It’s clear that Corbin’s Wilson sisters, Kayla and Miranda, feel right at home in the massive Harlan County gymnasium.
The duo led Corbin to its first 13th Region title in 29 years at HCHS last March and made an impressive return Friday, combining for 39 points in the Lady Hounds’ 62-48 win. The senior guards teamed to hit nine of nine from behind the 3-point line and 10 of 10 at the free throw line. As a team, Corbin hit 10 of 13 3-pointers and 20 of 22 free throws.
“We’ve not had a good 3-point shooting game in about six weeks. Tonight, we did,” Corbin coach Jason McDaniel said. “We had good looks, and the girls did a good job moving the basketball. We did a good screening on a coupled of our sets, and we knocked them down. Obviously, that was a big difference in the game.”
“When they shoot like, they will be hard to beat, but we didn’t play defense like we are capable tonight,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “Senior NIght and emotions don’t mix well. We were flat and sluggish. They outplayed us, and they deserved to win tonight.”
Kayla Wilson, who scored 21 points, and Miranda Wilson, who added 18, each hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter as Corbin raced to a 19-12 lead that Harlan County was never able to overcome.
The lead grew to 14 midway through the second quarter before a late run, including baskets by Shannon Shackleford and Brooklyn Massingill, cut the deficit to 35-25 at halftime.
Corbin (19-7) stretched its advantage to 15 three minutes into the third quarter, but the Lady Bears responded after a timeout with a 14-4 run to pull within five going into the fourth period. Sophomore guard Brooklyn Massingill, who led HCHS with 13 points, capped the run with a 3-pointer.
Harlan County (18-7) couldn’t built on the momentum in the fourth quarter, hitting only two of 10 shots from the field. The Lady Bears were still within seven midway through the fourth quarter but could manage only one point the rest of the way.
“We’ve bought into defense,” McDaniel said. “Girls are battling. It’s finally coming together. I like where we’re going.”
“We never got into a rhythm,” Nolan said. “But we actually put up enough points to win. We just didn’t get enough stops defensively.”
With a four-guard lineup of all seniors, including Sarah Ashley and Brooklyn Ashurst, the Lady Hounds played keep away down the stretch. The Harlan County defense, ranked among the state’s best, had trouble turning the Lady Hounds over.
“I don’t know if we could have held the ball like that a month ago, and our defense was good,” McDaniel said. “Harlan County is a very good team, and coach Nolan does a great job. They have three or four great players. That was a big win for us. I’ve worried about this for over a week now, coming off the Whitley County win. I’m proud of the girls.”
Harlan plays host to Knott Central on Saturday at 2:30 before closing the season with road games at Hazard, on Monday, and Knox Central, on Friday.
Led by 10 points from freshman guard Kameryn Ashurst, Corbin won 27-22 in the junior varsity game. Morgan Philpot and Candace Gulley added five each. Tori Baker scored four. Rachel Logan tossed in three.
Rebecca Middleton scored six and Noah Canady added five for the Lady Bears. Kaylea Gross scored four. Kaitlin Evans, Sara Napier and Breann Turner contributed two each. Taylor Johnson added one.
Miranda Wilson 5-9 4-4 18, Kayla Wilson 5-7 6-6 21, Brooklyn Ashurst 1-3 0-0 3, Sarah Ashley 2-4 7-8 11, Natalye Gallagher 3-7 1-2 7, Jaclyn Jewell 0-3 2-2 2, Melanie Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Meghann Blackburn 0-0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Waddle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals:16-34 20-22 61.
HARLAN COUNTY (18-7)
Kaitlyn Stittums 1-3 2-3 4, Lauren Lee 3-8 0-0 7, Brooklyn Massingill 5-13 1-4 13, Bella Noe 3-9 2-2 8, Shannon Shackleford 4-6 3-4 11, Lindsay Branson 1-3 1-2 3, Kaylea Gross 1-2 0-1 2, Bridgett Bennett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-44 9-16 48.
Corbin19 16 11 16 — 62
Harlan County12 13 16 7 — 48
3-point goals: Corbin 10-13 (K. Wilson 5-5, M. Wilson 4-4, Ashurst 1-2, Jewell 0-2), Harlan County 3-10 (Massingill 2-4, Lee 1-3, Stittums 0-1, Branson 0-2). Rebounds: Corbin 20 (M. WIlson 5, Gallagher 5, K. WIlson 4, Ashley 4, Jewell 1, Blackburn 1), Harlan County 20 (Shackleford 7, Lee 4, Massingill 4, Noe 3, Stittums 1, Gross 1). Turnovers: Corbin 15, Harlan County 12. Fouled out: Harlan County (Lee).