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2017/18 season has came and gone and now we're headed into the post season. Here's a recap/look ahead to the 14th region tournament.

Site: Perry County Central's John C. Combs Arena
Dates: Quarter-Finals; Wednesday Feb. 28 and March 1st....Semi'finals Monday March 5th.....Championship Tuesday March 6th


TEAM PREVIEWS/RANKINGS:

1. Knott County Central Patriots:
The Patriots finished the regular season at 25-6, runners up in the 53rd district losing 60-54 to the Cordia Lions. They, as always, seem to be clicking on all cylinders and are one of the favorites to win region. Knott County Central comes in having won 9 of their last 10 games. The region runs through Hindman, dating back to Coach King's all star team he had several years, consisting of Camron Justice, Evan Hall, Simon Christon, the Cornett brothers among several other big players. Will Knott Central prove again this year, that they are indeed "Title Town" or will a new team will bring home the title?

2. Estill County Engineers: For a second straight year, the Engineers have won 20 or more games. They currently stand at 23-7. As a county school, the Engineers have never won a region championship and been to the state tournament. The old Irvine Eagles have won a region title but that was years and years ago. Estill County has made the semi'finals of the regional tournament several times but can never get over the hump against Knott County Central. Can the Engineers finally do something about that this time around or will a region title keep eluding them?

3. Perry County Central Commodores: The Commodores have a big advantage in the regional tournament as they get to play in their own gym. For the last 11 straight years, Perry Central has won 20+ games in each season, this year, they currently stand at 19-7. Can they keep the 20+ win streak alive and defend their own home court or will they be watching the tournament from the stands?

4. Cordia Lions: The Lions come in at 18-11 and have been playing really well as of late, which is very critical at this time of the season. Ever since Rod Rhodes took over (before he left), the Lions suddenly became a threat to the region title. This year, they have all the makings of winning a region title, the question is, can they finally capture a region title for the Lotts Creek community or will other teams have something to say about it?

5. Powell County Pirates:
Although they are above .500 on the season and will stay above .500 once the season is over, the Pirates are struggling at the wrong time, going 3-5 in their last 8 games. The pirates haven't won a region title since 2003 when they defeated Letcher, Breathitt County and Perry Central go to the state tournament. Can Coach Fraley and the Pirates put together a 3 game win streak and get back to the state tournament or will he, potentially, end his career on a losing note?

6. Wolfe County Wolves: A pre-season, region contending team, the Wolves have sure played like a complete opposite team this season, far from being a region contending team. Wolfe County didn't get things together until about mid-January then they went on an 8-3 run to end the season, that stat doesn't include the January 22nd game with Perry Central. Wolfe County, had a similar run last season but got bounced in the opening round of the regional tournament to Knott Central 71-52, will that be the same fate or will they make it to the semi's, a place they haven't been too since 2013/14 season, on the same court that the region tournament is being held this season or will their dream season come to an end without a region title?

7. Breathitt County Bobcats: The Bobcats, coached by John Noble have struggled greatly this season but have been playing great past couple of weeks, winning 3 straight and 4 of their last 5 games. Breathitt County has just 3 wins against the region tournament field, Estill County, Hazard (twice) but unfortunately they don't open the tournament with neither of those teams. Can Coach Noble keep his team playing well or will they have an early exit?

8. Hazard Bulldogs: The Bulldogs have always been known as a team to beat in the region tournament but this season they haven't been playing like a region contending team, standing at 13-13, losing 6 of their last 8 games, 3 of their last 4. Coach Holland usually don't have an early exit from the region tournament but will this be an early exit for him and the Bulldogs?


BRACKET:/GAME PREVIEWS:

Cordia vs. Hazard (Wed. Feb. 28th, 6 PM):

These two teams met once earlier in the season back on Dec. 5th in Hazard. The Lions prevailed 65-57 but not before they got all they wanted and then some from the Hazard Bulldogs. Both of these two teams have turned the tables at seasons end, Cordia is playing some of their best basketball while Hazard on the other end, is having struggles, trying to find their identity/groove. Only a few points separate these two teams scoring averages/points per game. Cordia is at 63 points a game, Hazard is at 61. Will Cordia advance to the semi's or will Coach Holland and the Bulldogs get revenge on the earlier season defeat?


Estill County vs. Wolfe County (Wed. Feb. 28th, 8 PM):

Estill County took both regular season meetings from the Wolves, both, ironically, by 14 points. 72-58 in Campton and 53-39 in Irvine. Estill County comes in as the hottest team in the region tournament, winning 17 of their last 18 games, including a current 7 game win streak, their only lost, was to Breathitt County back in early February at 54-42. Wolfe County, who had struggled all season long, has started to find their groove, winning 4 of their last 6, 3 of their last 4. When it comes to the region draw, these two teams, seemingly, usually draw each other in the first round and Estill County, seemingly, always beats Wolfe County. The Wolves defeated Estill several years ago, in the first round over in Stanton. Can Wolfe County get over the hurdle and defeat Estill County or will the Engineers make it 3 in a row over the Wolves this season? 3 wins over 1 team is hard to do...



Breathitt County vs. Knott County Central (Thurs. March 1st, 6 PM):

Knott County Central took both regular season games from the Bobcats, both on the Bobcats own home floor, 70-61 and 71-58. The Patriots were rolling at the end of the season until they ran into Cordia for the 4th straight time this season, I guess 4th time is a charm as the Lions prevailed over the Patriots 60-54, until then, the Patriots had won 9 straight games and have to be seething at retribution but first, they have to get past the Bobcats of Breathitt County. Breathitt County has been itching for this game with the Patriots and they say 3rd times a charm. Despite struggling for most of the season, Breathitt County has came on strong as of late, 3 straight W's and 4 of their last 5 games. Can Breathitt County put an end to Knott Central's reign or will the Patriots, advance, looking for yet another region title?


Powell County at Perry County Central (Thurs. March 1st, 8 PM):

The 4th and final game of the opening round of the 2018 14th region tournament. These two played a great game over in Stanton earlier in the season, with Perry Central winning 68-60. The Commodores have been on a roll since, winning 6 of their last 8 games. Believe it or not, Powell County is actually outscoring the Commodores this season but not by much. Powell County, on the other hand, the Pirates are struggling, losing 5 of their last 8 games, 2 of their last 3. Can Coach Fraley find a way to upset Perry Central or will the Commodores protect their house?


Top 10 Players:

1. Caleb Bonny (Estill County): Estill County's all time leading scorer in school history. The 2017/18 14th region player of the year. Caleb does everything for the Engineers. Can shoot the 3 and drive to the basket and get to the rim. Once he gets going, he's hard to slow down and it doesn't take him long to get his rhythm going.

2. Isaac Caudill (Knott County Central): Is a gem for Coach King and the Patriots. He's their best player and he knows what to do with the rock once he gets it. Very dangerous and very capable of taking over a game or putting in the winning shot at the buzzer.

3. Deven Stone (Wolfe County): The region's best 3 point shooter. No matter how deep he his, if he gets a glimpse of day light he's usually putting up a 3 and about 75-80% of the time it's going in. If he's not shooting, he's passing the ball and he doesn't make too many mistakes.

4. Kareem McDonald (Cordia): For a guard, Kareem is fast and can get to the rim like it's nothing. He can also shoot the ball from anywhere. He gets going, it can be a long long night for someone.

5. Andrew Doty (Estill County): You don't hear too often of big men that can shoot the 3, well here's one. Andrew Doty of Estill County can do pretty much what he wants, can get to the rim, rebound and a 3 point shooter. He is a vital piece for Coach Bentley and the Engineers.

6. Oumar Keita (Cordia): Not known for his scoring abilities, Oumar is Cordia's big man on the inside and it's hard to get to the rim or in the paint because of him. Averaging 9 rebounds a game.

7. Richard Cornett (Perry County Central): He doesn't lead the Commodores in scoring nor rebounding, but he is one of the best underrated guards in the region with this abilites to pass and score as well as other things.

8. Noah Back (Perry County Central): Just a junior, leads Perry Central in a lot of
categories; Scoring 18 PPG, FT's 79% (64/81), 3pt shooting 42% (96/229).

9. Payton Barnett (Powell County): An underrated player that no-one knew of at the beginning of the season, is probably one of the best Pirate players this season. Very dangerous from the outside. Much like Deven Stone of Wolfe County, however, Deven makes more of his 3's than Payton does but once Payton gets hot, it's on.

10. Marquis Frazier (Cordia): Can shoot the ball from anywhere and can be dangerous once he gets going.