The 101st Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen basketball state tournament tips Wednesday at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Below is the team profile for the Corbin Redhounds, who will meet Estill County in the first round at noon Wednesday.
Enrollment: 945 (481 boys)
Tony Pietrowski is in his 17th season as coach of the Redhounds and has a record of 377-125. This is his fourth trip to the Sweet Sixteen as a head coach.
3) Brody Barton, 6-0, Jr., 2.3 ppg
10) Chase Sanders, 6-3, Jr., 12.6 ppg
15) Chandler Stewart, 6-0, Sr., 16.8 ppg
21) Andrew Taylor, 6-4, Sr., 28.6 ppg
32) Matthew Taylor, 6-3, So., 7.9 ppg
How they got here
Corbin survived a late charge by South Laurel in the regional championship game — a contest that went to OT — to earn another trip to Rupp, the school’s first in eight years. The Redhounds played in six different classics and invitational events inside the state — plus the City of Palms Classic in Florida, one of the nation’s premier high school showcases — during the regular season. “We put ourselves in a lot of different situations,” Pietrowski said. “We wanted to see what we were good at, and we wanted to see areas where we could improve. We had highs and lows with the level of play we went against, but I think that ultimately exposed some weaknesses that we could improve on, and that’s made us a better team in March.”
Player to watch
Taylor, a senior guard, came into this season with the reputation as one of the best players in the state, and he certainly lived up to it, leading the Redhounds with 28.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. The Furman signee is currently third all-time in the state with 3,588 career points, behind only King Kelly Coleman (4,337) and Charlie Osborne (3,647). He’s also 19th all time in rebounds. “He’s the best I’ve coached in 17 years here,” Pietrowski said. “Obviously, if you watch him play you see the ability he has. I think what a lot of people don’t know about him is his work ethic. He’s a kid who is literally in the gym every day improving his game.”
Pietrowski played in the 1991 Sweet Sixteen as a freshman at Corbin, then coached by Scott County’s Billy Hicks, and although he enjoyed a stellar high school career, he never made it back to the state tournament. The Redhounds coach said he thinks it’s important for his players to savor the short time between a region title and the trip to Rupp, and that’s what they’ve been doing with special team dinners and other celebrations. “I still have a lot of fond memories from my trip up there,” he said. “And that’s what I always preach to my underclassmen: ‘Enjoy this, but be hungry for it.’ I thought as a freshman that I would be making multiple trips up there, and I never got back.”
This is Corbin’s 15th appearance in the state tournament and its third in the past 10 seasons. The Redhounds won the state championship in 1936.