By Chris Parsons
There’s an abundance of words that could be used to describe the Lynn Camp Lady Wildcats’ 2012-13 basketball season, but head coach Richard Jones said if he had to choose two, he would use exciting and heartbreaking at the same time.
Exciting comes to mind due to the fact that Jones and company set a new program record for wins in a season after finishing 23-10, good enough for the fifth best record in the 13th Region.
Heartbreaking because despite the number of wins, Jones said his team failed to reach a few goals it had set at the start of the season, including a 13th Region All ‘A’ Championship and a district title.
“This was a very exciting season and considering the things we were able to achieve, you have to be pleased with the kids’ effort,” Jones said. “At the same time, it was really heartbreaking to come so close to that All ‘A’ Championship in a close game against Pineville and then to lose that district championship by three points to Barbourville.
“Any time you work as hard for something as our kids did, it’s tough to fall short of that goal,” he added. “But we were able to set the record for most wins and we did some really good things this season, so it was a success overall.”
The Lady Wildcats started the season with a bang, winning 11 of their first 13 games, including victories over 13th Region foes Knox Central, Williamsburg, Pineville and Middlesboro.
Jones’ squad went 3-1 in the 17th Annual Bowman Memorial Classic with the lone loss coming at the hands of eventual champion Barbourville, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the Lady Wildcats for a little less than a month.
Lynn Camp made good on its shot at redemption when the two teams met up in the opening round of the All ‘A’ Classic with the Lady Cats coming away with a 56-51 win, eliminating Barbourville from the tournament.
After squeaking past Middlesboro in the semifinals (37-35), Lynn Camp came up just short in a controversial 56-52 loss to Pineville in double overtime. The controversy was that the Lady Mountain Lions' shot at the buzzer in regulation was counted despite being waved off by two of the three referees on the floor, tying the game instead of giving the Lady Cats the victory.
After that loss, Lynn Camp lost two straight before recovering to win three in a row and eventually winning four straight to close out the regular season.
One of the biggest differences in this year’s squad according to Jones was the overall toughness of the team both physically and mentally. He said in years past his squads would have folded the tents after the loss to Pineville, but instead they recovered and played well to close out the season.
“We took that loss in the All ‘A’ tough because it was really heartbreaking for us,” Jones said. "The kids were able to get things going again and play well and I think that was due to their toughness and size, which is something we haven't had in the past.
“We were a pretty big team and I think that's going to be a key next season,” he added.
Speaking of next season, Jones is in good shape as far as returning players, having only lost one starter to graduation in Kayla Smith. He said if all goes well and his squad stays healthy, he expects the same kind of success the Lady Cats had this season.
“We have some good kids coming back and they’re a tough group as well,” Jones said. “This group has worked hard and I expect them to do the same this offseason to get better.
“If we improve the way I expect us to, I feel like we'll have another good season,” he added.
By Chris Parsons
- 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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