The Corbin Lady Hounds sent their seniors out in memorable fashion Friday night with a big 88-53 win over the visiting Harlan Lady Dragons on senior night.
The four seniors in the starting lineup all played big roles in the game, led by the Wilson sisters, Miranda and Kayla. Miranda Wilson finished with a game-high 25 points, while Kayla Wilson poured in 12 points of her own. Fellow seniors Sarah Ashley and Brooklyn Ashurst added 12 and five points, respectively. The fifth senior on the team, Bryanna Moore, was sidelined due to injury.
“All five of these seniors have meant so much for our program. I’ve just been their coach one year, but being around them in the high school I’ve seen that they’re tremendous young ladies,” said McDaniel. “It’s been a great year for us having them in this program, and I’m extremely honored to be able to coach them.”
It was a nice win for Jason McDaniel’s squad, who most consider one of the top teams in the region. Harlan’s Derrick Akal, who coaches a pretty good team himself, commended the Lady Hounds on their style of play.
“Corbin is a really good team. Defensively, they’re tough. I thought their guards were scrappy and they got all the 50-50 balls,” said Akal. “Coming in here against their competitiveness — you can’t simulate that in practice. I give all the credit to Corbin.”
It was the seniors that helped Corbin to a quick 8-2 lead just three minutes into the game. Kayla Wilson got the scoring started with a short jumper, followed by an and-one play by Miranda Wilson. A three-point shot by Ashurst on the next trip down the floor forced Akal to take his first timeout with five-minutes left in the first quarter.
“This was senior night tonight and I’ve had to watch those girls play like that for four years. The Wilson girls and the rest of the seniors, they are just good players,” said Akal. “They can shoot the ball, they can handle the ball, and they just jumped out on us early.”
Harlan was able to battle back in the first quarter, knocking down four three-point shots in the last five minutes of the period. Jordan Ledfourd hit two shots from beyond-the-arc and Jordan Brock and Macie Charles each made one. Despite the hot shooting from the Lady Dragons, Corbin held on to a 18-14 lead after one.
The teams were back-and-forth early on in the second quarter. Harlan was able to pull within one point, 28-27, midway through the quarter, but that was when the Lady Hounds took over. Corbin proceeded to outscore the Lady Dragons 12-4 in the final three minutes of the second, to take a 40-31 advantage into the half.
Brock led Harlan in the second period, scoring six of her nine points, but would not return to the game in the second half due to an ankle injury.
That would prove to be a game-changer, as the Corbin defense held the Lady Dragons to just four field goals in the entire second half.
“They’re starting point guard, Brock, who is just a freshman and averaging about 25 points per game, had a bum ankle and that made a difference in the game, especially in the second half when she was out,” said McDaniel. “I thought we played well for the most part. We had some slip ups on defense, but overall I was pleased with the way our girls played.”
Back-to-back baskets by junior Ashley Gallagher gave the Lady Hounds a 44-31 lead just a minute into the third quarter. A three-point basket by sophomore Jaclyn Jewell and a put back by Ashley gave Corbin their biggest lead of the night, at 57-39 and they went on to take a 59-41 lead into the final quarter.
To cap the night off, the Lady Hounds outscored Harlan 29-12 in the fourth quarter. Miranda WIlson nailed three shots from downtown in the period before being taken out of the game to cheers from the home town. Both teams finished it out with their reserves in the game, as Corbin took an 88-53 win.
With the district tournament just days away, McDaniel likes the way his team is playing.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to come into practice or games and tell our girls to play hard. It’s just there, and that’s a characteristic that they’ve obviously had before I got here, and I see it filtering down to our younger players, too,” said McDaniel. “We had some times where we went through the motions tonight and made some mistakes on defense. But, we’re shooting the ball better and that is what really helped tonight.”
The Lady Hounds will take on Williamsburg in the first round of the 50th District Tournament on Tuesday. Harlan will face crosstown rival Harlan County in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament on Monday.
Corbin (88) — Miranda Wilson 25, Kayla Wilson 12, Sarah Ashley 12, Jaclyn Jewell 12, Natalye Gallagher 10, Candice Gulley 7, Brooklyn Ashurst 5, Meghann Blackburn 2, Morgan Philpot 2, Kaitlyn Waddle 1.
Harlan (53) — Jourdan Ledford 15, Torri Mitchell 11, Jordan Brock 9, Masie Charles 5, McKenzie King 4, Madelynn Henson 4, Emily Bianchi 2, Callie Wilson 2, Shanae Thomas 1.
Corbin 18 22 19 29 - 88
Harlan 14 17 10 12 - 53