Patience and persistence are essential for Pietrowski's Redhounds

·4 min read

Nov. 29—CORBIN — With four starters returning to the mix, including one of the state's top players in Hayden Llewellyn, many expect Tony Pietrowski's Corbin Redhounds to make a run at their first 13th Region championship since 2018.

To do so, Corbin must hurdle some obstacles that could stand in its way early in the season.

"We face a hurdle that not many if any in our region face," Pietrowski said. "We have 27 kids that play football, 11 of which will contribute specifically to the varsity level. Plain and simple, it's going to take time for us to get in shape, find roles and install our system. I believe that if we have the patience and work ethic will be in the mix for a trip to Rupp by season's end."

The Redhounds are coming off a 14-8 campaign that saw them turn in a runner-up effort in the 50th District before falling to North Laurel in the 13th Region Tournament semifinals.

Llewellyn (23.4 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game) returns as a starter along with Brody Wells (10.5, 6.1), Dakota Patterson (7.8, 6.4), and Carter Stewart (12.8, 2.5).

"Each player possesses some elite athleticism and basketball ability," Pietrowski said.

All eyes are on Lewellyn, who transferred from Jellico, Tenn. last season, and quickly emerged as one of the top scorers in the 13th Region.

He shot 51.2 percent from the floor (199-of-289) while knocking down a team-best 47 3-pointers (47-of-133). Llewellyn also shot 74.5 percent (70-of-94) from the free-throw line.

"Hayden is extremely underrated, in my opinion," Pietrowski said. "He's had a chip on his shoulder this summer and worked hard on some weak areas in his game. I expect a big-time year out of him this season.

"You put a group of elite athletes together like Seth (Mills), Dakota, Brody, and Carter — that is a strong nucleus to work around. I'm also very excited about Trey Worley, Zander Curry, and Eli Pietrowski — three kids that will defiantly come on the scene this season."

Pietrowski said Mills (3.5, 3.6), Worley (2.6, 1.6), Curry (1.0, 0.9), Kade Elam, and Eli Pietrowski are players that will contribute this season.

"They are guys I foresee playing a big role in our success this season," he said.

Pietrowski states the key to his team's success is to "come into each practice and game and get better."

"We will be behind in numerous aspects of the game early in the season," he admitted. "That said, by year's end, I expect this team to be representing the 13th Region at Rupp."

To reach their potential, Pietrowski has scheduled another tough slate that will challenge the Redhounds out of the gate.

"We play an extremely challenging schedule this season," he said. "We play all of the top teams in our region twice, a tough Christmas tournament and out of region opponents like Lafayette, Fredrick Douglas, Southwestern, and Madison Central. There are zero show up and win games for us."

With the talent he returns, many believe Corbin has the best chance to unseat South Laurel as 50th District champions.

"You have to place South in the No. 1 spot until someone knocks them off," he said. "Both Whitley and Williamsburg are going to be very tough as well. We have aspirations of cutting the nets down this season — time will tell."

Corbin is also slated as one of the top teams in the 13th Region. Many preseason polls, including the 13th Region Coaches Poll, have the Redhounds ranked No. 3 entering the 2021-22 campaign.

"Everyone is picking North and Knox, and deservedly so," Pietrowski said. "With that said, there are numerous teams with a chance to win it in the end. I firmly believe we are one of those teams. I can't wait to get all our guys back in the gym together and start working towards that goal.

"Patience and persistence are essential for our team," he added. "If we can stick to the grindstone and put in the work we have a chance at a special season."

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