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Overview: Shelby Valley’s Jim Hicks and Magoffin County’s Brady Whitaker took home KABC Coach and Player of the year honors respectively while the top tier teams in the region remained the same. District tournaments are a week away as the 15th Region prepares for what is expected to be one of the most competitive post seasons in many years. Listed below are the rankings and reviews after eleven weeks of play.

Rankings (overall record):

1. (-) Shelby Valley (25-4)
The Wildcats were perfect in week eleven, going 3-0 against Belfry, Pike Central and Jenkins with an average winning margin of 30 plus. Cody Potter will finish the regular season averaging 25 plus points and 10 plus rebounds regardless of performance in their final game at home vs. Johnson Central in week twelve. Valley ended with the top overall seed in the 59th district and will face Jenkins in the first round at East Ridge.

2. (-) Pikeville (16-8) -
The Panthers went 1-1 in week eleven as they lost a return game at Clay County 68-75 in OT after defeating the Tigers by 34 just four days earlier and won at home over Sheldon Clark 72-61. Pikeville has the best half-court defense in the region and solid, experienced guards against pressure. When they score the ball efficiently, they are extremely difficult to beat. Pikeville closes the regular season with Floyd Central and Pike Central at home then Paintsville on the road. The Paintsville game could carry a lot of tension after the way the two teams closed the regular season last year.

3. (-) Johnson Central (20-6) - The Golden Eagles went 2-1 in week eleven with a pair of twenty point wins on the road over Magoffin County and Ashland and a loss at home in OT to Lawrence County. Senior star Jacob Rice did not play in the Ashland or Lawrence County game as he nurses a sprained ankle from last Thursday’s practice as he expects to return before districts. In the Lawrence County Sophomore Cory VanHoose had one of the greatest shooting games in KHSAA history, going 19/20 from the field and finishing with a career high 40 points. Sophomore stud Isaiah May scored his 1,000th point in the Ashland win as played all five positions on both offense and defense for JC in the game. Johnson Central will flip a coin with Paintsville for the top overall seed in the 57th District tournament this week as the finish out the season with Floyd Central and Mountain Mission, VA at home, then Shelby Valley on the road.

4. (-) Paintsville (16-5) – The Tigers picked up two wins this week over Belfry and Letcher Central as they close the season on a four game home stand. The last two games come this week against Raceland and Pikeville. Paintsville does not yet know their opponent in the 57th district tournament they will host, but they do know it will be either Magoffin County or Sheldon Clark, both of whom they went 4-0 against collectively. The Tigers will look to close strong with Pikeville at home as they head into the post season.

5. (-) Lawrence County (20-7) – The Bulldogs picked up three key wins this week all on the road versus Sheldon Clark, Johnson Central (OT) and Paris (OT). Cody Maynard went for 30 points in the JC game as this young team is a strong sleeper in the region. They would have been moved up in the rankings had JC not beat them badly twice earlier in the season and due to the fact JC did not have one of their best players in senior Jacob Rice. Nonetheless, this team has 20 wins and is capable of getting hot and beating any team in the region on a given night.

6. (Up 1) Magoffin County (14-13) – The Hornets lost their first game of the week, but reeled off three straight to get above .500 after a four game losing streak. Magoffin lost by 20 to Johnson Central the beat Prestonsburg, Sheldon Clark and East Ridge. Along with the wins, Senior Brady Whitaker was named KABC Player of the year and will be a Mr. Basketball finalist next week. Magoffin will play either Paintsville or Johnson Central in the first round of the 57th but will have to wait until Tuesday’s flip to see which it will be. Prior to that they will travel to June Buchanan and Pike Central to close out the season.

7. (Down 1) Sheldon Clark (9-18) – Sheldon Clark was 0-4 in week eleven and have dropped five or their last six overall. Trey James continues to play well, but the supporting cast is hit and miss on a nightly basis. Sheldon Clark will learn of their appeal on their D1 transfer this Wednesday as they await a coin flip to find out if they play Johnson Central or Paintsville in the 57th District opening round. Sheldon Clark will close with Huntington St. Joseph and Red Bird as they hope to pick up two wins and avoid their third 20 loss season in the last four years.

8. (-) Pike Central (16-11) – The Hawks were 1-2 with losses to Letcher Central at home and Shelby Valley on the road and a win over Phelps in district play. Pike Central has locked up a trip to the regional tournament as they won the 60th District regular season and earned an opening round match-up with Piarist. Pike Central will close out the regular season with Pikeville on the road (should be a great crowd) and Magoffin County at home.

9. (Up 1) Prestonsburg (13-13) – Prestonsburg was 1-1 this past week with a loss on the road at Magoffin County and a win over Floyd Central as they wrapped up a four game road trip 2-2 overall. They will play Betsy Layne in the 58th District opening tournament and close out the season with East Ridge and Jenkins both on the road. This could be the first winning season in a very long time for the Blackcats.

10. (Down 1) Phelps (11-13) – The Hornets were 1-1 in week eleven as they beat Jackson City and lost to Pike Central. This team will play Belfry in the 60th District tournament at home in what should be a great game. Before then, they will have Betsy Layne, Piarist and Morgan County as they try to get to .500 before districts. Trey Francis continues to play well as one of the more underrated players in the region.

11. (-) Belfry (8-19) – The Pirates dropped two more games this week, winning only one. They will lose 20 games this season after winning 20 games last season. The good news is they could still get in the regional tournament with a district tournament win over Phelps on the road. That won’t be easy as the Pirates look to prepare with Floyd Central and East Ridge in the final week.

12. (-) Betsy Layne (12-14) – The Bobcats have dropped four of their last five with the only win coming against Jenkins. The Bobcats schedule well to get wins, but are no real threat to the top half of the region. They will close with Phelps and June Buchanan at home before playing Prestonsburg in the 58th District tournament at Lawrence County.

13. (-) Floyd Central (3-22) – The Jaguars are improving as their players are getting in better shape since their return to action, but they did drop both games in week eleven as both Prestonsburg and Boyd County knocked them off at home. Floyd Central is locked into the 4 seed in the 58th District and a date with Lawrence County on the road. Prior to that Floyd Central closes with a three game road trip against tough competition as they travel to Pikeville, Johnson Central and Belfry in that order.

14. (-) East Ridge (10-15) – The Warriors went 1-2 this week with losses to Letcher Central at home and Magoffin County on the road. They did beat Piarist at home by 25 for their lone win. East Ridge will host the 59th District tournament where they play Pikeville in the first round. The will close the season with two games at home versus Belfry and Prestonsburg.

15. (-) Jenkins (2-24) – The Cavaliers picked up their second win of the season over Piarist in week eleven and should be beat them again when they play this week. This will be the only three wins on the season, however, as Jenkins gets Lawrence County and Prestonsburg before facing Shelby Valley in districts.

16. (-) Piarist (0-23) – Piarist went 0-3 in week eleven and are expected to remain winless on the season. The best change to get a win will be Jenkins on the road but Jenkins has already beaten the Knights handily.

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