HARLAN —A dominant defensive effort and strong work on the offensive glass propelled the Corbin Lady Redhounds to a 57-34 win over North Laurel in the final first round game of the 13th Region Tournament on Thursday.
North was forced into 27 turnovers for the game and the Lady Jags were held to just one of 16 shooting in the first half. The Lady Hounds struggled with their shooting early on as well, but capitalized on second and third shot opportunities. Corbin went 10-of-36 from the field in the opening half and held a 28-13 rebounding edge as they built a 25-9 lead.
“We were getting those second chances and still not converting and that gets frustrating because the girls were working hard to get them,” said Corbin coach Jennifer Parsons. “It just seemed like there was a lid on the basket, but the girls kept fighting and kept playing. They don’t get down.”
The Lady Hounds were led by junior forward Sarah Ashley, who scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half. Kayla Wilson added 10 points and Miranda Wilson nine.
“Several of those were getting offensive rebounds and putbacks. She’s such a hard-nosed worker for us, just that garbage player with all-out hustle that gives you 110-percent the whole time she’s out there,” Parsons said of Ashley.
North Laurel was led by senior guard Ashley Wyatt with 15 points while senior guard Brooke Carpenter and 7th-grader Hannah Lawson added eight points each.
Lady Jag coach Eddie Mahan said rebounding made the difference in the game.
“Your defense doesn’t end until you get the board and we didn’t do that very well. We got killed there and their offensive boards were dominating us, especially on the weak side. We were down 16 at the half and I bet they scored every bit of 16 points off of offensive rebounds,” he said. “If you don’t do better on the boards than that, it doesn’t matter how good of defense you’re playing. I thought that was the difference in the game because they got points off of that and it also kept us from being able to score in transition.”
Despite the early shooting struggles, the Lady Jags were o-for-9 shooting in the first quarter, they hit seven free throws to stay within striking distance. Lawson and Hannah Gray hit two each and Wyatt knocked down three of four and Corbin’s lead was just 11-7 after one.
Neither teams scored in the second period until Ashley’s putback gave Corbin a 13-7 lead with 4:24 to go in the half. Wyatt answered with a basket for the Lady Jags, but they wouldn’t score again for the rest of the half.
Ashley scored six of her points as the Lady Hounds used a 12-0 run to take a 25-9 lead into the break.
“We had some good shots, but just missed way too many layups. They moved very well in their zone, I thought North played great on defense. It just took us some time to get adjusted,” Parson added. “We forced a lot of turnovers, but we weren’t capitalizing on them (until late in the half).”
Carpenter scored all eight of her points in the third quarter for North, but Corbin got five points each from Kayla Wilson and Holli Disney as their lead grew to 37-19 after three.
A 3 from Wyatt got the Lady Jags within 15 early in the fourth quarter, but a try from Wilson and a transition layup by Brooklyn Ashurst pushed the led to 43-21 by the 5:32 mark and the Lady Hounds went on to win it by 23.
North Laurel finishes the season with a record of 6-26. It was the final game for seniors Wyatt and Carpenter.
“Those seniors are a building block to our future, just like last year was a building block. I feel like we have the best group of young players in the region right now. I love our young kids and I know we’re going to be very formidable in the future,” Mahan said. “I hate it for our seniors, my heart is breaking for them and I wish we could have done something better for them tonight.”
Corbin (25-8) advances to face host Harlan County in the semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“Obviously Harlan County has a very good team and we were lucky to beat them earlier this season on a last second shot. I say lucky because we didn’t play very well that game,” Parsons said. “I know we’re going to have to play better on the offensive end on Saturday than we did tonight. I think we matchup pretty well with them, but they’re going to be hard to beat here. I don’t think they’ve lost on their home court and in order to beat them we’re going to have to play on both ends of the floor.”
— — —
North Laurel…7.…2…10…15 — 34
Corbin………..11…14…12…20 — 57
NORTH LAUREL (34): Ashley Wyatt 14, Hannah Lawson 8, Brooke Carpenter 8, Hannah Gray 2, Kendall Ellington 2, Kelsey Chesnut 0, Makayla Sexton 0, Ashley Raines 0, Brittany Smith 0.
CORBIN (57): Sarah Ashley 15, Kayla Wilson 10, Miranda Wilson 9, Holli Disney 5, Brooklyn Ashurst 4, Kristen Fothergill 4, Natalye Gallagher 4, Melanie Wilson 4, Jaclyn Jewell 2.