By Les Dixon
Corbin coach Tony Pietrowski knows all too well about upsets in the 13th Region Tournament. His Redhounds suffered a first round loss last season to Pineville and will try to avoid the same thing against a dangerous Middlesboro squad today during first round action of the 13th Region Tournament at Harlan County High School.
Corbin (24-6) enters the game with an impressive nine-game win streak along with the best record in the 13th Region, but Pietrowski admitted his team won’t be overlooking the Yellow Jackets (15-13).
Corbin won earlier in the season at home, 68-51, but the Yellow Jackets seem to have improved since then.
“Middlesboro is an extremely scary team,” Pietrowski said. “They are athletic in the post, have good guard play and are well-coached. Any team that wins the All ‘A’ with the caliber of teams that were involved is a proven winner.
“I hope we learned our lesson last season,” he added. “Every team in the tournament feels good about their chances to move forward. We have to maintain our focus and figure out a way to survive and advance.”
Middlesboro coach Russell Thompson admitted facing Corbin isn’t going top be an easy task for his team.
“Corbin is always strong in the regional tournament and we’ll have our work cut out for us on Monday night,” Thompson said. “We’re going to have to challenge their shots. They have a good solid five that can all handle the ball and shoot the ball pretty well. In any tournament you’re going to have to be able to control the glass and rebound well. Hopefully our defense will pay off for us. I feel like we’ve played pretty good defense consistently throughout the year and if we can knock down some shots and hit our free throws we’ll be a competitive team.
“Corbin is a solid team and they are always a tough team to play in the regional tournament,” he added. “Historically, if you’re going to win the 13th Region Tournament, you’ve got to beat Corbin. That’s a big task ahead of us, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”