15th Region Week 1 Review
Overview: The 15th Region saw one of their top teams push one of the best in the 16th to double overtime, a few teams stumble and some early surprises after one week of play. This will be a fun, competitive region to follow throughout the year. Updated rankings are as follows.
Rankings (overall record):
1. (-) Johnson Central (1-0) - The Golden Eagles opened the season strong with a dominating win over Jackson County at home by a final of 81-52. Never trailing in the game, JC put four players in double figures led by Cory VanHoose who posted 21 points and 12 rebounds. Isaiah May (15 points 6 rebound 5 assists) Jacob Rice (12 points 8 assists 4 steals and 6 rebounds) and Gabe Ferrell (13 points 6 rebounds 2 blocks 1 assist) had strong performances as well. JC returns four starters that averaged double figures last season in the aforementioned players and will only get better this week and several key players from football return. In week two the Golden Eagles will be idle as they have no games scheduled.
2. (-) Pikeville (0-0) - The Panthers have yet to open the season and are scheduled to be idle until week three. Most of their key players are still returning from football and will take some time rounding into basketball form.
3. (-) Paintsville (0-1) - The Tigers opened the season on the road versus the top team in the 16th region in Elliott County. Paintsville gave them all they wanted before falling 93-96 in double overtime. With multiple chances to win in regulation and the first extra frame, the Tigers fell just short despite getting big games from freshman Colby Fugate (26 points) and junior Seth Williams (26 points). Freshman transfer Brady Dingess posted 8 points (3/5 FG) 2 rebounds 4 turnovers 0 assists and 0 steals before fouling out. This Paintsville team is very good, play very fast and if will be difficult for anyone in the 15th region to beat. Paintsville will be in the WYMT Mountain Classic this week as they open with Knox Central on Tuesday.
4. (-) Shelby Valley (1-0) - The Wildcats began the season with 59th District play against Jenkins and saw 13 players hit the scoring column in an 81-32 home win. The running clock came early as the stars sit most of the game, but Valley did see Samuel Stanley (18), Cody Potter (13) and Cameron Worrix (11) hit double figures. Valley is deep and like the teams above them, play very hard. Look for two more lop sided wins in week two as the Wildcats host Betsy Layne and then travel to Pike Central.
5. (-) Floyd Central (1-2) - The Jaguars opened the season at home with a 60-42 win over Magoffin County. The game was close until the fourth quarter when Ethan Smith-Mills put the Hornets away for good, leading the game with 26 points on 9/21 shooting. Floyd Central star Brady Conn played in the first half, but did not return for the second half and it is still unclear whether it was an injury, coaches decision, etc. The Jaguars would finish out week one with two losses on the road. They were defeated by Perry Central 54-73 and Fleming County 41-53 (no stats available for either game). Week two will see the Jaguars play in the WYMT Classic back at Perry Central as they take on Clay County in the opening round. It will be the second school Floyd Central Head Coach Kevin Spurlock has faced this season where he once coached (Perry Central).
6. (-) Belfry (0-0) - Like a few other teams in the region, Belfry has yet to open the season. They will host Wayne, WV at home in week two.
7. (Up 3) Sheldon Clark (1-1) – Sheldon Clark makes the biggest jump this week as they opened strong with a 61-49 win over Mercer County in the Nissan Classic at North Laurel. Top Prospect Trey James was named player of the game, notching 21 points. The Cardinals would follow up the win with a loss in their home opener to 16th region power Boyd County by a final of 68-83. James again continued his excellent play with 26 points and 13 rebounds and the Cardinals also got a career high from sophomore guard Jordan Dalton (20 points). This game was closer than the final indicates as the Cardinals were down only six going into halftime. The Cardinals have Betsy Layne at home on Thursday. The last time these two met it came down to a buzzer beater by Ethan Colegrove, but don’t expect this contest to be as close.
8. (-) Lawrence County (1-1) – The Bulldogs were on the road for their first two contests of the season in the form of a 53-60 loss at Morgan County and a 91-70 win over Jenkins. The fast play continues for Coach York and his squad as this team really likes to get up and down the floor. Week two will see a home game versus Magoffin County on Tuesday, a road game versus Prestonsburg on Friday and a home game versus Phelps on Saturday. Lawrence County will be favored in all three games.
9. (Up 2) East Ridge (1-0) – The Warriors jump up two spots this week with an impressive win at home versus Magoffin County by a final of 70-51. Head Coach Randy McCoy is recovering from open heart surgery and still not able to be with the team, but they are running his system in his absence. With strong showings in their scrimmages, East Ridge seems to be a little better than most suspected early in the season. In week two the Warriors will be on the road at Pike Central in their only contest.
10. (Up 2) Phelps (2-0) – Led by Trey Francis, Phelps has a much improved team this year as indicated by an undefeated opening week. In wins over Hurley, VA (81-44) and Twin Valley, VA (53-51), the Hornets showed they could play both a fast pace game and controlled, slow game. In the Hurley, VA game Francis had a nice two handed dunk on a breakaway. The competition will pick up in week two as Phelps hosts Prestonsburg and travels to Lawrence County.
11. (Up 2) Pike Central (1-1) – The Hawks defeated Prestonsburg in their home opener 54-47 and fell to Leslie County on the road 49-66 in week one. After setting the school record for wins in a season last year, its full rebuild mode for Coach Whitaker and his staff. Jenkins, East Ridge and Shelby Valley are on the slate for a week three home stretch as Pike Central hopes to remain above .500.
12. (Down 4) Prestonsburg (1-1) – New Head Coach Brent Rose opened his first week with Prestonsburg win a loss on the road to Pike Central 47-54 and a win on the road at Leslie County 61-35. This team is looking to build off a regional tournament run last season and has the personnel to do it. In week two, Prestonsburg will travel to Phelps before having their home opener against Lawrence County. The latter of those two games could have major 58th district seeding implications come tournament time and should be a great atmosphere.
13. (Down 7) Magoffin County (0-2) – The Hornets took the biggest fall in week one, dropping seven spots after blow out losses to Floyd Central (42-60) and East Ridge (51-70) on the road. Coming off a surprising summer run, these Hornets are staggering out of the gate. Scoring machine Brady Whitaker has yet to find his groove although he has been in double figures both games. Magoffin has Lawrence County on the road, hosts Jenkins in their home opener, and travels to Robertson County to play Augusta in the Robertson County Adidas Classic in week two. They will be looking to pick up more than one win this week.
14. (-) Betsy Layne (2-1) – Brad Short is back on the sidelines after sitting out of coaching last season (former Allen Central Head Coach). Despite losing one of his best players to transfer (Byron Hammond - Pikeville) was able to schedule easy and pick up two wins in week one by defeating Jenkins 74-40 and June Buchanan 62-45 (both on the road). The loss was to Buckhorn 36-48 (also on the road). Betsy Layne completes their five game road show to open the season in week two as they travel to Sheldon Clark and Shelby Valley. They will be big underdogs in both games.
15. (-) Jenkins (0-3) – The Cavaliers lost 40-74 at home versus Betsy Layne, 32-81 on the road versus Shelby Valley and 70-91 at home versus Lawrence County in week one. Jenkins last win came February 20th, 2017 versus June Buchanan (winless last season) but they will not go winless this season as they have Piarist on their schedule. Jenkins has Pike Central, Magoffin County and Barbourville all on the road in week two.
16. (-) Piarist (0-2) - The Knights opened the season with two losses on the on the road to June Buchanan (24-59) and Breathitt County (29-86). Expect them to be on the list of “teams in the state without a win” late into the season.
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