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Overview: Top rated Pikeville opened the season, Floyd Central had a strong showing at the WYMT Classic, and Johnson Central faced tough times in the 13th region with a young squad in week two. No major surprises in the 15th Region as we quickly approach full holiday tournament mode. Let’s see how the rankings have changed after two weeks of play.

Rankings after two weeks of play:

1. Pikeville (1-0) – The Panthers opened the season with a blowout win versus Ambassador Christian (Williamson, WV) by a final of 84-51. Pikeville will be tested by in week three as they host one of the longest running tournaments in the state; the Pikeville Invitational. Their first opponent will be Paul Laurence Dunbar. This tournament will let us know just how good the defending champions are.

2. Floyd Central (5-1) – Floyd Central went 2-1 in week two as they traveled to the WYMT Mountain Classic at Knott Central High School. In the first game, the Jaguars opened with a 60-59 win over Leslie County, winning it on defense by holding off a potential game winning possession in the last 30s of play. J.R. Tackett led Floyd Central in scoring with 18 points, while Brady Conn posted a monster double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds. The semifinals of the tournament pitted Floyd Central against Clay County. Again, the Jaguars were able to come away with a 56-48 victory, hitting clutch FT’s down the stretch. Kyle Isaac led the team in scoring with 15 points while Cameron Nelson posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. In the championship, the Jaguars ran into the buzz saw that is Knox Central, losing in blowout fashion 53-78. The game only got marginally close once in the 3rd quarter when the Jaguars were able to cut the lead to 9. In week three, Floyd Central will host Prestonsburg and face Chapmanville, WV at Pike Central. This team is very deep and very talented and will be tough playing a controlled style.

3. Pike Central (4-1) – Pike Central continued to impress in week two and jump one spot in the rankings. Like Floyd Central, the Hawks also competed in the WYMT Mountain Classic in week two. Opening with a running clock loss to host Knott Central 40-67, Pike Central was able to bounce back with 80-60 win over Wolfe County. No stats were available at time of print. Week three will see the Hawks travel to Jenkins then host Piarist, Louisville Eastern and Breathitt County. They will be favored in all three contest.

4. Johnson Central (2-2) – The young Golden Eagles went 1-2 in week two with a running clock win at home over East Ridge 69-31 and two losses at Jackson County to 13th region foes in the PRTC Classic (North Laurel 67-79: Jackson County 86-102). Johnson Central is getting balanced scoring each night. In the East Ridge game JC was led in scoring by freshman Isaiah May with 16 points (junior Jacob Rice added 13 and freshman Cory VanHoose added 14). In the North Laurel game JC put 4 players in double figures with Jacob Rice scoring 17, Isaiah May and Braxton Bentley scoring 14 each, and Cory VanHoose dropping in 12. In the Jackson County game Gabe Ferrel led all scorers with 25 points, while Isaiah May had 23 and Jacob Rice had 21. In just four games, Johnson Central has seen four different players score at least 20 points. In what was expected to be a rebuilding year, the Golden Eagles are still a real threat to win the region as the young kids will only get better.

5. Shelby Valley (5-0) – The Wildcats went 3-0 in week two with wins over Betsy Layne 83-44, Paintsville 62-58 and Prestonsburg 78-47. The schedule has been soft early in the season and blowout have been plentiful thus we don’t really know just how good Shelby Valley is yet. They did pass a big test with a home win versus Paintsville and jumped one spot in the rankings. In the Paintsville game, Cody Potter had 32 points in a tightly contested affair that was won on FT’s down the stretch. Also in the Paintsville game Cameron Worrix was assessed two technical fouls after a brief altercation with Paintsville’s Mason Moore and ejected. Week three will let us know just how good Shelby Valley is as they host Johnson Central and Tug Valley, WV. Tug Valley is ranked #3 in West Virginia for their class and led by sharp shooter Tyler May.

6. Paintsville (2-1) – The Tigers went 1-1 in week two with a win on the road versus Powell County 57-53 and a loss on the road versus Shelby Valley 58-62. Both games were very close all the way through and decided late in each contest. Mason Moore and Seth Williams continue to lead a physical and deep Tiger squad. Week three has huge implications on district seeding as the Tigers host Sheldon Clark and then travel to Magoffin County. They close week three with the Berea Invitational where they open with Evangelical Christian (Cordova), TN.

7. Belfry (0-1) – The Pirates opened the season with a loss versus Tates Creek at Bourbon County 40-46 in the Kentucky Bank challenge. Belfry is a scary team with shooting from Isiah Roblee, inside play from Ryan Jessie, and slashing from Koleston Blankenship. Coach Thompson has lined up a great schedule for them and they will be tested come tournament time. Week three will Belfry host Letcher Central and Piarist before making the short drive to Pike Central where they will face Knott Central in the Buffalo Wild Wings Shootout.

8. Sheldon Clark (3-2) –
The Cardinals went 2-1 in week two with wins over Lawrence County 76-62 and Buckhorn 53-45 and a bizarre, running clock, loss to East Carter 32-70. In the two wins, Cardinal big man Trey James posted back-to-back triple doubles (points, rebounds, blocks) to go along with his usual highlight dunks. If Trey can get some help from the supporting cast, this team could be scary as he is a huge difference maker on both ends of the floor. Week three will Sheldon Clark travel to Paintsville in a monster district game then host East Ridge.

9. Lawrence County (2-3) – Lawrence County is finding life without the Dalton’s difficult as they went 1-1 in week two. The young squad lost to Sheldon Clark 62-76 on the road before beating Tolsia, WV 93-70 (also on road). Give them credit, however, as the kids play hard and play together. Week three will see the Bulldogs travel to Magoffin County, host Lewis County, then travel to Betsy Layne and Phelps. Odds are they will be above .500 after week three.

10. Betsy Layne (2-3) – The Bobcats are better than last year and steadily improving. Week two saw losses to Shelby Valley 44-83 and Letcher Central 43-61 before picking up a win at Magoffin County 73-51. Betsy Layne has solid inside play and when they hit shots can be dangerous against the middle of pack teams in the region. Week three will see the Bobcats travel to East Ridge before hosting Lawrence County.

11. Prestonsburg (1-2) – Head Coach Brandon Gearheart went 1-2 in his opening week of play after moving over from the girls’ side of the house at Prestonsburg. The Blackcats opened with a 103-59 win at home over Jenkins, but then fell on the road to both Shelby Valley and Raceland by identical 47-78 scores. Drake Nunnery is a solid guard who can score the ball. He plays with a passion and fire that cannot be coached into a player. The question is whether or not Prestonsburg has enough around him to stay competitive with the top in the region. This question will be answered in week three as the Blackcats host Phelps then travel to newly hated rival Floyd Central.

12. Magoffin County (1-4) – The Hornets are struggling and after a close win versus East Ridge have not been remotely competitive with anyone else. Losing so much talent from last season and then losing one of the best players in the region to a football injury (Ryan Mullins) might be too much to overcome. Magoffin went 0-2 in week two and face Lawrence County, Paintsville and Harlan County in week three. This is the beginning of what could be a long year in Salyersville.

13. East Ridge (2-2) –
The Warriors went 1-1 in week two with an overtime win at Ambassador Christian in Williamson, WV 59-58 and a running clock loss to Johnson Central on the road 31-69. They are young and rebuilding and Coach McCoy’s style will keep them competitive. Week three will see East Ridge host Betsy Layne, before traveling to both Jenkins and Sheldon Clark. They could go 2-1 this week!

14. Phelps (2-2) – Despite losing Christian Mounts to Pike Central (transfer), the Hornets were able to go 2-1 in week two with wins over Hurley, VA and Jenkins and a loss toe Rockcastle County. Phelps will travel to Prestonsburg then host Lawrence County in week three. This team still has Francis, who can compete with anyone in the region on a given night.

15. Jenkins (0-6) – The Cavaliers of the 15th region are not the Cavaliers of the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Going 0-3 in week two, Jenkins is struggling to be competitive against average teams. They are young and will improve, but more of the same is on the horizon in week three.

16. Piarist (1-4) -
The Knights picked up their first win of the season versus Riverside Christian, but every other game has been a blowout loss. Expect more of the same as the season continues, but at least they will not be on any winless lists moving forward.

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