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Overview: Pikeville captured in the 15th Region All-A crown in dominating fashion, Johnson Central defeated two opponents in the same day, Shelby Valley defeated Paintsville for the second time this season, and the rankings stay the same after eight weeks of play. No need to visit the LHL or CJ for your 15th Region power index as some don’t take into account out of state games, injuries, etc. All you need is right here on Bluegrass Preps as we break down the updated rankings in the 15th Region.

1. Pikeville (14-3) – The Panthers steam rolled the All-A Classic in week eight winning by an average margin of 23 points. They took care of Sheldon Clark, Prestonsburg and Shelby Valley behind the dominating play of Wyatt Battaile and company. The All-A win was Pikeville’s fifth in school history and first since 2013. They advance to play Region 12 All-A champion Somerset Thursday evening. They have only advanced out of the first round one time in school history when they made it all the way to the semi-finals in 1991. The All-A title reaffirms what we have known all season; Pikeville is the team to beat in the 15th. Prior to departing for the All-A, the Panthers will visit Shelby Valley in a 59th seeded game Tuesday night. Have defeated them twice already (by 22 on Sunday), expect a heated competition on the Wildcats home floor.

2. Floyd Central (10-7) – The Jaguars went 0-1 in week eight with a 53-65 loss at home to Henry Clay. It was the first home loss in the new school’s early history as game was much closer than the score indicated. This team is still big, physical and scary when compared to other 15th Region opponents. Week nine will see them host two 58th District seeded games as they welcome in Lawrence County and Betsy Layne before traveling to Paintsville to meet the up and coming Tigers. Floyd Central will be heavily favored in all three contest as they look to peak just before tournament time.

3. Shelby Valley (11-6) – The Wildcats went 2-1 in week eight, advancing to the All-A regional championship before falling to Pikeville. On the way to the championship, Shelby Valley defeated Piarist 91-11 in a contest that could have been much much worse, then knocked off Paintsville for the second time this season by a 78-68 margin (Blake Burke had a game high 30 points for Valley). Shelby Valley plays extremely hard and some might say were fatigued a bit before facing Pikeville, but they were unable to stop the Panthers from doing anything they wanted and had absolutely no answer for Wyatt Battaile on the perimeter or in the post on both sides of the ball. They will get another crack, rested and at home, against Pikeville in week nine as the district number 1 seed is likely on the line. Shelby Valley will then hit the road where they face East Ridge and Belfry to round out the week. Look for Cody Potter to get back on the track and score the ball more this week as he has been struggling somewhat in the mid-season.

4. Johnson Central (10-9) – The Golden Eagles played three games in a 24-hour span in week eight. First they played Mingo Central in Williamson, WV at 8PM Saturday night where they fell 46-66 in a contest they led most of the first half (two-point game at half – Mingo Central has Marshall Basketball signee Jeremy Dillon). Johnson Central returned home to play Ambassador Christian at noon the next morning, winning 86-78 (Gabe Ferrell was 9/10 from the field with career high 26 points). That evening Magoffin County came to JC for a heated 57th District rivalry game with seeding implications on the line. Cory VanHoose (23 points), Isaiah May (16 points), Jacob Rice (15 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) and Gabe Ferrell (15 points) led the tired Eagles to a blow-out 83-56 victory. With May and Rice in the backcourt leading the way and VanHoose and Ferrell scoring in transition and on the wings respectively, this team is very scary, very young, and very deep. Johnson Central will host Pike Central then travel to Buckhorn in week nine. Tommy McKenzie is known for getting his teams to peak late and this could be the beginning of the ascension toward yet another regional title.

5. Pike Central (15-4) – Being one of the few 15th Region teams not in the All-A, Pike Central picked up a win in their only contest of week eight. They defeated Hazard at home by a final of 56-53, pushing their win streak to four games. This athletic team is dangerous if they can figure out how to play together and will have to do just that in week nine as they travel to Johnson Central (lost by 12 earlier the season), then host Piarist, Phelps, and Tolsia, WV. They will be favored in every game other than JC as their less than impressive schedule continues.

6. Paintsville (14-5) – The Tigers competed in the All-A in week nine defeating East Ridge and Jenkins in blowout fashion before falling to Shelby Valley by double digits. It was the second time the Wildcats beat Paintsville on the season. Paintsville will begin a four game home stand that stretches across fourteen days the week as they host both Magoffin County and Floyd Central. Mason Moore and Seth Williams continue to lead and if you wanna beat them you must address their aggressive offensive play.

7. Belfry (6-8) – Belfry defeated Magoffin County and lost to a talented Logan, WV team in week eight. Super athlete and multi-sport star Devin Varney did not play in either game so take the results with a grain of salt as he takes the Pirates to another level in every phase of the game. Week nine will see Belfry begin a three game home stand as they face Prestonsburg, Phelps, and Shelby Valley before hitting the road against Sheldon Clark. The Pirates should be at or above .500 by the end of the week.

8. Sheldon Clark (7-12) – Trey James continues to be a force in the middle despite Sheldon Clark dropping three games in a row. In week eight the Cardinals lost to Pikeville, Scott, WV and Mingo Central, WV. Mingo and Pikeville was competitive (Pikeville’s only real test during All-A) while Scott, WV won by 33 hitting a 3FG at the buzzer. Eighth graders Ethan Colegrove and Brady Dingess continue to put up great numbers playing off the dominance of James. If the team can get consecutive stops in the half court and handle the press, they could be a force coming down the stretch. Week nine will see them play Hazard and Boyd County on the road then welcome in Belfry at home. This will be a difficult week for Sheldon Clark.

9. Betsy Layne (8-10) – The Bobcats went 1-1 in week eight picking up a win over Phelps in the All-A before falling to Prestonsburg 56-68. This team is solid in the post, but struggle with pressure and scoring in the half-court if they are not hitting shots. Week nine will be tough as they face Floyd Central on the road in their only game.

10. Lawrence County (6-13) – The Bulldogs did not play in week eight and have not played a game since a 21-point loss at home to Shelby Valley January 9th. Week nine will see Lawrence County travel to Floyd Central then host Prestonsburg. The Prestonsburg game could be the game of the week in the region as the district rivals are pretty evenly matched.

11. Magoffin County (4-15) – The Hornets went 0-2 in week eight with losses on the road to Belfry and Johnson Central. This team plays very hard and Brady Whitaker continues to show why he might be the most underrated player in the region from the guard position, but they can’t seem to put four quarters together. They will play close with their opponent and most of the time beat them for three of the four quarters, but seem to have that one frame where they falter tremendously and lose the game. If this team can figure out how to play for a full 32 minutes they could be the surprise in the region. Week nine will see them host Jenkins then travel to both Knott Central and Paintsville. Although outmatched, the last two games could be much closer than expected.

12. East Ridge (6-12) – The Warriors went 1-1 in week eight losing in the All-A to Paintsville by 17 and subsequently relinquishing their crown from last season, then winning against Tolsia, WV at Williamson, WV in triple overtime. East Ridge is showing slow improvement week by week and will host both Shelby Valley and Pikeville in week nine. They will most likely be the three seed in the 59th, but that’s why you play the game.

13. Phelps (6-13) – The Hornets went 1-2 in week eight with losses to Ambassador Christian (led by 10 at half) and Betsy Layne in the All-A. They picked up a win against Man, WV to close out the week. Trey Francis continues to show out as one of the top Sophomores in the region as teams are now starting to play no-help defense on the talented and athletic wing. Phelps will be on the road in week nine as they face Belfry and Pike Central before returning home to face Piarist (all three opponents are 60th district seeded games)

14. Prestonsburg (6-12) – Prestonsburg went 1-1 in week eight with a mild upset of Betsy Layne in the All-A Classic (district opponent, but the game does not count toward district seeding in the 58th) and a 40-point thumping at the hands of the red hot Pikeville Panthers. Prestonsburg is playing better of late as first year boys’ Head Coach Brandon Gearheart’s style seems to be taking hold. Week nine will see the Blackcats travel to Belfry, Jackson City and Lawrence County as they open a six game road trip.

15. Jenkins (0-17) – The Cavaliers went 0-2 in week eight and likely missed their only chance at a win this year falling to June Buchanan 71-81. Magoffin County and Letcher Central will both be on the road in week nine and should not be very competitive games. No one should lose them all, but this is a very realistic possibility this season for Jenkins against the schedule they have.

16. Piarist (1-15) – The Knights went 0-2 in week eight. Rose Hill, Pike Central and Phelps wait in week nine. Don’t expect any of the games to be close.

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