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Overview: With just one week to go in the regular season, the 15th Region has seen Pikeville really slip since the loss of Byers, Johnson Central begin to peak at just the right time, Floyd Central continue to be competitive against the toughest schedule in the region, and Belfry remain red hot. This is the first week Pikeville has not been the top team in the region and the first week we have seen multiple buzzer beats decide games. Let’s check out the rankings and what happened in a wild week eleven!

Rankings:
1. Shelby Valley (19-7) – The Wildcats continue to roll and after a 3-0 week eleven mark, move into the top spot in the region. Wins over Lawrence County (28 points), Jenkins (36 points) and the one of the hottest teams in the region on the road in Belfry (3 points) let us know this team will be a force in the regional tournament and are a true contender to cut down the nets at the EXPO center in a few weeks. Shelby Valley plays extremely hard and have key players in every position. Blake Burke is the straw that stirs the drink and Cody Potter can score and shoot the ball with anyone in the state. With the rest of the team being stars in their roles, it will be tough for anyone to beat the Wildcats. Shelby Valley has won five in a row and eight of their last nine. Looking to close the season strong, Valley will travel to Magoffin County and host Sheldon Clark to close out the regular season.

2. Pikeville (18-8) – The Panthers are not the same team without lynchpin Cade Byers (broke hand in All-A Championship), going 4-5 since the injury. Week eleven saw Pikeville go 1-2 with their worst “in-region” loss of the season to Johnson Central (51-68: never led in the game) and a loss to Pike Central on the last play of the game (52-54). The Pike Central game ended in dramatic fashion, Wyatt Battaile hit a 3FG with 3s left to play to tie the game. Following a timeout, Pike Central senior guard Seth Conn (also starting QB) threw a full court pass to the opposite block where it was caught and scored in one motion by Levard Missick as time expired. Pikeville was able to bounce back with a win at home against Madison Southern. In that game, Wyatt Battaile eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for his career. This team plays hard and Battaile is still the best player in the region (getting close to 30 points and 10 rebounds every night), but something is missing since Byers went down. Two quality opponents to close out the regular season give Pikeville a chance to make the necessary adjustments and rediscover themselves as they travel to Boyd County and close at home with Paintsville.

3. Floyd Central (15-11) – The Jaguars went 0-3 in week eleven but have played the toughest schedule of any team in the region. Losses to North Laurel (11 points: led by 10 at half), Frederick Douglas (13 points) and Scott County (25 points) all on the road are how this week went for Floyd Central. The slow pace prevents them from coming back when down, but on the flip side, makes them very difficult to beat when they have the lead late. A three game home stand will close out the regular season for the Jaguars as they welcome in Johnson Central, Belfry and Huntington St. Joseph before the district tournament. Only one team (Henry Clay) has been able to come into the new gym and beat Floyd Central as they look to close on a high note.

4. Johnson Central (14-12) – The Golden Eagles are rolling right now and went 2-0 in week eleven with a 17-point win over Pikeville and (68-51) and a 5-point win over cross town and 57th district rival Paintsville (60-55). This is coming off a 42-point win on the road at Sheldon Clark in week ten. In the Pikeville game JC put four players in double figures led by Jacob Rice with 20 points (Gabe Ferrel 17 points, Isaiah May 13 points, Cory VanHoose 12 points). Freshman Isaiah May owned the boards with a career high 12 rebounds. JC again saw balanced scoring in the Paintsville game as Jacob Rice paced the Golden Eagles with 21 points (Isaiah May 11 points, Dalton Collins 11 points and career high 10 rebounds). This team is very young, very talented and starting to peak at the perfect time. They have four players averaging double figures on the season and are now a real threat to win a wide open region. The final week of the season with see JC be tested yet again as they travel to Floyd Central, host Bath County then travel to Pike Central to close out the year.

5. Pike Central (22-7) – The Hawks went 2-2 in week eleven with losses to Belfry and Harlan County on the road by ten points and two points respectively and wins over Phelps (33 points) and Pikeville (2 points on final play of game). This team is led by senior transfer Christian Mounts (Phelps) and if he is on they are very difficult to beat. Mounts joined the 2,000 point club in the loss to Harlan County this week. The Pikeville game was one for the ages as QB Seth Conn made a full court pass with 3s to play to Levard Missick who caught and laid the ball in using one motion as time expired. It was the first time in nearly a decade that Pike Central has beaten Pikeville in boys’ basketball. The Belfry loss locked Pike Central into the two seed in the 60th District Tournament where they will face Phelps. Pike Central has one final test in week twelve as Johnson Central comes to town for senior night. Pike Central has split with Johnson Central in two contest on the season.

6. Belfry (15-10) – Belfry is one of the hottest teams in the 15th Region winning nine of their last eleven games including going 3-1 in week eleven with wins over Pike Central (10 points), Paintsville (2 points – Isiah Roblee hit buzzer beater in overtime), Betsy Layne (9 points) and a loss to Shelby Valley (3 points). The Paintsville game was incredible as the Pirates overcame a 37-point performance from Mason Moore to get an overtime win. Down by one point with just a few seconds to play, Belfry was able to go the length of the floor for a fade away corner 3FG from Roblee over multiple defenders (falling into his own bench) as time expired. Belfry is long, physical, athletic and will be very difficult to beat for anyone in the tournament. The Pirates close the season with East Ridge, Floyd Central and Tug Valley (all on the road) then Jenkins at home.

7. Paintsville (18-7) – The Tigers went 0-2 in week eleven with an overtime loss on the road to Belfry (75-77) on a miracle shot at the buzzer by Isiah Roblee and a loss to cross town rival Johnson Central (60-65). The Tigers played both games without their star and team leader Seth Williams (possible walking pneumonia) but still had a chance to win both contests. Mason Moore scored a career high in the Belfry game by dropping in 37 points (mostly on foul shots) and James Allen led the team in the Johnson Central game by scoring 14 points, Moore had 11. The Tigers have some time off as they don’t play until Friday of week twelve when the travel to Pikeville to close out the regular season.

8. Betsy Layne (11-14) –
The Bobcats opened a four game home stand in week eleven, but went 0-3 in the games thus far. Losses to Leslie County, Belfry and Lynn Camp are not the way you want to close out the season, especially knowing your facing a hot Prestonsburg team in the first round of districts, but the games were all very close and competitive. Betsy Layne gets consistent post play and rebounding, but inconsistent shooting and ball handling. A great test of that post play will come in the form of Trey James and Sheldon Clark in week twelve as Betsy Layne closes out the regular season with the Cardinals and what will be a sure win in the form of Lee County.

9. Sheldon Clark (8-18) – The Cardinals have the most dominate post player in the region in Trey James, but are really struggling right now. Sheldon Clark went 0-2 in week eleven and have dropped nine of their last ten (2-11 since the new year). In a surprising upset, Sheldon Clark lost in overtime to Prestonsburg then followed it up with a 24-point loss at home to Knott Central. The guard play against pressure seems to be Sheldon Clark’s kryptonite. The good news is there are four more games to right the ship. In week twelve the Cardinals will become road warriors as they travel to Betsy Layne, Lawrence County, Shelby Valley and Huntington St. Joseph Prep. This will be a good chance to start playing better before they meet Johnson Central in the first round of districts.

10. Magoffin County (8-18) – Magoffin County is a scary team and getting better at the right time. They have won three of their last four including going 2-0 in week eleven. Dominate wins on the road versus Jenkins and Lawrence County show that the Hornets might be figuring things out at just the right time. They have been in a bunch of close games against really good teams all year, but found a way to lose. Perhaps now Brady Whitaker and company are finding a way to win! Magoffin County will close out the season at home with Shelby Valley and Prestonsburg then get ready for Paintsville in the opening round of districts.

11. Prestonsburg (11-16) – Prestonsburg had their best week of the year going 3-1. They picked up a huge win over Lawrence County to obtain the three seed in the 58th district tournament, but more importantly avoid Floyd Central in the first round, a win over Sheldon Clark in overtime and a win against Piarist. The Blackcats only loss came to East Ridge on the road. Prestonsburg will look to build on this momentum in the final week as they travel to June Buchanan, Magoffin County and Jenkins. They will have a chance to win all three games.

12. Lawrence County (8-20) – The Bulldogs went 0-4 in week eleven and are on a downward trend to near the end of the season losing eight of their last ten. This week they lost all four games by an average of over 15 points. The loss to Prestonsburg early in the week locked them into the four seed in the 58th district tournament and a date with Floyd Central at Floyd Central to open tournament play. This will almost certainly be the end of their season, but they do have a chance to close with a regular season win as they host Sheldon Clark in their only game of the final week of the season.

13. East Ridge (8-16) – The Warriors went 2-0 in week eleven with double digit wins over both Piarist and Prestonsburg in the first two games of a five game home stand to close out the season. Belfry, Phelps and Mountain Mission (VA) will close out the season for East Ridge as they look to begin playing well going into districts. They are still awaiting a coin flip between Pikeville and Shelby Valley to see who they play in the 59th District Tournament.

14. Phelps (9-20) – The Hornets went 1-2 in week eleven with two blow-out losses to Pike Central and Jackson County (both at home) and a win on the road versus Hurley, VA. The manner in how they lost at home (both by 20 plus points) does not bode well moving toward districts. They will face East Ridge on the road this week to close out the regular season.

15. Jenkins (0-23) – Two more losses in week eleven for the Cavaliers. The will have one more legitimate chance to get a win when June Buchanan comes to town this week (June Buchanan beat Jenkins 81-71 at home earlier in the season in a game that was tied half way through 4th). If they don’t get that game, expect a winless season.

16. Piarist (3-22) – Piarist knocked off Riverside Christian for the second time this season in week eleven. This will likely their last win of the season as they travel to Buckhorn, Rose Hill and Breathitt County in the final week of the regular season. They will face Belfry in the first round of the 60th district tournament when the post season begins. Last season they skipped the district tournament (forfeit) in order to go on a skiing trip.