Region: 13th Record: 27-3 Enrollment: 697
Tony Pietrowski is in his ninth year as coach of the Redhounds and has a record of 200-54. He played for Corbin as a freshman in the 1991 Sweet Sixteen. As a senior, he was runner-up in Mr. Basketball voting to Elton Scott of Marion County.
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Madison Johnson 6-4 sr. 21.0 ppg
Isaac Wilson 5-10 sr. 17.8 ppg
Aaron Manns 6-3 sr. 9.7 ppg
Travis Smith 6-2 so. 6.9 ppg
Matthew Taylor 5-11 jr. 4.2 ppg
Corbin's strength is its senior backcourt of Johnson and Wilson. "They've proven to be one of the best guard combinations in the state," Pietrowski said. But the Redhounds couldn't have repeated as region champs for the first time since 1952 without a strong supporting cast. Manns and Smith are capable of having big games, while Taylor, Brody Freeman, Taylor Jones and Luke Stewart have filled valuable roles. Corbin likes an up-tempo style (70 ppg), but Pietrowski knows his team can't be pushed into playing too fast by Scott County's pressure defense.
Player to watch
Johnson has impressive stats, notably a 21-point scoring average, but Pietrowski said his senior star "draws so many double teams, his unselfishness dampens his numbers." Johnson does more than score for the Redhounds. He leads them in rebounds (6.4), hits his free throws (124 of 174 for 71 percent) and his three-pointers (50 of 120 for 42 percent). "He has a really high ceiling," Pietrowski said. "He's one of the few kids we've got that can match up athletically with some of Scott County's guys."
Former student vs. former teacher
What's it like for Pietrowski to face Scott County Coach Billy Hicks, whom he played for at Corbin? "Early in my coaching career, it was really hard because Coach Hicks was synonymous with Corbin basketball, and I was just getting started. But now I feel like I've established myself as a good coach, so it's a lot more enjoyable." Pietrowski's senior year at Corbin was Hicks' last before he left for Scott County.
Corbin won the state title in 1936. This is the Redhounds' 14th trip to the state tournament, and their second in a row.
Scott County Cardinals
Region: 11th Record: 27-6 Enrollment: 2,300
Billy Hicks is in his 16th season at Scott County. He previously coached at Corbin, Harlan and Evarts. His overall record in 29 years is 758-206, including state titles in 1998 and 2007, and a runner-up finish in 1999.
Chad Jackson 6-4 sr. 16.5 ppg
Ge-Lawn Guyn 6-2 sr. 11.9 ppg
Dakotah Euton 6-8 sr. 15.1 ppg
Austin Flannery 6-2 sr. 9.5 ppg
Tamron Manning 6-3 so. 5.8 ppg
When Scott County is on top of its game, it can suffocate just about anybody. The Cardinals' overall length and the quickness of Jackson, Guyn and Manning can create chaos defensively. "When we're playing hard on defense, that's when we're at our best," Hicks said. Scott County's offensive weapons are many. Nagged by sore knees in the regular season, Guyn has regained his hop. Jackson is a beast at getting to the basket. Euton, who has more than 3,000 points and 1,500 rebounds in his career, has a knack of hitting timely three-pointers. Flannery can get on a hot streak from the perimeter. Manning is at his best in transition. Providing a lift off the bench are Tanner Shotwell, Isiah Ivey and Will Schu.
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On a team of talented pieces, Jackson is the glue that holds everything together. "Chad's a quiet assassin," Hicks said. "He doesn't say a whole lot, but he goes out and gets the big rebounds, the big put-backs, the big steals. He does so many things for us." Jackson, who has committed to James Madison, leads the Cardinals in minutes played. A quick jumper, he's terrific around the rim as a scorer and rebounder (6.9 rpg). He also leads the team in steals.
"Corbin will always have a tremendous place in my heart," said Hicks, who coached the Redhounds for eight seasons before leaving for Scott County 16 years ago.
Scott County is in the state tournament for the 12th time. It won the title in 1998 and 2007, and was runner-up in 1999.