Corbin survives early scare from Lady Jags

Jay Compton jcompton@civitasmedia.com

March 5, 2014

CORBIN — North Laurel gave the Lady Redhounds a game for most of three quarters, but the Lady Jags ran out gas late and Corbin pulled away for a 59-40 win in the first round of the 13th Region Tournament.

“I knew that they had good guards that were going to be able to handle the ball. I hoped we would be able to wear them down and luckily there late in the third and into the fourth quarter we were able to,” Corbin coach Jason McDaniel said.

Miranda Wilson led Corbin with 16 points despite hitting just six of 18 shots. Natalye Gallagher added 12 points and Sarah Ashley scored 10 to go along with 10 rebounds in the game.

North Laurel was led by eighth-grader Madison Sheppard’s 10 points off the bench. Kayla Bruner, Hannah Gray and Makayla Sexton all scored eight points for the Lady Jags.

It was a defensive-minded first quarter that saw Bruner score at the 1:05 mark to put North Laurel on top 11-9. Baskets by Hannah Lawson and Bruner pushed the lead to 15-9 just one minute into the second quarter. The Lady Jags had forced five turnovers to that point in the game, but could turn only one of them into points.

“We weren’t shooting very well be we were playing hard and attacking that basket,” North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan said. “We haven’t shot well for the past two weeks. I’m proud of us showing up — we didn’t show up against Clay County (in the 49th District championship game). A lot of young teams would have just gave up and said the season is a wrap, but they rebounded from that no-show.”

McDaniel used a timeout to settle his team down and they came out focused on trying to work the ball inside. Kayla Wilson hit a 3 and Gallagher scored four of her points during a 10-0 run that swung the game in the Lady Hounds’ favor. A steal and a layup by Wilson put Corbin on top and Gallagher’s putback made it 19-15 with about 5:00 left in the half.

“I think we took some rushed shots early in the game. I think a lot of that was nerves from playing in the first game of the tournament,” he said. “I just needed to remind them of who we are, we are the defending champions and we have a lot of veterans. I told them to start using that and they did.”

Ashley and Kaitlyn Waddle both scored after grabbing offensive rebounds to push the lead to six. But a basket from Sexton and two free throws from Gray had North within 25-23 by the 1:20 mark.

Another putback by Ashley gave Corbin a four-point lead at the half.

The Lady Hounds dominated on the boards, outrebounding North Laurel 40-21 for the game. Gallagher and Miranda Wilson both grabbed eight to go along with Ashely’s 10.

Sheppard hit two 3s to try and keep the Lady Jags in the game in the third quarter. Her second made it 37-31. Miranda Wilson scored six of her points in the third quarter and then found Gallagher inside for her second basket of the period to give Corbin a 39-31 lead after three.

The Lady Hounds pulled away late with Ashley scoring six points in the fourth quarter and Brooklyn Ashurst adding five as they outscored North 20-9 to go on to the 19-point win.

“We got tired. When we get tired we make mistakes, when they get tired they can fight through it a lot better than us right now,” Mahan added. “That’s experience in a ballgame.”

“Our girls are in very good shape and I can’t say enough about Natalye Gallagher, she was a difference-maker tonight,” McDaniel added.

The Lady Jags (15-18) started one junior, two sophomores, a freshman and an eighth-grader with another eighth-grader and a sophomore playing big minutes off the bench on Tuesday. Mahan sees a bright future for his team.

“I truly do believe our future is here. We’ll have a really good junior class next year and I think there’s a big leap kids make from that eight-grade going into high school,” he said. “You look around the region and Corbin and Whitley will be losing a lot of seniors, Clay only loses one but Robinson is a key player. We’ll have pretty much everybody coming back for the next two years.”

Corbin (24-7) advances to play Bell County (25-4) Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal. The Lady Cats advanced with a 63-47 win over Lynn Camp in Tuesday’s other first round game. Saturday’s game will be a rematch of last year’s 13th Region championship, which the Lady Redhounds won 63-60.

Bell County has won both meetings between the teams this season.

“I don’t know where Bell County in ranked in the state but they’re up there. We’ve played them twice so we have some stuff on them,” McDaniel said. “I told the girls to enjoy this win tonight and we’ll get back to work tomorrow.”

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Kayla Bruner 3-9 2-4 8, Hannah Gray 1-3 6-10 8, Makayla Sexton 4-7 0-0 8, Hannah Lawson 1-5 1-2 3, Ashton Bridges 0-1 1-2 1, Madison Sheppard 4-12 0-0 10, Ashley Raines 0-2 0-0 0, Tonya Brummett 1-3 0-0 3, Kesley Chesnut 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-42 10-18 40.

CORBIN (24-7)

Miranda Wilson 6-18 3-4 16, Kayla Wilson 4-11 0-0 9, Natalye Gallagher 4-7 4-4 12, Sarah Ashley 3-6 4-4 10, Brooklyn Ashurst 2-8 0-0 5, Jaclyn Jewell 0-2 1-2 1, Meghann Blackburn 1-2 2-4 4, Kaitlyn Waddle 1-2 0-0 2, Kameryn Ashurst 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-56 14-18 59

North Laurel 11 12 8 9 40
Corbin 9 18 12 20 59
3-point goals: North Laurel 2-8 (Sheppard 2-3, Raines 0-2, Gray 0-1, Bruner 0-1, Lawson 0-1), Corbin 3-17 (MWilson 1-8, KWilson 1-4, BAshurst 1-3, Jewll 0-2). Rebounds: North Laurel 21 (Lawson 5), Corbin 40 (Ashley 10). Assists: North Laurel 6 (Lawson 3), Corbin 8 (KWilson 3, BAshurst 3). Turnovers: North Laurel 15, Corbin 11. Total fouls: North Laurel 12, Corbin 13. Fouled out: none.