By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
CORBIN — Gilliam Gymnasium had a tournament-like atmosphere Tuesday night as the Corbin Redhounds defeated the Jackson County Generals, 75-73, in the opening game of the season for both teams.
The unlikely hero for the game, 8th grader Andrew Taylor, slashed to the basket for the game winning shot as time expired to give Corbin the edge. Taylor finished with 19 points in his varsity debut.
Entering the game, Jackson County was the heavy favorite, led by senior guard Jordan Fox and junior forward Isaiah Collier. Fox didn’t disappoint in the matchup, finishing with 31 points, but fouled out with :30 remaining in the game. Collier finished with 12 points, including the game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute.
Jackson County looked to be in control early, but Corbin responded quickly, finishing the first quarter on a 16-4 run and taking a 16-9 lead heading into the second quarter.
Redhound guard Trevor Browning helped jumpstart Corbin in the quarter with eight points, including back-to-back threes.
“Welcome back to high school basketball. What a great night to come out and watch two really good teams. Execution, at times, was missing, but I felt like there was effort on both sides of the ball,” Corbin Coach Tony Pietrowski said. “I thought both teams played really hard and kids stepped up individually and made a lot of big plays in the game.”
Corbin continued to control the game in the second quarter. This time it was Taylor who kept the Redhounds in the driver’s seat, scoring nine points in the period. Every time the Generals looked to make a run, Corbin quickly extended the lead. The Redhounds led 36-25 at the half.
“I’m proud of my kids. I thought we played really well. We came in and executed early and were able to gap them,” said Pietrowski. “We’re inexperienced. We’re playing a lot of kids who haven’t been asked to do things in those situations, under that pressure, but they hung tough and made enough plays.”
Corbin (1-0) will return to action Friday, taking on Letcher Central at Clay County in the Big Red Shootout.
Corbin 75, Jackson County 73
Corbin 16 20 18 19 - 75
Jackson Co. 9 16 21 27 - 73
Corbin (75) – Goins 28, Taylor 19, Browning 13, Taylor Waddle 6, Connor Hopkins 6, Bayley Rice 2, Tanner Barnes 1.
Jackson County (73) – Fox 31, Collie 12, Hammons 10, Zach Lawson 7, Seth Bingham 6, Will Neeley 4, Jacob Hays 3.