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1. South Laurel (19-5 overall, 9-2 vs. 13th Region competition) — Surprise, surprise, we’ve got a new No. 1 ranked team again. But the top spot isn’t something new for the South Laurel Cardinals, it’s a place they’ve become accustomed to during the past month and a half. The Cardinals are riding a four-game win streak with impressive wins over West Jessamine, Russell County and former No. 1 North Laurel. South Laurel handed the Lakers their worse loss of the season (84-47) and the Cardinals had the Jaguars down by 22 before winning, 70-61. Senior center Caleb Taylor didn’t show any effects of a knee injury he suffered against Russell County during the North Laurel win, scoring 22 points, while recording 16 rebounds and blocking nine shots.

2. North Laurel (17-6, 11-1) — The Jaguars and a tough week with road games against Bell County and South Laurel before traveling to Lexington to face-off against Owen County. North Laurel managed to go 1-2 by picking up a win over the Bobcats. The Jaguars trailed by as many as 22 points against the Cardinals and managed to only score only 14 points in the first half before losing, 70-61. Junior Peyton Broughton turned in solid back-to-back games by scoring 34 and 30 points, respectively.

3. Clay County (18-6, 11-3) — The Tigers seem to have righted the ship since their loss to North Laurel by winning three in a row. They handed Whitley County a 10-point loss before rolling by Jackson and Shelby counties by 32 and 25 points, respectively. And it looks as if Clay County is going to go as far as the big three — Trey Farmer, Blake Smith and Wes Wolfe — takes them. Farmer scored 14, 16 and 25 points during the three-game stretch while Smith scored 22, 20 and 26 points and Wolfe added 16, eight and 20 point efforts.

4. Harlan County (19-4, 10-1) — I like this Black Bear team. They quietly sit at the No. 4 spot while all of the talk has been about South Laurel, North Laurel, Clay County, Corbin, etc. This team is dangerous folks. And harlan County has a shot at doing something no team has accomplished this season, beat South Laurel for the second time. After losing two straight, the Black Bears have now won five in a row.

5. Knox Central (12-7, 7-2) — The Panthers have played a tough stretch of games since the beginning of February, and a 66-53 win at home against Whitley County and a 58-54 road win against Corbin has the Panthers at the No. 5 spot. The duo of Chad Marsee and Wade Liford has been tough to stop for opposing teams. Liford averaged 18 points and eight rebounds during the past three games while Marsee averaged 15 points and 17 rebounds during the same span.

6. (tie) Corbin (16-9, 10-5) — The Redhounds headed into their game against Whitley County with a lot on the line. First off, a win over the Colonels would have assured them nothing worse than a coin flip for the district’s No. 1 seed. Secondly, they were riding a six-game win streak and were winners 10-of-their-last-11 games. But the Colonels had the final say, and surprised many around the region by defeating Corbin at home, 58-54. Now the Redhounds will have to see who they will play int he 50th District Tournament. A Whitley County win Saturday means a semifinal matchup with South Laurel, a Cardinal win means a semifinal matchup with host Whitley County.

6. (tie) Whitley County (14-10, 7-7) — There were some concerns after seeing the Colonels lose two straight, but those concerns were quickly erased when Whitley County ended Corbin’s hope of getting the 50th District Tournament’s No. 1 seed by winning at Corbin, 58-54. Now all Whitley County has to do is beat South Laurel on the road Saturday, and they are the district’s top seed. A loss? Then the colonels will have a third meeting against the Redhounds.

8. Barbourville (11-12, 7-6) — The Tigers are in a major slump currently. They have lost five in a row, and three of those defeats have been by double digits. If Barbourville don’t recover soon, the Tigers could be in trouble.

9. Bell County (10-13, 5-7) — The Bobcats are oh, so close to beating some good teams, but just can’t get over the hump. They are 1-6 during their last seven games.

10. Pineville (18-6, 12-3) — The Mountain Lions looks to have recovered after dropping an 87-45 decision to Corbin.

11. Lynn Camp (15-8, 8-5) — The Wildcats looked like they have recovered from a midseason slump. They have now won five in a row, and Dinky Phipps has guided them to the most wins they’ve had in a season since former coach Clyde Dixon’s Wildcats won 16 in 2012.

12. Jackson County (8-14, 2-9) — The Generals snapped a three-game losing skid, and have won only three of their last 10 games.

13. Oneida Baptist (11-12, 9-10) — The Mountaineers continue to surprise by defeating Harlan this past week, 47-45.

14. Harlan (13-10, 5-7) — The Green Dragons are losers of two straight after falling to Oneida Baptist, 47-45.

15. Williamsburg (2-14, 2-12) — The defending 13th Region champions have dropped four in a row, and 10-of-their-last 11 games.

16. Middlesboro (1-24, 1-17) — The Yellow Jackets have now dropped 20 straight games.

17. Red Bird (3-19, 0-15) — The Cardinals losing streak has now reached 10 games.