By Chris Parsons
When the 2012-13 basketball season started on Nov. 26, Corbin head coach Jennifer Parsons said her team’s goal, just like every season, was to win the 13th Region Tournament and earn a trip to the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Tournament.
Fast forward to March 4 and after a 63-60 win over Bell County in the 13th Region Tournament, for the first time in her tenure as head coach of the Lady Redhounds, Parsons and her team had finally reached that goal and were headed to E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
A 45-38 loss to Shelby Valley in Wednesday’s opening round game of the Sweet Sixteen ended the season for the Lady Redhounds. Ironically, the loss may have been one of the best things that could have happened not only for Parsons, but also for the group of players she’ll have returning next season.
“I know my kids are heartbroken right now because you want to come here and win, plus you don’t want the season to come to an end,” Parsons said. “But I feel like this entire experience is going to be something that our young kids learn from and hopefully it will make them hungry to get back here.”
Looking at this year’s squad and its 27-9 overall record (21-3 against 13th Region foes), the future is a bright one if you look at statistics. As a team, the Lady Redhounds averaged 57.6 points per game on the season. With only two seniors lost to graduation, Corbin will return 86 percent of the offensive output from this season.
Though they will have to replace the size and inside presence that Disney provided at right around six feet, Parsons has some youth who seemed to be chomping at the bit for more playing time this season.
Freshmen Jaclyn Jewell (3.5 ppg, only played in 26 games) and Melanie Wilson (5.2 ppg) will return for their sophomore seasons and most likely increase their production with more playing time.
Jewell suffered an injury early in the season and played with a cast on her left hand or a time after returning to action, so a full season in action could see her produce more.
Melanie Wilson’s ability to shoot from the outside (31-of-68, 45.6 percent from three-point range) will most likely put her into the starting lineup with her sisters (Kayla and Miranda) next season.
Parsons’ squad will also have four experienced seniors next year in twins Miranda (12.9 ppg) and Kayla Wilson (10.9), Sarah Ashley (7.4 pg) and Brooklyn Ashurst (4.7 ppg). Considering the variables of players possibly moving in to the district and moving up from the middle school level, Corbin has a legitimate shot at a repeat performance and another trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
Based on their work ethic and the groundwork laid this season, Parsons said she feels like the group coming back will most likely be able to come in and build itself into a team that can contend for another region title.
“The girls that we have coming back have shown that they play with a lot of heart and desire and I wouldn’t expect anything less coming in next season,” Parsons said. “We’ll have a good mixture of youth and experience to work with, so we’ll just have to see what we can do in the offseason in terms of improving.
“Despite the loss to Shelby Valley, I’m extremely proud of this team for what they’ve accomplished,” she added. “This season was special because of what we were able to do and I’ll always remember this group for their heart and effort.”
When next season rolls around, the Lady Redhounds will most likely not be at the top of the preseason rankings in the 13th Region.
One thing they will be for the first time in over 30 years is the defending 13th Region Champions. Until they’re either eliminated from postseason play some time in March of next season or they return to Bowling Green for the 2014 Sweet Sixteen, that’s a title that belongs to them and only them.