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1. North Laurel (19-2 overall, 8-2 against 13th Region competition) — The Jaguars are playing some pretty darn good basketball as of late. North Laurel’s 61-57 win over No. 3 Clay County this past week thwarted them into the region’s top spot. The play of Peyton Broughton, Brian Gray, Kyle Jeffers, Adam Sizemore, Bryson Asher and Jaret Lipps has been key of late. Broughton scored 28 in North Laurel’s win against Lee County while Jeffers and Gray came up big against Clay County. Sizemore continues to run the point guard position as good as any one in the region while Asher is improving, and Lipps has turned into a lock down defender. The Jaguars will be challenged this week with road games against No. 10 Bell County and No. 2 South Laurel on the horizon.

2. South Laurel (17-5, 8-2) — The Cardinals had a minor setback with a loss to Corbin this past week, but answered with wins over Williamsburg and West Jessamine. The win over the Colts is impressive for a couple of reasons — No. 1 West Jessamine came within a minute from handing top-ranked Mercer County its first loss of the season, and No. 2 — any time you can go on the road and grab a win against a 12th Region team, it’s big. South Laurel will be home for the remainder of the regular season after only playing four home games so far. The Cardinals have a chance to regain the top spot if they can get past No. 1 North Laurel Friday.

3. Clay County (16-6, 10-3) — I almost dropped the Tigers to the No. 4 spot, but their win over Whitley County kept me from doing it. I will say this — there is some concern in the Tiger camp (they’re 5-5 during their last 10 games), but now January is over ,and it’s time for Clay County to focus on the big picture — district and regional title runs. We all know the Tigers are talented enough to win the region, but they’ve got to get better defensively, and distributing the ball to open teammates. I’ve been really impressed with the way Wes Wolfe has been playing lately.

4. Corbin (14-8, 8-4) — I’m not sure any team in the region and a better week than the Redhounds. Corbin picked up wins over No. 2 South Laurel, No. 9 Barbourville and No. 10 Bell County. The win over the Cardinals kept the Redhounds’ hopes of grabbing the 50th District Tournament’s No. 1 seed alive while their 103-102 triple overtime win over the Tigers might just be the game of the year. I’ll say this — no one had a better week than sophomore Andrew Taylor. He torched South Laurel for 34 points, Barbourville for 49 points and the Bobcats for 35 points. That’s 118 points in three games. Pretty darn good, huh?

5. Harlan County (16-4, 8-1) — The Black Bears snapped a two-game losing skid by grabbing wins against No. 10 Bell County and No. 9 Barbourville this past week. Both Cameron Carmichael and Treyce Spurlock continue to shine for Harlan County.

6. Knox Central (10-6, 6-2) — The Panthers had been riding high with a two-game win streak, but losses to Scott County, and Wayne County has given them a two-game losing skid. Chad Marsee has been consistent during the stretch, scoring 13 points against Scott County while adding 20 int he loss to Wayne County.

7. Whitley County (13-9, 6-6) — The Colonels remain a dangerous team. Whitley County saw its three-game win streak come to an end after losing to No. 3 Clay County, 68-58. The Colonels have a big week ahead with games against Corbin and Williamsburg on the horizon.

8. Pineville (15-5, 10-2) — The Mountain Lions were another team that saw a win streak come to an end. Prineville saw its four-game win streak fall to the wayside after losing to University Heights, 69-34, in first round action of the All “A” Classic State Tournament.

9. Barbourville (11-10, 7-6) — The Tigers are losers of three straight, but have no reason to hang their heads. They recovered from an 82-53 loss to No. 8 Pineville, falling short to No. 4 Corbin, 103-102, in triple overtime. Barbourville tried to get things going against No. 5 Harlan County, but eventually lost, 72-64.

10. Bell County (9-11, 4-6) — The Bobcats are losers of four straight, and will go as far as Zach Partin and Victor morris takes them.

11. Oneida Baptist (8-10, 6-9) — The Mountaineers picked up a win over No. 16 Middlesboro before losing to No. 1 North Laurel, 74-52, this past week.

12. Jackson County (7-12, 2-7) — The Generals are 3-7 during their last 10 games.

13. Lynn Camp (13-8, 7-5) — The Wildcats started the season 9-1, but are only 4-7 since. guard Bruce Hopkins continues to play well along with Austyn Weddle.

14. Harlan (12-8, 5-5) — The Green Dragons have quietly won six of their last eight games.

15. Williamsburg (2-13, 2-11) — The defending 13th Region champions are 1-9 during their last 10 games.

16. Middlesboro (1-21, 1-14) — The Yellow Jackets are riding a 17-game losing streak.

17. Red Bird (3-15, 0-13) — Since winning two games in a row, the Cardinals have dropped six straight.