CORBIN — Coming into his team’s first round match-up with North Laurel in Tuesday’s 13th Region Tournament, Corbin coach Jason McDaniel knew his team would see a different Lady Jaguar team than the one his team beat earlier in the season, 86-48.
He was right.
North Laurel surprised many by taking an 11-9 lead into the second quarter before seeing the Lady Redhounds take the lead late in the first half and never relinquish it after a 10-0 run.
Corbin continued to frustrate the Lady Jaguars in the second half with its press and rolled to a 59-40 win.
“They knew they belonged,” McDaniel said of North Laurel.
But so did the Lady Redhounds.
Corbin took advantage of North Laurel’s lack of size, and consistently fed Natalye Gallagher in the post, and she made the Lady Jaguars pay.
Gallagher scored 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the 19-point win.
“Natalye Gallagher was a difference maker,” McDaniel said. “We were able to to expose them down low.
“We’ve got a veteran team,” he added. “We start four seniors. I felt nerves played (a part) early. (We were) going a bit to fast.”
North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan was pleased with his team’s effort but admitted they ran out of gas during the second half.
“We got off to a good start, but we weren’t shooting well,” he said. “We got tired, and when we got tired we started making mistakes.”
Despite seeing Corbin go on a 10-0 run in the second quarter, North Laurel only trailed 27-23 at halftime.
But that’s when McDaniel decided to mix things up a bit on defense, which in turn led to some Lady Jaguar miscues.
“We started out with man, and then we went diamond-and-one up top,” he said.
The different defenses began to work as the Lady Redhounds’ lead grew to 39-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
Corbin began to pull away in the game’s final eight minutes, thanks in part to a tenacious press.
“We mixed and matched some of our presses,” McDaniel said.
And it worked.
After seeing North Laurel cut its deficit to 39-33 with 7:20 remaining, Corbin’s press took over and the Lady Redhounds went on a 10-2 run that put the game away.
Despite the loss, Mahan was pleased with the way his team performed.
“They rebounded from a horrible no-show in the district championship,” he said. “I’m proud of us showing up. I’m proud of our kids and how they came out tonight. We were playing hard; attacked the basket.”
The win moves to Corbin to a semifinal showdown with Bell County. It will be a rematch of last year’s 13th Region title game which saw the Lady Redhounds hand the Lady Bobcats a 63-60 loss.
McDaniel’s squad finished the game connecting on 21-of-56 from the floor, including a three-of-17 effort from three point range. Corbin only turned the ball 11 times in the win while out rebounding Mahan’s squad, 40-21.
North Laurel shot 14-of-42 and two-of-eight from three-point range while turning the ball over 15 times.
Miranda Wilson led Corbin with 16 points while grabbing eight rebounds and Sarah Ashley dished out 10 points and grabbed 10 boards.
Eighth grader Madison Sheppard led North Laurel with 10 points while MaKayla Sexton, Hannah Gray and Kayla Bruner each scored eight points apiece.
13th Region Girls Tournament
First Round at The Arena
Corbin, North Laurel
North Laurel 11 12 8 9 40
Corbin 9 18 12 20 59
North Laurel (40) — Sexton 8, Gray 8, Bruner 8, Lawson 3, Bridges 1, Sheppard 10, Brummett 2.
Corbin (59) — Ashley 10, Gallagher 12, Ashurst 5, M. Wilson 16, K. Wilson 9, Blackburn 4, Jewell 1, Waddle 2.