JAY COMPTON|Middlesboro Daily News
Middlesboro's Donnie Foister put up a floater during an 86-80 upset of Corbin in the first round of the 13th Region Tournament on Monday.
No early lead can be considered safe against the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets. When Corbin built a 24-8 lead after one quarter of Monday’s 13th Region Tournament opener, the Jackets had the Redhounds right where they wanted them. Middlesboro outscored Corbin 78-56 over the final three quarters as they went on to an 86-80 win to advance to Friday’s semifinals.
It was a balanced effort for the Jackets as senior Blake Davis came off the bench to score a career-high 22 points and lead five players in double figures. Donnie Foister finished with 20 points, Austin Poindexter 18, Micheal Wilson 12 and Zach Riddle 11 in the win.
“You’ve got Davis stepping up and knocking down big shots. Their pressure wasn’t able to hurt us as well as Wilson was taking care of the basketball and breaking down their defense, he had a great floor game and it just opened it up for everyone,” Middlesboro coach Russell Thompson said. “Everyone produced and everyone knew their roles going in and they all executed them with succcess.”
Thompson added that going in, he wasn’t sure what kind of effort he would be getting from his team.
“To be honest with you, I ususally feel like I’ve got a pretty good read on my team, but tonight I didn’t know. Did they want to keep pushing this thing further, or would they settle with what all we’ve accomplished? Because I felt like we have accomplished a lot, and especially with the way we got beat in the district tournament, it would have been easy for them to hang their head,” he said. “But no, something clicked there in the second quarter and they started seeing how much fun they have together. What a special group this is. They’ve put in the time and effort over the three years I’ve been here and it didn’t look like they were going to be denied by anybody tonight.”
Corbin was led by sophomore forward Trevor Hill’s 17 points. The Redhounds also got 16 off the bench from Kevin Goins while Hunter Grubbs added 13, Kaleb Maguet 12 and Robby Igo 11.
Hill, Grubbs, Goins and Mague all hit 3s in the first quarter as the Hounds jumped out to that 24-8 lead. But Middlesboro was able to use their pressure defense to Corbin out of their comfort zone, and started converting in transition to get back in the game.
Davis and Foister hit two 3s apiece in the second period with a Davis’ second one cutting the lead to 35-28.
Those two combined for 11 points as the Jackets opened the third quarter on a 13-6 run to tie the game 41 midway through the period. The lead went back-and-forth for a few possessions until another Davis 3 put Middlesboro up 47-45.
Foister and Poindexter followed with transition baskets the Jackets opened up a 57-49 lead going into the fourth.
The Redhounds didn’t fold and rallied to tie the game on a three-point play by Grubbs with 1:41 to play. But Poindexter answered with a layup off a long feed from Wilson. He then came up with a steal that led to a Davis layup. Davis then stole the ball and left a lob at the rim for Poindexter to throw down and it was 82-75 with 45 seconds to go.
Corbin ends the season with a record of 24-7 and won their fifth straight 50th District championship.
Middlesboro (16-13) advances to play Clay County in the semifinals on Friday at 6:15 p.m.. The Tigers got past Barbourville in Monday’s late semifinal.