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1. Knox Central (13-1 overall, 4-0 vs. 13th Region competition)
The Panthers remain atop the 13th Region rankings and continue to show they’re one of the best teams int he state after winning their sixth game in a row, a 71-47 road win over Pineville, despite not having the services of senior guard, and leading scorer, Markelle Turner, who is day-to-day after tweaking his knee last week. Knox Central will be tested early and often this week with four games (Barbourville, at Mercer County, Bell County and Tates Creek), so a healthy Turner would be huge with the games ahead. If Turner does miss some games this week, look for junior guard Jaylen Adams to continue to take over the scoring load. He’s averaging 13.6 points per game this season while Nick Martin is averaging 13.2 points and 7.8 rebounds. Dane Imel is averaging 11.5 points while Kevionte Turner is averaging 9.3 points per game.

2. Corbin (11-3, 5-1)
The Redhounds have been on a role since losing to Knox Central a few weeks back. Corbin is winners of three straight, which includes Saturday’s impressive 83-76 win over Pendleton County during South Laurel’s Raymond Reed Classic. Senior guard Andrew Taylor continues to dominate on offense, scoring 38 points in the win and he’s now scored 400 points on the season. He’s averaging 28.5 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game.

3. Harlan County (13-1, 6-0)
The Black Bears continue to win while flying under the radar in the process. They’ve now won 12 consecutive games against 13th Region opponents, and haven’t lost to a 13th Region team since dropping a 73-61 decision to Corbin back on Feb. 7, 2017.
Harlan County will be tested early and often during its next seven games (at South Laurel, at Clay County, Knox Central, Bell County, at Whitley County, at Corbin and Covington Scott). So yes, the Black Bears are going to be even more battle-tested in the near future.

4. North Laurel (13-2, 3-2)
North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore gets my early vote for 13th Region Coach of the Year after guiding the Jaguars to one of their best starts in school history after graduating a ton of talent from lasts season’s squad. The Jaguars possess a talented roster, which includes Brian Gray, Adam Sizemore, Kaleb Osborne, Jack Capobianco and the region’s most improved player — Albert Oster.
The Jaguars picked up two impressive wins this past week beating Clay County, 82-60, and Wayne county, 77-70, in consecutive days.

5. South Laurel (10-3, 3-2)
Since starting the season with an 8-1 record, which included a 16-point road win against North Laurel, the Cardinals are 2-2 with both losses coming at home. South Laurel fell to Harlan County a couple of weeks back and dropped a 73-65 decision to Covington Scott Saturday during the Raymond reed Classic despite seeing junior JJ Ramey score 24 points while Ryan Anders added 20.
South Laurel gets a chance at revenge against the Black Bears on Tuesday at home and will host Clay County Thursday before hitting the road to face Pikeville on Saturday. It’s going to be a busy week for Jeff Davis’ squad.

6. Jackson County (9-4, 3-2)
The Generals needed late game heroics to force overtime to defeat Whitley County, 65-59, before falling to Harlan County on the road, 61-52. Jackson County is a team to keep an eye on this season. The Generals are led by Tanner Harris’ 20.1 scoring effort per game and 8.2 rebounding average while Hunter Bowling is averaging 14.1 points per game and Drew Akemon is tossing in 12.9 points per game.
We’re going to see just what Greg Parrett’s squad is made of during its next five games which are against Clay County, North Laurel, McCreary Central, South Laurel and North Laurel.

7. Clay County (9-9, 4-2)
The lack on consistency on defense has hurt the Tigers this season. I expected some growing pains, but I didn’t expect Clay County to be playing .500 ball at this point of the season. The Tigers dropped an 82-60 decision to North Laurel last week, as big man Ryan Rogers missed the second half. Clay County responded Saturday with a 67-58 win over Rockcastle county during the Raymond Reed Classic.

8. Bell County (9-3, 3-1)
I still don’t know what exactly to expect out of the Bobcats, but they sure did pick up a nice 52nd District win over Middlesboro this past week. Sawyer Brock scored 14 points while Colby Frazier added eight during Bell County’s 53-45 win. things get a bit tougher this week with road games against both Williamsburg and Knox Central.

9. Whitley County (5-11, 1-4)
The Colonels continue to struggle, but the talent is there. Whitley County has lost six of its last seven games while playing one of the toughest schedules in the 13th Region. The good news is blake Brown is now back after an injury that had sidelined him for the team’s first 13 games.

10. Lynn Camp (10-1, 5-1)

The Wildcats need to get some games under their belts. They haven’t played since an 82-69 win over Rockcastle County on Dec. 29, 2017. The Wildcats are scheduled to play both Pineville and Oneida Baptist this week before squaring off against Pineville again on Saturday during first round action of the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament.

11. Barbourville (7-7, 2-3)
The Tigers are slowly getting better, and will be a tough out in the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament.

12. Williamsburg (6-8, 4-5)
The Yellow Jackets started the season off strong at 5-2, but have posted a 1-6 record since. They’re currently riding a three-game losing skid with hopes of ending it Tuesday at home against Bell County.

13. Middlesboro (7-7, 2-4)
Coach Lewis Morris’ Yellow Jackets are losers of four straight, but I still like their chances in the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament. Especially with the tournament being at home.

14. Oneida Baptist (4-5, 3-5)
The Mountaineers had some momentum with their current two-game win streak, but they haven’t played since Dec. 18, 2017.

15. Harlan (1-10, 0-5)
The Green Dragons finally got a win on Dec. 29, 2017 against Harlan, and will try to run the win streak to two games on Tuesday at Whitley County.

16. Red Bird (4-9, 1-7)
The Cardinals will look to gain some confidence and momentum before the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament begins with a road game against June Buchanan today.

17. Pineville (4-10, 1-6)
Coach JD Strange has his Mountain Lions heading in the right direction. I don’t believe they’ll be in the 17th spot much longer.

13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Schedule
at Middlesboro


Saturday, January 13
First Round

Harlan vs. Williamsburg, noon
OBI vs. Middlesboro, 1:30 p.m.
Lynn Camp vs. Pineville, 3 p.m.
Red Bird vs. Barbourville, 4:30 p.m.

Monday, January 15
Semifinals

Harlan/Williamsburg winner vs. OBI/Middlesboro winner, 6 p.m.
Lynn Camp/Pineville winner vs. Red Bird/Barbourville winner 7:30 p.m.


Tuesday, January 16
Championship
Finals

TBD, 7 p.m.

Predictions
First Round

Williamsburg 67, Harlan 58
Middlesboro 62, OBI 57
Lynn Camp 72, Pineville 60
Barbourville 88, Red Bird 70

Semifinals
Middlesboro 45, Williamsburg 41
Lynn Camp 81, Barbourville 78

Finals
Lynn Camp 61, Middlesboro 53