Boys Top Five
1. Harlan Co. (14-2 overall, 6-0 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: The Black Bears continue to roll along against 13th Region opponents, but dropped a 60-54 decision to Lincoln County this past week.
Surprise, surprise: Harlan County remains the most consistent team in the 13th Region and they have now separated themselves from the rest of the pack, but they still have to get over the postseason hump of being 0-4 all-time in the 13th Region Tournament.
What’s ahead: The Black Bears continue to play in the WYMT Classic the remainder of the week before traveling to play No. 2 ranked Clay County in a huge 13th Region matchup.
2. Clay County (11-4, 3-1)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers picked up a big 68-67 come from behind win at home over 49th District rival Jackson County, but followed with a disappointing 81-53 loss at home to Wayne County.
Surprise, surprise: Clay County moved another step closer to capturing the 49th District’s top seed after Stephon Lyttle’s last-second shot secured the one-point win for the Tigers.
What’s ahead: Clay County will finish up play in the WYMT Classic the remainder of the week before hosting Harlan County in a huge 13th Region matchup on Tuesday.
3. Jackson County (10-7, 5-1)
What’s the scoop: The Generals might have seven losses so far, but they’ve shown against 13th Region teams they belong mentioned with the best teams.
Surprise, surprise: Jackson County had rival Clay County down as many as 14 points before seeing the Tigers rally to pick up a slim one-point win. It looks more than likely Jackson County and North Laurel will meet up in an elimination game in the first round of the 49th District Tournament.
What’s ahead: The Generals will host Williamsburg in a 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic play-in game Saturday and if they win they’ll advance to quarterfinal action of the tournament which will be held at Red Bird High School.
4. Corbin (12-5, 6-2)
What’s the scoop: This has been another fantastic coaching job Tony Pietrowski and his coaching staff has turned in this season. The Redhounds are a dangerous team and look to be only getting better as the season progresses.
Surprise, surprise: Both Robbie Igo and Kevin Goins have stepped up their play and it has turned into some excellent results for Pietrowski’s squad. Igo has put together back-to-back double figure games in scoring while Goins scored 16 points during his first varsity start this season.
What’s ahead: Corbin will host Whitley County in a 50th District battle Friday and North Laurel Tuesday. The Redhounds have a key stretch of games coming up.
5. Barbourville (9-5, 5-2)
What’s the scoop: Speaking of fantastic coaching jobs, Dinky Phipps continues to show why he’s one of the best coaches in the state with the way his Tigers have surprised this season.
Surprise, surprise: If you’re going to beat Barbourville, you’ve got to find a way to contain Devon Mills, who hit the game-winning shot against Knox Central this past Tuesday, and you’ve also got to keep an eye on Alexander Phipps, who is the best three-point shooter in the region.
What’s ahead: Barbourville will compete in the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament in Red Bird next week.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 Pineville (10-5, 7-5)
What’s the scoop: The Mountain Lions are beginning to live up to their preseason hype. It will be interesting to see how they do during next week’s 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament.
No. 7 Knox Central (10-6, 2-2)
What’s the scoop: The Panthers have lost two straight games to 51st District opponents. The loss of Matt Barger to a hip injury has been big.
No. 8 South Laurel (6-8, 3-2)
What’s the scoop: The Cardinals are getting healthy and that’s a good thing for coach Jeff Davis. South Laurel picked up two big wins this past week with one coming against defending 13th Region champion North Laurel.
No. 9 North Laurel (9-8, 4-4)
What’s the scoop: The Jaguars just can’t seem to get much going offensively.
No. 10 Bell County (6-9, 3-4)
What’s the scoop: Keep an eye on the Bobcats. They are getting better and better and look to be a threat once postseason play begins.
Girls Top Five
1. Harlan Co. (18-1 overall, 9-0 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: This is the first time since the 2008 season boys and girls teams from the same school (South Laurel) were ranked No. 1 at the same time. That’s pretty impressive for the Bears and Lady Black Bears basketball teams.
Surprise, surprise: Harlan County finally got over the hump in the 13th Region by defeating Clay County for the first time in school history this past week in overtime, 59-49.Just how impressive have the Lady Black Bears been? Well they haven’t lost to an instate team yet.
What’s ahead: Harlan County will hit the road Saturday and face-off against Letcher Central before hosting McCreary Central Tuesday.
2. Whitley County (11-4, 4-0)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Colonels fall from the top spot while posting a 3-4 record during their last seven games. Whitley County has played some top-notch competition during the stretch, but needs to be a bit more consistent.
Surprise, surprise: Losing Kandace Craig for four to six weeks is a huge loss for Larry Anderson’s squad. The big key for Whitley County is to be able to get her back for the postseason, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
What’s ahead: The Lady Colonels will travel to play Corbin Friday in a 50th District matchup and will have a week to rest before their game against 50th District foe South Laurel.
3. Clay County (12-3, 4-2)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Tigers suffered their second loss to a 13th Region opponent this season this past week against Harlan County. Just goes to show you how impressive their dominance had been before the season dating back to the 2005-06 campaign — they had only lost twice to regional opponents during that span.
Surprise, surprise: The Lady Tigers’ post play has been solid this season with Cheyenne Madden averaging 17.7 points per game while Morgan Chestnut (14.7) and Sara Robinson (10.4) follow. It’s the perimeter play that has been a concern. Just goes to show you how important Alicia Mitchell has been to the team for the past four years.
What’s ahead: Clay County will be back in action Saturday on the road against 12th Region favorite Lincoln County before hitting the road again Monday against Corbin in a 13th Region matchup.
4. Bell County (13-3, 6-1)
What’s the scoop: Things have been silent over on Log Mountain the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean the Lady Bobcats aren’t a threat to win the 13th Region crown.
Surprise, surprise: Bell County has responded well since losing to Harlan County a couple of weeks ago. The Lady Bobcats have put together a 6-2 record since the loss with setbacks coming against Rockcastle County and Woodford County.
What’s ahead: Bell County will be in action today on the road against South Laurel while hosting McCreary Central on Friday. They’ll hit the road again Tuesday against Williamsburg.
5. Corbin (12-6, 7-2)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Redhounds continue to get better and better. Corbin has scored more than 60 points four games in a row.
Surprise, surprise: The Lady Redhounds are winners of four straight and picked up their third win this season against 50th District rival South Laurel this past week.
What’s ahead: Corbin will host Whitley County Friday before hitting the road Saturday and play Assumption. The Lady Redhounds will host Clay County Monday in a big 13th Region matchup.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 Lynn Camp (13-3, 7-2)
What’s the scoop: This is the highest the Lady Wildcat basketball program has ever been ranked. Lynn Camp picked up a huge win over Barbourville this past Monday and is only two wins away from capturing the school’s first-ever 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic championship.
No. 7 Barbourville (12-4, 7-3)
What’s the scoop: Many had tagged the Lady Tigers as the team to beat in the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament, but it wasn’t meant to be, as Lynn Camp pulled off the 56-51 win. Now Barbourville will switch its focus on trying to win the 51st District championship.
No. 8 South Laurel (7-9, 4-6)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Cardinals just can’t seem to get anything going at all. South Laurel has lost two straight and fell to 0-3 against Corbin this season after falling to the Lady Redhounds this past Monday.
No. 9 Pineville (10-7, 6-6)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Mountain Lions remain a team to keep your eye on. No doubt about it, they are a dangerous team. Pineville has the talent to win the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic if they can get past Jackson County. The Lady Mountain Lions are 0-2 against Lynn Camp, but 1-0 against Middlesboro.
No. 10 Knox Central (9-6, 4-3)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Panthers have picked up four wins in a row — with three of those coming against 13th Region teams. Knox Central has a chance to build on the momentum in the next couple of weeks.