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The post season is here. The 2014 15th region tournament should be exciting like it usually is. The 15th region tournament will take place March 5-10 at the Expo Center in Pikeville.

FAVORITE:
JOHNSON CENTRAL:
Johnson Central is the king of the 15th region and will be until someone knocks them off their throne. The Golden Eagles got to the regional tournament by winning the 57th district championship. The Golden Eagles are the hottest team going into the 15th region, going 10-1 (including post season) in the month of February with their only loss of the month, coming on February 1st to Breathitt County. Johnson Central owns a 68-42 win over their first round opponent, East Ridge.

Players to watch: Shane Hall (18 PPG, 11 boards PG, 2 dunks PG, 3 blocks PG), Kyle Gullett (16 PPG, 5 boards PG), Slade McPeek (8 PPG, 4 boards PG), Braxton Blair (9 PPG, 4 boards PG)



CONTENDERS:
LAWRENCE COUNTY:
The Bulldogs have gave Johnson Central all they wanted twice this season and came up short both times. Lawrence County will open the 15th regional tournament against a team they haven’t faced this season, Betsy Layne. This should be a dog fight, Lawrence County (20-10), Betsy Layne (26-5).

Players to watch: Timmy Dalton (16 PPG, 6 boards PG), Robert Dalton (14 PPG, 6 boards PG), Brandon Richardson (14 PPG, 6 boards PG), Austin Chaffin (11 PPG, 4 boards PG), Grant Kiser (9 PPG, 4 boards PG)


BETSY LAYNE:
The Bobcats are on a 5 game win streak and have won 8 of their last 10 games. They will face a team in the 15th regional tournament for the first time this season in Lawrence County. This game will be a dog fight.

Players to watch: Peyton Case, Dylan Meade


SHELBY VALLEY:
The Wildcats have had a good season going 18-10 overall but have struggled lately winning 5 of their last 5, 2 of those losses came to two of the top 5, 14th region teams. The Wildcats own a 86-47 win over their first round opponent, Belfry.

Players to watch: Tyler Carr, Cory Hamilton


SLEEPERS:
EAST RIDGE:
The Warriors struggled early but have came on strong towards the end of the season, winning 8 of their last 10. The Warriors lost to Johnson Central, the team they meet in the first round of the regional tournament, 68-42 earlier in the year.

Players to watch: Johnny Miller, Austin Rowe


PIKE COUNTY CENTRAL:
The Hawks have been up and down this season, they have had couple 3 game win streaks but couldn’t seem to get over the hump and make it a 4 game win streak. The Hawks were defeated 64-57 earlier in the season by their first round opponent, Prestonsburg.

Players to watch: Ethan Blackburn


REMAINING TEAMS:
PRESTONSBURG:
The Blackcats have struggled all season and here lately, going just 3/7 in their last 10 games, including a 5 game losing streak before edging Allen Central 63-61 in the first round of the 58th district tournament.

Players to watch: Dalton Frasure, Jarredd Jarrell


BELFRY:
The Pirates are a really young team and this season showed it as they went 8-18 heading into the 15th regional tournament.

Players to watch: Garrett Fannin (16 PPG, 3 boards PG), Cole Bentley (11 PPG, 8 boards PG), Nathan Copley (9 PPG, 3 boards PG)


THE PARIINGS:
March 5th…6:30 PM…Pike County Central vs. Prestonsburg
March 5th…8:15 PM…Johnson Central vs. East Ridge
March 6th…6:30 PM…Betsy Layne vs. Lawrence County
March 6th…8:15 PM…Shelby Valley vs. Belfry
March 8th…4:00 PM…Semi-Finals #1
March 8th…6:00 PM…Semi-Finals #2
March 10th..8:00 PM...Championship


MY PREDICTIONS:
Pike County Central over Prestonsburg 62-56
Johnson Central over East Ridge 66-52
Lawrence County over Betsy Layne 68-64
Shelby Valley over Belfry 63-47

Johnson Central over Pike County Central 65-49
Lawrence County over Shelby Valley 59-53

Johnson Central over Lawrence County 70-66