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Overview: The top teams took some lumps in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic, Pikeville proved their top in the region with a win over Floyd Central, Shelby Valley continues to impress, Pike Central seems to be a team in turmoil, and Magoffin County rises up the rankings. Lots of parody as we near the mid-point of the season in the 15th Region. Let’s take a look at the rankings as teams get into district and regional play in the new year!

1. Pikeville (7-3) – The Panthers competed in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic in week five, going 1-2. Blowout losses to both Louisville Doss and Taylor County did not pose well, but Pikeville finished the week with a 71-63 win over regional number two Floyd Central, keeping them undefeated against regional competition. Wyatt Battaile is averaging nearly 24 ppg and 8 rpg to go along side Conner Roberts and his 15 ppg. The Panthers will begin a five game home stand in week six as they host East Ridge, Jenkins and Shelby Valley (all district opponents). They will be favored in all contest.

2. Floyd Central (8-6) – Like Pikeville, Floyd Central competed in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic in week five. Like Pikeville, Floyd Central came away with one win (defeated Knott Central 65-55). Unlike Pikeville, the Jaguars came away with three losses (Skills Factory, GA, University Heights, Pikeville). Finishing the week 1-3, Floyd Central was competitive in every game, but seemed to falter down the stretch when the games were within reach. The Jaguars are still being led by J.R. Tackett at point and Brady Conn in the middle and will travel to Prestonsburg for a 58th district contest in their only game in week six. Don’t let the losses fool you as this team is deep, physical, and capable of winning the region.

3. Shelby Valley (8-4) – The Wildcats went 2-1 in week five with a win 63-57 win over Jackson County and a running clock win over Pike Central before falling to Perry Central 63-74 in a game they led by ten points at the half (all games at Belfry in the Mountain Schoolboy Classic). After opening the season with seven straight home games, Shelby Valley remains road warriors in week six, traveling to Magoffin County and Pikeville. They are playing very well right and play very hard as a team despite being undersized at almost every position. Cody Potter leads the way but the guard play of freshman Keian Worrix has been electrifying as of late. The Pikeville game this week could determine the top overall seed in the 59th District.

4. Johnson Central (6-7) – The Golden Eagles went 2-1 in week five with wins over Betsy Layne (running clock) and Pike Central 73-62 (led by 18 late in the fourth quarter). The loss came at the hands of Perry Central. JC is led by freshman Isaiah May and junior Jacob Rice as both are averaging over 17 ppg (Rice 6 apg: May 5 rpg). Week six opens with a critical district game at home versus Sheldon Clark followed by a true road game at Belfry and showdown with Simon Kenton at Russell in the Marvin Meredith Classic. The Sheldon Clark game will be on the 2nd home game for Johnson Central as they played twelve of their first thirteen on the road. As this team continues to mature, they will be scary later in the year and for years to come with such a plethora of young talent. It should be noted that starting PF Dalton Collins will be out 10-14 days as he suffered a laceration on his right hand diving on the floor versus Pike Central. This will make JC even more guard dominated for the next two weeks.

5. Pike Central (11-4) – The Hawks take the biggest fall this week after going 1-2 in week five. It’s not that Pike Central lost two games, but the fact it was against two regional opponents they were ranked ahead of and the fact both were not very competitive. Couple that with the confirmed news that three players quit the team in middle of week five and Pike Central seems to be in disarray as we begin the new year despite having the most wins in the region. Every average or better team they have played has defeated them thus far, despite the fact the Hawks have a ton of talent on their roster. They have a chance to right the ship in week six as they host Paintsville then will be heavy favorites against Piarist and Magoffin County.

6. Paintsville (10-3) – The Tigers went 2-0 in week five with blowout wins versus Phelps and Betsy Layne. Mason Moore (16.5 ppg) and Seth Williams (15.5 ppg) continue to led the young squad as they are making ripples early in the season. Paintsville will have two road games in week six (Pike Central and Sheldon Clark). If they continue their stellar play in both, they will solidify their ranking and could move up even more.

7. Belfry (5-5) – Belfry is long, athletic, and has shooters all over the floor. The Pirates went 2-1 in their own Mountain Schoolboy Classic with a lop sided win over East Ridge followed by and impressive OT win over Tug Valley. The Pirates did fall to Jackson County 63-65 in OT on a buzzer beating corner 3FG in which the timekeeper seemed to have a delayed start to the clock on the inbounds. With the surprise play Devin Varney to complement Isiah Roblee and Koleston Blankenship, don’t be surprised to see Belfry jump the rankings soon. Week six will see them host Johnson Central as they are in the middle of a nine out of ten game home stand.

8. Sheldon Clark (6-7) – The Cardinals went 1-2 in week five with double digit losses to both Knox Central and North Hardin and a win vs. Fleming County (All in the Cumberland Falls Invitational at Corbin). Big man Trey James recorded three consecutive triple doubles (points, rebounds, blocks) in the tournament to include at 17 block performance versus Fleming County (tied state record for most blocks in a game). The Cardinals will face Johnson Central on the road and Paintsville at home in week six. Both are seeded district games that should result in packed houses.

9. Betsy Layne (6-7) – After a nice start to the season, the Bobcats dropped three in a row in week five at the Mountain Schoolboy Classic at Belfry. All three losses were by a minimum of thirty points and not very remotely close at any point. Week six will see Betsy Layne travel to Lawrence County. They defeated the Bulldogs at home in overtime earlier in the season. This is a very important district game as no team in the 58th wants to finish fourth and face what will most likely be Floyd Central.

10. Magoffin County (4-11) – After a 1-10 start to the season, Magoffin County bounced back with a 3-1 record in week five. Wins over Lawrence County, East Ridge (overtime) and Phelps, coupled with a close loss to Perry Central (63-72) tells us the Hornets might have found their stride. The Hornets saw the biggest jump up the rankings this week and will have a chance to move up again as they host both Shelby Valley and Pike Central is week six. Can the Hornets keep taking steps forward, or will they take a step backwards?

11. Lawrence County (5-11) – The Bulldogs went 1-3 in week five with losses to Magoffin County, East Carter and Menifee County and a win against Jackson City. The young squad plays hard but sometimes lacks the ability to generate good offense when needed late in games. Week six will see Lawrence County travel to Raceland then host Betsy Layne is a pivotal 58th district seeded game. The Bulldogs lost in OT on the road at Betsy Layne just a few weeks earlier.

12. East Ridge (4-9) – Despite the nice play of sophomore Cameron Hess, East Ridge struggled in week five going 0-3 with losses to Belfry, Magoffin County (second time this season), and Ambassador Christian, WV. Two key district games wait in week six as the Warriors travel to Pikeville then host Jenkins.

13. Prestonsburg (3-8) – The Blackcats went 0-3 in the Stultz Pharmacy Holiday Classic at Greenup County in week five. Losses to Seneca, Greenup County and Russell County (closest game was 11 points) did not bode well for Prestonsburg as they have now lost five in a row and 6 of their last seven. Week six will see them host June Buchanan and Floyd Central while traveling to Phelps. They have a chance at two wins in JBS and Phelps, but should not be competitive versus Floyd Central in a district seeded game.

14. Phelps (2-10) – The Hornets went 0-3 in week five but had very close games with Ambassador Christian, WV 57-63 and Magoffin County 65-67. Trey Francis is a very nice player for Phelps and one of the best Sophomores in the region as he continues to give his team a chance each and every contest. Prestonsburg, Letcher Central and Piarist will all make the trip to Hornet Fieldhouse this week.

15. Jenkins (0-11) – Jenkins did not play a game in week five and will travel to both Pikeville and East Ridge in week six for two district games. It will be difficult for the Cavaliers to pick up a win this season as they continue to struggle scoring the ball.

16. Piarist (1-10) - Two more losses for the Knights in week five. Pike Central and Phelps wait in week six for what is almost certainly more of the same.

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