Lady Hounds edge North Laurel in WYMT tourney finals


Kim Henson

The Corbin Lady Hounds edged North Laurel 76-75 on Saturday to win the WYMT Mountain Classic.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

A former star guard at Corbin High School with an appreciation for basketball history, coach Isaac Wilson was already thinking about how his team’s 76-75 thriller over North Laurel on Saturday in this year’s WYMT Mountain Classic would rank among all-time great games
“It’s an instant Mountain Classic. You see it on YouTube with Brian Milan,” Wilson said. “We knew this would probably come down to the final possession. I like that our team kind of self-regulated. I thought they gained poise without me trying to call a timeout. I thought North did a really good job of getting us out of what we wanted to do for a stretch. Our kids took the leadership goal to get us back together.”
After playing to a 15-all tie after one quarter, Corbin grabbled control in the second quarter behind the play of junior guard Kylie Clem, who finished with a game-high 32 points. Clem had 11 points in the first quarter on three 3-pointers and added 12 more in the second as the Lady Hounds held a 35-32 lead at the break.
“She has been kind of down on her shooting, which is funny to say that when she comes out tonight and does what she did,” Wilson said. “She’s a hard worker and puts a lot of time into her game. She put in a lot of off-season work on her shooting, and as her coach I’m happy to see her come out and play so well in an event like this.”
“They came out as the aggressor. You’d think our team, after losing in the regional tournament last year, would come out as the aggressor, but their physicality was tough for us to match in the first half,” North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan said. “They were getting every loose ball and bumping us every time we got the ball. We just could not handle their physicality in the first two quarters.”
Corbin led 58-52 after three quarters, but North chipped away and took the lead with 3:10 left on a 3-pointer by Brooke Nichelson. McKnight’s basket with 2:08 to play pushed the lead to 72-69.
Darcie Anderson’s two free throws cut the deficit to one, then Clem’s 3 with 1:08 left put Corbin back ahead, this time to stay. Reagan Walker hit one of two free throws with 9.1 seconds left, but Corbin came up with the second of two rebounds off missed free throws down the stretch.
“We finally settled in against that, but it took a whole lot of energy coming back. I thought we were in a position, when we were up three, to play some possession basketball, but we made some bad decisions in throwing it to Chloe (McKnight) inside,” Mahan said. “We just didn’t play smart possession basketball that you have to play to win in tournament play. Key rebounds at key moments in the fourth quarter were back-breakers, especially off free throws.”
Anderson added 14 points for the Lady Hounds, followed by Kallie Housley with 13 and Bailey Stewart with 10.
Nichelson led North Laurel with 23 points. Emily Sizemore tossed in 18, McKnight had 14 and Bella Sizemore contributed 11.
Wilson says he won’t be surprised to see the Lady Jaguars again in March.
“This was two great basketball teams. I think this is part one of probably a three-part saga,” he said. “I’m just happy for my team and glad we were able to pull it out.”
“This will make both our teams a whole lot better,” Mahan said. “I hope it is the first of three rounds. We know we at least have another one at Corbin later on in the year, and I’m sure it will be a tough one as well.”
Corbin (76) — Darcie Anderson 14, Kallie Housley 13, Kylie Clem 32, Bailey Stewart 10, Reagan Walker 5, Mahayla Jordan 2.
North Laurel (75) — Jaedyn Black 6, Bella Sizemore 11, Brooke Nichelson 23, Emily Sizemore 18, Chloe McKnight 14, Gracie McKnight 3.

Corbin 15 20 23 18 — 76
North Laurel 15 17 20 23 — 75