By Dan Connell
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
CORBIN — Friday night’s opening game of the Cumberland Falls Invitational featured two 50th District teams, both looking for their first wins of the tournament.
South Laurel and Whitley County each suffered losses to Bell County, but were back in action and looking to gain some momentum to close out tournament play.
The Lady Colonels took advantage of a youthful and inexperienced South Laurel squad to pick up a 78-42 win at Gilliam Gymnasium.
Whitley County was aggressive from the opening tip and utilized their full court press to create problems for the Lady Cardinal offense and scoring several points off turnovers early in the contest.
Senior leaders Brandi Smith and Kandace Craig led the way in scoring in the first half as they showed why they are two of the top players in the district.
Smith closed out the first half with three 3-point field goals and led the Lady Colonels in scoring at the half with 17 points. Craig added nine points and was effective on both ends of the court.
Taylor Dingess, Hallie Jones, and Abbey Estes supplemented the Whitley scoring attack as the three of them combined for 17 points in the first half of play.
Whitley County led 45-23 at halftime as Craig and Dingess led all scores in the second half by combining for a total 16 points to close out the evening.
Whitley County head coach Donnie Jones said he was pleased with his team’s win.
“I thought we came out early and we were ready to play, and we made some shots,” Jones said. “We’ve been struggling shooting the ball a little bit , but started knocking some down.
“We’re trying to get it to where we push the ball every time, but we’ll get better as the season goes along.” Jones added.
South Laurel’s Konnie Snyder commented on the Lady Cardinal performance.
“I thought we did some things that we needed to do a little bit better tonight.” Snyder said. “We’ve got so far to go and we’ve just been improving on one small thing at a time.
“We just have a lot of things we need to work on individually and as a team, but they’ve got great attitudes and everybody’s working hard, and I can’t ask for anymore than that,” she added.
Whitley County played Southwestern Pulaski in the consolation and Corbin faced Bell County in the championship game on Saturday. South Laurel met Harlan.
Cumberland Falls Invitational
Whitley County 78, South Laurel 42
Whitley County 24 24 23 10—78
South Laurel 12 11 12 7—42
WHITLEY COUNTY (78)—Smith 21, Craig 18, Dingess 13, Jones 9, Estes 7, Hickey 6, Elliott 4.
SOUTH LAUREL (42)—Vandeventer 8, Baker 7, Cromer 7, Davis 5, Reynolds 5, Hacker 4, Niece 2, Madden 2, Miller 2.