The 14th Region in 2012-13 will be a 5 team race between Perry County Central, Breathitt County, Hazard, Knott County Central and Letcher County Central. There is no indication that Knott County Central will be unable to repeat as Region Champions because they most certainly can. The one major change that has happened in the 14th Region this off-season is that Perry County Central head coach Allan Hatcher stepped down to take a job in West Virginia and Sheldon Clark Head Coach Kevin Spurlock was named the new head coach at Perry County Central.
Preseason 14th Region Rankings
1. Perry County Central - The Commodores have a new coach in Kevin Spurlock. Spurlock comes in with a 211-94 win-loss total. He has coached at Hazard (2002-2006), Clay County (2006-2010) and he most recently spent two years at Sheldon Clark (2010-2012). Returning for the Commodores are seniors Austin Pray (a 6’2 Guard) and Dalton Cornett (a 6’6 Center), along with freshman star Braxton Beverly (a 5’10 Point Guard). Perry County Central also welcomes 2014 phenom Justin Johnson who transferred from Sheldon Clark this summer. These kids can score at will and will have Perry Central as a force to be reckoned with this upcoming season. The Commodores are looking to win their sixth regional championship in fifteen years.
2. Hazard - Coach Holland and the Bulldogs are looking to get back into the thick of things in the 14th Region. The Bulldogs haven’t been to the regional championship game since 2009, when they defeated Perry County Central 51-48 to win the regional championship. Returning for Hazard are seniors Jordan Olinger and Evan Whitaker, in addition to junior Josh Hollan. The Bulldogs also welcome Chris Hudson (a 6’5 SF/PF – SG) who transferred from Cordia. When those players get into the groove of things they are hard to slow down. In the 54th District you’ll more than likely see a Hazard vs. Perry County Central district championship game.
3. Knott County Central - Coach BB King and the Patriots are looking to once again make it to the regional championship game where they have been for the past four years. The Patriots will be another tough out for anyone in the region. The loss of Zach Davis will hurt The Patriots but they do return seniors Blake Shrum and Cory Shout. The Patriots also return junior star Camron Justice (a 6’1 Guard). Justice will be the heart and soul for the Patriots this season, trying to lead his team back to the regional championship. The Patriots did lose Austin Mullins who transferred to Powell County.
4. Breathitt County - Denny Fugate will be in his second year as head coach of the Breathitt County Bobcats, hoping to lead his team back to the regional tourney where they came up short of upsetting Knott County Central last year. The returning Bobcats are Ryan Cox, Bobby Fraley, Brayton and Michael Fugate , standout guard Alex Hamilton, Richard Trent and junior Wes Noble. The Bobcats also welcome back Cory Shouse who transferred to Pike County Central a few years back, but has returned again to Breathitt County. These kids can score at will and they work very well together. They will also be another tough out for anyone.
5. Letcher County Central - Coach Hammonds will once again try and lead his Cougars back to the regional tournament. The Whitesburg community is really pumped up for this year’s Cougar team. The Cougars return Josh Boggs, Max Hall, Dylan Kincer, Cody Sexton and Cody Gregory. The kids play well together. They can score. The player leading the Cougars will be Cody Gregory, a senior guard.
6. Estill County - Jon Bentley is in his third season as the head coach of the Engineers. With a 29-36 record, Bentley is hoping to coach his Engineers to their first district championship since 2008 and back to the regional tournament. Estill County was dealt a big blow earlier this year when sophomore guard Trevor Jones tore his MCL in a football game against Breathitt County. Trevor is out for the rest of the football season and all of the basketball season. He is expected to return from injury in about five months. Michael Bishop or Josiah Muncie will be the one that steps up and leads this team. The Engineers return seniors Brandon Morris (a 6’4 PF/C), Colby Baber (a 5’9/6’0 Guard), Josiah Muncie (a 6’2 Guard), along with juniors Trenton and Trevor Jenkins (6’0/6’1 Guards) and Chase Alexander (a 6’9 Center). Once this group gets going, they can put points up in a hurry. Baber, in particular, is a deadly three point shooter who can knock down shots in a flurry.
7. Powell County - The Pirates will take a step back this year, having lost most of their scoring from last season's regional semi-final team. However, Coach Hall will have his Pirates ready and they may surprise some people in the District Tournament. Powell County returns Trey Marcum, who is arguably the best shooter in the 14th Region, Brett Goodwin who is their best forward and Caleb McCoy who is another one of their best guards. Powell also welcomed Austin Mullins who transferred from Knott County Central. Can the Pirates upset Lee or Estill in the district tournament to make it to region? It is possibly, but they have some work to do.
8. Lee County - The Bobcats will be back in the thick of things in the 56th District as they return nearly everyone. When it comes to district championships, Coach Wright has had Estill County’s number. The Bobcats return junior guards Brant Cornelius and Blake Gabbard, who are solid shooters from behind the arc. They also return junior forward Clint Cox who is another good three point shooter. The biggest return for the Bobcats will be senior forward Tyler Evans. Can Lee make it out of the first round of the district and get back to region? They have some work to do. None of it comes easy.
9. Owsley County - Owsley County will be under a new head coach. Paul Green has moved over from coaching the Owsley County Lady Owls to Coach the Owls in 2012-13. Green is an outstanding coach who can get the best out of his players. People may think that this team will not be a threat, but they will be very dangerous and will surprise some people come District Tournament time. The Owls return everyone from a team that went 7-19 a year ago. The Owls nearly upset both Estill County and Powell County at home last year, losing to Estill County by 2 and losing to Powell County by 5. Owselyl hopes to be able to get over the hump and make it back to region where they haven’t been since 2010.
10. Wolfe County - The Wolves will take a step back this year, due primarily to the loss of top scorer Sawyer Denniston from a year ago. Coach Creech will find a way to try and get his Wolves back to the regional tournament. The Wolves return promising guard Corey Conway, along with a pair of talented forwards in Garrett Dunn and Marshall Willouby-both of whom can rebound and score. The Wolves will have their hands full in a 55th District containing both Breathitt County and Jackson City.
11. Jackson City - Coach Karmit Back will once again try to lead his Tigers back to the regional tournament where they haven’t been since 2008. The last time this team went to the regional tourney, George Bellamy was the coach. The Tigers return nearly everyone from a team that went 8-20. A competitive district will make it tough for Jackson City to end the four-year regional tournament drought, but they certainly have an opportunity.
12. Cordia - Rodrick Rhodes will be in his second year as head coach at Cordia. Rhodes is hoping to coach his Lions to the region tournament for the first time in his brief coaching career. The Lions haven’t been to the region tournament since 2008. Cordia will be hurting since the Williams brothers have transferred back to Texas and Chris Hudson has transferred to Hazard.
13. Buckhorn - It is going to be a tough year for coach John Noble and his Buckhorn Wildcats as they lost all of their scoring from a team that went 26-6 and a regional runner-up a year ago. The Wildcats do return junior center Richard Stidham, a talented player who can rebound and score when he’s around the basket. Aside from Stidham, however, the Wildcats have very little returning from last season.
14. Jenkins - Kudos to Coach Eric Ratliff. He will try and coach his Jenkins Cavaliers to the regional tournament where they haven’t been since 2005. The Cavaliers return nearly all of their scoring from a team that went 9-20 a year ago.
15. Leslie County - Eagles will have a new man at the helm, Daniel Day. Day is hoping to get his Eagles back to the regional tournament where they haven’t been since 2006. The Eagles lost most of their scoring from last year, meaning that they will be in a rebuilding mode yet again.
16. June Buchanan - The Crusaders have started their program back up and look to pick up some wins on the season and possibly sneak into the regional tournament. The Crusaders shut their program down for the 2011-12 basketball season due to lack of players participating. June Buchanan has also picked up some transfers, though it is unclear who those transfers are at this time.
17. Riverside Christian - The Rams will once again try to pick up some wins. Their last win came back on December 2 of 2010.
Top Players in the 14th Region
1. Braxton Beverly (Perry County Central) - 5’10 –FR – PG. He can do it all. Pass, score, play defense. He is the backbone to the Perry County Central Commodores. As a 7th Grader Braxton won the 14th Regional Tournament MVP. Braxton averaged 14.4 ppg last year for Perry County Central.
1. Camron Justice (Knott County Central) - 6’1-SO-Guard. Camron, or as most people call him, Cam, can score from deep or drive to the basket. Justice averaged 20.5 ppg last year for Knott County Central.
3. Justin Johnson (Perry County Central) - 6’5 –JR – Forward - This is Justin’s first year as a Perry Central Commodore. Justin averaged 14.6 ppg at Sheldon Clark last year. Justin currently has 4 scholarship offers from; Eastern Kentucky, Indiana State, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky.
3. Chris Hudson (Hazard) - 6'5 F/G. This will be Chris's first year at Hazard after transferring over from Cordia. Chris is a guy that can play the forward or guard position and can score and has good eye vision of the court. At Cordia last year Chris averaged 12 ppg and 7 rpg.
5. Wesley Noble (Breathitt County) - 6’5-JR-Guard. He can do a little of everything. He can score from deep or drive to the basket. Wes is also plays football for the Bobcats.
6. Alex Hamilton (Breathitt County) - 5’11-SR-PG. Alex is one of the best point guards in the 14th region. He can find open players and get them the ball. He can also score.
7. Evan Hall (Knott County Central) - 6’7-SO-F/C. One of the best big men in the region. When he gets the ball inside he is hard to stop. Evan averaged 9.6 ppg last year for Knott County Central. Additionally, Hall had 229 rebounds last year, amounting to 6.5 rebounds per-game.
8. Dalton Cornett (Perry County Central) - 6’6-SR-C. Is the best big man in the region. Not only is he deadly around the rim but he can also shoot the free throw, making 62% from the free throw line last year. Dalton averaged 11.3 ppg last year for the Commodores. Dalton also had 220 total rebounds averaging 7.9 per game.
9. Evan Whitaker (Hazard) - 6’5-SR. He can score from the outside.
10. Josh Hollan (Hazard) - 6’1-JR-G. Not only can he score from outside but he can also drive and pass.
11. Brandon Morris (Estill County) - 6’4-SR-Forward. When he has the ball he can score on the inside. He has been known to win games at the buzzer. Brandon averaged 15 ppg last year for Estill County. He also had averaged 6 rebounds per-game totaling around 200 rebounds on the season last year.
12. Trey Marcum (Powell County) - 5’8-SR-Guard. Trey is the best shooter in the region. When he get’s hot from the outside he is hard to stop. Trey averaged 15 ppg last year for Powell County. When Powell County’s season came to an end last year, his point total was 507. He made 95 three pointers while attempting 235. He has also been known to hit 30-footer’s to send games into overtime.