Overview: Paintsville makes huge strides in the ranking with key 57th District wins, Shelby Valley takes their worst loss of the season on the road, Isaiah May goes off against Pikeville, Lawrence County captures the 2A Section 8 title and Phelps climbs the rankings with key wins. After six weeks of play, we are starting to see the ranking shake out for the 15th Region. Listed below are where teams stand as we head into the All-A Classic in week seven.
Rankings (overall record): 1. (-) Shelby Valley (12-4) Shelby Valley went 2-1 in week six with wins over Betsy Layne 83-57 and East Ridge 61-41, before getting blown out by South Charleston, WV at the Hatfield McCoy Shootout 33-54. The South Charleston game is currently the only game on the schedule the Wildcats will play outside a 15th Region arena and in the game Shelby Valley only attempted four FTs with Cody Potter scoring only six points. The surprising loss does not knock Valley off the top spot this week as they prepare for the All-A in week seven, opening with Prestonsburg. They are expected to cut down the nets and represent the 15th Region.
2. (-) Johnson Central (8-6) The Golden Eagles went 2-1 in week six with a blowout win over Pikeville 75-58, a loss on the road to Paintsville 60-62 and a win on the road at Betsy Layne 63-59. In the Pikeville game, junior standout Isaiah May went for 35 points and 10 rebounds in three quarters (took only one shot in fourth quarter with big lead) as he wowed the crowd making six consecutive threes and a rim rattling dunk in the first half. In the Paintsville game, JC struggled to find an offensive identity as very little ball movement, screens, etc. led to a lot of one-on-one play and standing as they the Golden Eagles lost a 10-point half time lead and 6-point lead with under three minutes to play. The stagnant offense continued in the Betsy Layne game, but six late FTs by May to go along with a 26-point performance by VanHoose sealed the win. Johnson Central has lost to Paintsville and Martin County, but remains ranked ahead of them as they have a better overall record and have had six and seven point leads late (under four minutes) in both games, before failing to secure the wins. Top to bottom, this team has the most talent in the 15th region, they will be a factor in post season.
3. (Up 4) Paintsville (5-8) The Tigers went 2-0 in week six with huge district wins over Martin County 57-48 and cross town rival Johnson Central 62-60. They are in 3-0 in the 57th and are playing their best ball of the season as they jump four spots in the rankings. Paintsville controlled the Martin County game for most of the contest and stole one late against Johnson Central after trailing most of the game (late 3FG Baron Ratliff was the difference for the Tigers). The Tigers still have a losing record overall, albeit against a difficult schedule, and only have seven games and the All-A left on their schedule as they strive to get above .500. Week seven will seem the open the All-A with East Ridge in a contest they will be favored in.
4. (Down 1) Martin County (6-10) The Cardinals went 0-1 in week six with a loss to Paintsville 48-57 as Brady Dingess returned face his team from last season. Dingess led the way for Martin County with 26 points while Trey James posted four points and 10 rebounds against a very physical Nick Keeton from Paintsville. Dingess is leading the team with 16.2 ppg while James is averaging another double-double with 13.3 ppg and 10.7 rpg. In week seven, the Cardinals will travel to Magoffin County before opening the All-A with Pikeville. Sitting at 1-1 in the 57th District, the Magoffin County looms large for seeding purposes.
5. (Down 1) Pikeville (8-6) The Panthers went 2-1 in week six with a blowout loss to Johnson Central 58-75 and easy win over Jenkins 79-53 and tight win out of state versus Tug Valley, WV at Williamson in the Hatfield / McCoy Classic. Rylee Sammons, Grayson Harris and Laithan Hall are all averaging double figures this season, but the physicality some teams possess make it difficult at times for the Panthers. This week Pikeville will host Belfry before opening the All-A Classic with Martin County in what should be a great game.
6. (Down 1) Lawrence County (10-6) The Bulldogs went 2-0 in week six by defeating Floyd Central and Magoffin County, capturing the 2A Section 8 Title along the way. They advance to the 2A State Championship where they will face Bourbon County in week seven. Also in week seven, the Bulldogs will travel to Johnson Central and Floyd Central (58th District seeded game this time). Lawrence County continues to be led by Tyler Maynard (21.8 ppg), but has all five starters averaging 7.2 or ppg. If they can get production from the bench, this team should be considered the best dark horse in the region.
7. (Down 1) Magoffin County (8-6) The Hornets were 1-2 in week six with losses to East Ridge and Lawrence County (2A Section 8 Championship) and a narrow win against Morgan County 54-49. Magoffin was unable to capitalize on good play from the Mountain School Boy Classic and seems to have digressed a bit in the mid-season. Freshman Aden Barnett continues to led the way, averaging 18.1 ppg, as Magoffin County has four players averaging double figures to include 8th grader Grayson Whitaker. If this team can find its consistency, it will be a factor come March. In week seven, Magoffin host Martin County and Letcher Central, before traveling to Belfry.
8. (-) Betsy Layne (9-6) The Bobcats went 0-2 in week six with losses on the road to Shelby Valley 57-83 and at home to Johnson Central 59-63. They played well against JC in a back and forth game until a late Jordan Frazer ankle injury and key made FTs by the Golden Eagles did them in. In week seven, Betsy Layne will play in the All-A as they drew a bye in the first round.
9. (Up 2) Phelps (8-8) The Hornets are back to .500 after a 2-1 week that included wins over Prestonsburg and Wayne, WV and a loss the Mingo Central in a closely contested game (lost 43-45 at Williamson, WV). Trey Francis is posting strong numbers again this season (19.5 ppg / 12.5 rpg) as he leads the region in rebounding from the SF position. The Hornets travel to Pike Central in an important district game and then open the All-A Classic with Jenkins in week seven.
10. (Down 1) Prestonsburg (6-6) After opening the season 6-1, Prestonsburg has dropped five in a row to include a week six loss at Phelps 54-65. This young squad has hit the midseason wall, but will hopefully bounce back in week seven as they travel to Pike Central then open the All-A with Shelby Valley.
11. (Down 1) Belfry (6-5) Like Prestonsburg, Belfry opened the season strong with 4-1 record out of the gates. They are currently on a three game losing streak to include a 45-57 week six loss to Mingo Central, WV (Heated Rival) at the Hatfield / McCoy Shootout. Week seven gets not easier as the Pirates will travel to Pikeville then host Magoffin County.
12. (-) East Ridge (4-9) The Warriors went 1-2 in week six with a surprising win on the road at Magoffin County 65-60 and losses at home to Shelby Valley 41-61 and Scott, WV 72-80. This team can play with anyone in stretches, but inconsistency dooms them in the long run. Week seven will see East Ridge face Floyd Central at home before opening the All-A with Paintsville.
13. (-) Pike Central (3-12) The Hawks lost both contest in week six, falling to Magoffin County 47-52 (2A Classic) and Mountain Mission, VA 55-59. This team is getting more competitive each week and will have a chance to gain ground in the 60th district in week seven as they travel to Phelps before hosting Prestonsburg and Leslie County. You could see the five game losing streak snapped this week.
14. (-) Floyd Central (3-9) The Jags lost their only contest in week six in the form of a 54-76 blowout to Lawrence County in the 2A Classic. In week seven, Floyd Central will travel to East Ridge and them host Lawrence County again, but this time it will be for district seeding. This young team has a tough schedule, but wins will come later in the season.
15. (-) Jenkins (0-10) The Cavaliers were 0-2 in week six with losses to Pikeville and OBI in blow out fashion. June Buchanan, Phelps and Jackson City are on the docket for week seven. The next legitimate chance for a win will not come until mid-February.
16. (-) Piarist (0-1) No games have been played and word is that Piarist will not field a team this season.