LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
CORBIN—When South Laurel and Corbin hooked up back on December 17, the Cardinals fell to the Redhounds, 66-61.
Tuesday night these two 50th District rivals met again in what some might call an instant classic, with the Cards prevailing in overtime, 65-62.
What was the difference between the first game and the second game?
“We’ve grown up a little,” South Laurel coach Jeff Davis said.
The win was also the fifth in a row for the grown up Cardinals, and moved them to 4-1 in district play with one district game left against Williamsburg. If the Cards win that game they would get the No. 1 seed in the district tournament.
“All week we told ourselves that we control our own destiny,” Davis said. “It’s good to control your own destiny.”
Davis also pointed out that the Redhounds (11-9, 2-2) were without one of their best players, Trevor Browning, who missed the game due to a death in the family.
“If he had played it would have been a different game,” Davis said. “Tony (Pietrowski, Corbin’s coach) did an excellent job. He makes me a better coach.”
“We just didn’t rebound well,” Pietrowski said. “I thought they really hurt us on the glass. I thought that was the difference in the game.”
The Cards (10-9, 4-1) were down five early in the fourth quarter after Corbin’s Kevin Goins drained a three pointer to give his team a 51-46 lead. He would finish with 31 to lead all scorers.
But the Cards came right back, using an 8-2 run to take a 54-53 lead with 2:38 left after a Zac Baxter jumper. Baxter led South Laurel with 26 points.
Two Baxter free throws with 20.2 seconds left gave South a three point lead, 58-55, and the Cards looked poised to win the game in regulation. But Goins had other plans as his three fell with 9.1 seconds left to tie the game at 58-58 and send it into overtime.
In the extra session, Trevor Grubb gave South a 60-58 lead with 3:52 left, a lead the Cards would never relinquish. Corbin had a chance to tie and even take the lead from the free throw line, but Taylor Waddle missed three free throws. On the other end, Brennen Miller found Vince Holcomb, who scored on a lay-up to push the lead to four, 62-58.
After Goins drained two free throws, Miller and Holcomb both made saves on the other end to keep the ball alive for the Cardinals. Holcomb then scored again, this time off an assist from Jared Grubb, and South was once again up by four, 64-60.
With the lead now 65-62, Corbin had one last chance, but Goins’ forced a three from the corner and it missed, leaving South with the three point win.
“Our guys fought and never gave up,” Davis said.
The game was close throughout. South led 8-5 midway through the first quarter before Corbin ended the quarter with an 11-2 run for a 14-10 lead. The second quarter saw South open things with a 7-0 run to take a 17-14 lead before Corbin came back to tie the game at 17-17, then take a 22-19 lead after Andrew Taylor nailed a three at the 2:33 mark. A three from Jared Grubb, who finished with 20, tied the game at 24-24. A three by Brennan Miller brought South within one at the half, 28-27.
“Even when Corbin came back and hit some big shots we didn’t lose our composure,” Davis said.
The third quarter was a lot like the second, with both teams battling back and forth as there was several lead changes and ties. A three-point play by Goins pushed Corbin’s lead to 38-33 with 4:28 left before South responded with a 9-4 run to tie the game at 42-42. Corbin would lead after three, 48-44.
“Our guys fought and never gave up,” Davis said. “I’m really proud of how we kept fighting.”
The Cards were scheduled to host Knox Central Thursday night, then travel to take on Barbourville tonight.
South Laurel 65, Corbin 62 (OT)
South Laurel 10 17 17 14 7—65
Corbin 14 14 20 10 4—62
SOUTH LAUREL (65)—J. Grubb 20, Baxter 26, Helton 6, Bre. Miller 5, Holcomb 6, T. Grubb 2.
CORBIN (62)—Taylor 12, Goins 31, Waddle 9, Hopper 4, Shelton 4, Maquet 2.