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Overview: Pikeville takes down the Prestonsburg Holiday Classic Championship, Floyd Central and Pike Central continue to play solid basketball, JC is hit with the flu bug in Gatlinburg, and Shelby Valley has not won since playing away from home. Lots of basketball action in the Holiday season with more to come post-Christmas. Let’s see the rankings after four weeks of play.

1. Pikeville (6-1) – The Panthers went 4-0 in week four with a win at Harlan Independent followed by taking the championship in the Prestonsburg Holiday Classic (wins over Cordia, Pike Central, and Morgan County). Wyatt Battaile returned from an ankle sprain suffered in the Dunbar game and continued to put up monster numbers as the Panthers remain undefeated with him in the lineup (29, 25, 26 respectively in the three game tournament at Prestonsburg). Pikeville will be challenged in week five as they travel to Lexington Catholic for the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic where they open with Louisville Doss.

2. Floyd Central (7-3) – Floyd Central went 1-1 in week four with a 24 point loss to Madison Central and a narrow 55-52 win versus Letcher Central – both games in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at Rowan County. Brady Conn and J.R. Tackett continue to lead Floyd Central as they play a controlled, grind-it-out, pace Coach Spurlock in known for. The Jaguars travel to Lexington Catholic for the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic in week five.

3. Pike Central (10-2) – The Hawks went 3-1 in week four, but lost the only game versus a strong opponent. Wins over Jenkins, Lawrence County and Prestonsburg (all in blow out fashion) sandwiched around a close game versus Pikeville (lost 70-74) is how the week played out for Pike Central. They continue to play well and lead the region in wins with ten, but have lost both games to strong competition in form of Knott Central and Pikeville. We will know more about where Pike Central stacks up in the region after week five as they play Tolsia, WV then face both Johnson Central and Shelby Valley at Belfry.

4. Shelby Valley (6-3) – Shelby Valley opened the season with seven straight home games. Since they went on the road they have not won. Week four saw the Wildcats get blown out by both North Laurel and Madison Southern in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at Rowan County. If Cody Potter is face guarded and denied the ball, it becomes difficult for Shelby Valley to score. The schedule continues to challenge in week five as Valley faces Jackson County, Pike Central, and Perry Central at Belfry in the Mountain School Boy Classic.

5. Johnson Central (4-6) – The Golden Eagles have only played one game at home so far this season and went 1-2 in week four while at Gatlinburg. In the Gatlinburg tournament, JC opened strong with an 80-58 win over Central, VA (Isaiah May 21 points, 9 rebounds: Cory VanHoose 19 points 4 rebounds, Jacob Rice 17 points 3 rounds) then the flu bug hit. With half the team contracting stomach illness, JC faced Bath County down two starters (Isaiah May and Gabe Ferrell) and down four players overall with many playing sick. The result was a hard fought loss 59-62 despite having a chance to tie late. The young Eagles then faced an 8-2 Gallatin County team again down two starters (Gabe Ferrell and Dalton Collins) with others toughing it out and playing sick. Isaiah May led the Eagles with 15 points and Jacob Rice added 14 points. The result was a loss 49-50 in a wild game that saw Gallatin County hit a one-handed full court shot at the end of the third quarter and complete a 4-point play under 30s to take the lead. JC is young, has not been a home in a long time and very talented. Don’t let the record fool anyone as this team will be a threat come tournament time. Week five will see them travel to Belfry to face Betsy Layne, Perry Central and Pike Central is in the Mountain School Boy Classic.

6. Paintsville (8-3) – The Tigers went 1-1 in week four with a narrow 51-48 win over Covington Holmes followed by at 56-74 loss to Boyd County (both in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at Rowan County). Seth Williams and Mason Moore continue to lead Paintsville in scoring as Nick Keeton is shaping into an elite rebounder. The Tigers will be favored to pick up two wins in week five as they play Phelps and Betsy Layne in the Mountain School Boy Classic at Belfry.

7. Belfry (3-4) – Belfry went 1-2 in week four with a win over Lawrence County 79-70 and losses to Bourbon County and Pendleton County in competitive games in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at Rowan County. This team is up and coming with hard-nosed, physical players at every position. Week five will see them host the Mountain Schoolboy Classic where they face East Ridge, a very good Tug Valley, WV squad in a rivalry game, and a solid Jackson County team.

8. Sheldon Clark (5-5) –
The Cardinals have one of the most dominate players in the region in Trey James but struggle when they cannot get him the ball in the half court set. Sheldon Clark went 1-2 in week four with losses to Montgomery County and West Carter in the Derby Classic and a win against Phelps. They got a tough draw in the Cumberland Falls Invitational in week five as they open with Knox Central then face North Hardin.

9. Betsy Layne (6-4) – The Bobcats have very good inside play and went 2-1 in week four with a loss to Kentucky Country Day followed by wins over Jackson City and Boyd-Buchanan, TN in the Smoky Mountain Classic in Gatlinburg, TN. Week five will let us know more about where they stand in the region as they travel to Belfry for the Mountain Schoolboy Classic where they face Johnson Central, Jackson County and Paintsville. If they can pick up a win against JC or Paintsville you could see them climb the rankings.

10. Lawrence County (4-8) – Belfry, Pike Central and Cordia all defeated the Bulldogs in week four and only the Belfry game was within single digits (nine points). This team is young and still looking for their footing post Timmy Dalton. Week five will see them travel to Bath County for the CSI Classic where they open with an East Carter team they defeated at home earlier in the year 57-52.

11. East Ridge (4-6) – The Warriors went 1-2 in week four with a revenge win over Magoffin County 79-61 (lost earlier in the year to the Hornets 41-49) and losses to Morgan County and Cordia. The Cordia loss was only by one point and shows the team is improving under veteran Coach Randy McCoy. East Ridge will face Belfry in the Mountain Schoolboy Classic at Belfry in week five.

12. Prestonsburg (3-5) – The Blackcats opened with a win in their Holiday Classic over Magoffin County then were beat handily by both Morgan County and Pike Central. If they can avoid the four seed in the 58th District, they will have a chance to get to the regional tournament. Week five will see them travel to Greenup County where they open with Seneca.

13. Magoffin County (1-10) – New coach, best player hurt during football, graduation of a once in a generation team. The aforementioned help explain what is going on in Magoffin County as they went 0-3 in week four. The bright spot has been Brady Whitaker who has multiple 30 point games this season. This could just be growing pains early in the season, as Magoffin is very young and is figuring things out.

14. Phelps (2-7) – The Hornets ended up going to the Raceland Derby Classic in week four and their closest game was a 28-point loss to Greenup County. The Hornets will be back in action versus Paintsville in week five in the Mountain Schoolboy Classic at Belfry.

15. Jenkins (0-11) – The Cavaliers struggle to score the ball, having only hit fifty points three times this season. Jenkins went 0-2 in week four with blow-out losses. The long year continues in week six (no games in week five) as they return to the court with Pikeville after the new year.

16. Piarist (1-8) - The Knights went 0-3 in week four and were not competitive despite playing in an all private school invitational at Rose Hill. Piarist has also cancelled with January 8th game at Pike Central.

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