 22 10 32 - 82
Corbin (82) - Miranda Wilson 17, Ashley 14, K Wilson 12, Jewell 12, Melanie Wilson 10, Gallagher 8, Ashurst 4, Waddle 3, Blackburn 2
Bell County (83) - Morris 39, Sanders 16, Garnett 11, Collins 10, Johnson 5, Smith 2
By Dan Connell / Staff Writer
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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