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Overview: Johnson Central traveled to the top ranked team in the state, Paintsville advanced to the All-A quarterfinal, Martin County big man Trey James signed with Wake Forest and Colby Fugate became the fourth sophomore in the last two seasons to hit the 1,000-point mark. No changes in the rankings after eight weeks of play. See below for a recap of the past weeks action!

Rankings (overall record):
1. (-) Johnson Central (13-7) – The Golden Eagles remain in the top spot after a 2-1 record in week eight. They were able to knock off Magoffin County 66-53 on the road powered by 22 points from Isaiah May and 21 points from Cory VanHoose (Bryson Hackney notched 10 rebounds) and East Ridge on the road 87-62 in a game where all varsity players except one scored at least 1 point. Johnson Central dropped their final game of the week to highly ranked Covington Catholic on the road 52-80, snapping their six game win streak. In the Cov Cath game, Isaiah May led the way with 19 points as the Colonels jumped out to a 31-10 first quarter lead. JC played even with them the rest of the way until the benches emptied giving us the final score. In week nine, JC will likely determine their 57th District fate as they travel to Martin County and host Paintsville in pivotal seeded contest. If JC wins both you could see a three way tie at the top by seasons end. If they lose either, they are almost certain to be in the 2/3 game.

2. (-) Paintsville (10-9) – The Tigers went 1-1 in week eight with both games being played in the All-A State tournament. They defeated Harlan Independent 67-60 in the opening round before falling to Hazard 39-48 in the quarterfinals. Colby Fugate continues to be a volume scorer for Paintsville has he became the fourth sophomore in the past two seasons to reach the 1,000-point mark in the 15th Region (Isaiah May – Johnson Central (2019) / Cory VanHoose – Johnson Central (2019) / Brady Dingess – Martin County (2020)). Like Johnson Central, the Tigers are all 57th in the week nine as they host Magoffin County and then travel to Johnson Central for one of the best rivalries in the state. The Magoffin County should be interesting as in the previous meeting, Paintsville erased a 13-point deficit in the final 3:30 with Fugate on the bench.

3. (-) Shelby Valley (15-5) – The Wildcats dominated in their only game of the week as they beat a depleted Pikeville squad 67-42. Kaden Robinson paced three players in double figures with 27 points. Shelby Valley will travel to Belfry before hosting East Ridge in week nine. They will likely not be tested again in the regular season until the final game when the travel to Johnson Central. Look for them to reel off eight plus wins in a row as we come down the stretch.

4. (-) Pikeville (10-8) – Pikeville lost their only game of the week to the hands of 59th District rival Shelby Valley 42-67. Grayson Harris was the only Panther in double figures as he posted 20 points in the loss. Pikeville has been hit by the injury bug in a major way. In the first game of the season, Zac Lockhart broke his leg. In the All-A Laithan hall tore his ACL and ruptured his meniscus (Martin County game). Now Rylee Sammons has a scratch to his eye and concussion like symptoms (reportedly) suffered in the Shelby Valley game this past week (did not play in second half). The mash unit is gaining valuable experience with their bench and will look to get back on the win train this week as they host both Magoffin County and Madison Central.

5. (-) Martin County (8-11) – Martin County won their only contest of the week as they traveled to Floyd Central and picked up a 69-47 win. Junior standout Trey James dominated the smaller competition and also had a big week as he committed to Wake Forest University and Head Coach Danny Manning. Outside Johnson Central, this team is probably the most talented in the region one through seven. In week nine they put that talent to the test as they host Johnson Central and travel to Beth Haven, WV before hosting Belfry. They are undefeated in the new gym and should see a packed house for the JC game. As it stands right now in the 57th District, Martin County would face JC in the opening round on their home floor. This could be a preview of things to come.

6. (-) Lawrence County (12-8) - The Bulldogs are quietly plotting along and are well established as the best dark horse in the region and favorite in the 58th District. They picked up two more wins in week eight by knocking off both Prestonsburg and Phelps both on the road. They have a full slate in week nine as they open a four game home stand against a hot Lewis County team, then welcome in both Morgan County and Floyd Central. The will be favored in every contest and push for what could be a 20-win season in Head Coach Chandler Thompsons first year.

7. (-) Magoffin County (11-8) – The Hornets were 1-1 in week eight with a home loss to Johnson Central 53-66 and a road win over Morgan County 63-53. The Johnson Central game was bizarre to say the least. Halfway through the first quarter Johnson Central was leading 11-8 and Magoffin County had the ball. As Magoffin worked the ball into the front court (full court man defense with no trap) a bench warning was issued as Magoffin County believed the ball handler was being fouled (did not turn the ball over, offense was not disrupted). It was odd they were even upset. Immediately following the bench warning Magoffin inbounded the ball and the bench did not stop complaining. A technical foul was issued. This infuriated Head Coach Scott Castle and he gave the official about 60s of pure grief before he was issued an additional technical foul (Coach and official were so close, face-to-face, you could not have put a note book between their lips). Johnson Central hit all four technical FT’s, got the ball back and Isaiah May hit a 3FG to cap a seven-point possession and give JC a 10-point lead (potential 10-point swing as Magoffin had the ball before all this happened). Take that one moment away and Magoffin played JC to a three-point game the rest of the way. JC entered the fourth quarter leading by 22, but it was bizarre to see a game turn so quickly in the first quarter for what appeared to be very little. What had been a close game, with good flow, had a moment that put Magoffin down 10 points and they never got any closer. The Hornets will travel to Pikeville and Paintsville before hosting Floyd Central in week nine. They are still looking for their first district win in the tough 57th.

8. (-) Phelps (10-10) – The Hornets lost their only contest at home in week eight, dropping one to Lawrence County 55-69. Phelps is still the favorite in the 60th District as they host River View, WV, East Ridge and Twin Valley, VA in a tristate trifecta in week nine. They will be favored in all three games, but East Ridge could give them a run with the way they shoot the ball. Phelps is a solid team in the 15th Region this season.

9. (-) Betsy Layne (10-7) – The Bobcats broke a four game losing streak in week eight as the dominated Floyd Central 83-53 at home. This team continues to have four players averaging 9.6 ppg or higher and are dangerous to any team on a given night. Pike Central, Prestonsburg and Lee County are all on the docket for week nine. Betsy Layne will be favored in all of those contest.

10. (-) Prestonsburg (6-9) – The Black Cats have dropped eight in a row after a week eight loss at home to Lawrence County 54-66. Prestonsburg has Belfry, Betsy Layne in a rivalry game and Breathitt County in week nine. All three are games they could win. Hopefully this team can get back on a winning track after opening the season 6-1.

11. (-) Belfry (6-8) – The Pirates dropped their only contest of the week as they fell to Knott Central on the road 54-68. That makes six losses in a row after a promising start to the season. Belfry will host Prestonsburg and Shelby Valley before traveling to Martin County in week eight. Only the Prestonsburg game is considered winnable.

12. (-) East Ridge (5-11) – The Warriors were 0-1 in week eight with a 25-point home loss to Johnson Central 62-87. Don’t expect a win in week nine either as they travel to Martin County before hosting Paintsville. East Ridge schedule down the stretch is brutal as they only have one more winnable game and that is against Floyd Central.

13. (-) Pike Central (5-14) – The Hawks had their first undefeated week in a long time, going 1-0 with a win at home over Jenkins 66-20. They will close out their current five game home stand with Betsy Layne and Floyd Central before traveling to Buckhorn. They will not be favored in any contest, but will play hard in all of them.

14. (-) Floyd Central (4-13) – The Jags were 0-3 in week eight, but only got beat 5 points by Knott Central at home 54-59 in their closest contest. They will be on the road against Pike Central, Lawrence County and Magoffin County in week nine. They will have a chance in the Pike Central game as in an earlier meeting they lost 49-50.

15. (-) Jenkins (0-15) – Jenkins dropped both games this week, but got very close against Lee County on the road, losing 66-67. Their next realistic chance for a win will come in a few weeks with Rye Cove, VA comes to town. They will also host Lee County in the regular season finale. They should get at least one win this year.

16. (-) Piarist (0-1) – Season has been cancelled for Piarist. Only question left is if they will show up for districts to get the profit sharing from the tournament.

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