Inside the 13th Region (01-23-17)
1. Corbin (14-3 overall, 7-1 vs. 13th Region opponents)
The Redhounds saw their four-game win streak get snapped on the road after falling to Knox Central on Friday, 93-80. The two teams have now split with each other with Corbin coming away with a win at home on Dec. 30, 2016, winning, 76-71. So why isnít Knox Central No. 1 currently? You could toss the names of corbin, South Laurel, Knox Central and Harlan County into a hat and pick one, and you couldnít go wrong with them being ranked as the top team right now. With that said, Iím going with the Redhounds because of some of the bigger wins they have had. Plus, donít forget, the Panthers dropped a 67-63 decision to Harlan County this past week.
2. South Laurel (17-4, 7-1)
The Cardinals are the hottest team in the region with seven straight wins, and might just possess the most quality wins from a regional team as well, so why arenít the defending 13th Region champions the top team? Well Iím going back to Corbinís 61-52 win over the Cardinals at South Laurel on Dec. 13, 2016. South Laurel gets a chance to get revenge tomorrow at Corbin. So yes, a win over the Redhounds tomorrow could very well move South Laurel into the regionís No. 1 position.
3. Knox Central (14-5, 7-2)
And now here we are with the Panthers. They could very well be ranked No. 1. I mean, they did just beat No. 1 Corbin, 93-80, while handing the Redhounds their first loss to a region team in the process. The last time a 13th Region team finished the season unbeaten against 13th Region opponents turns out to be the Redhounds, who accomplished the feat in 2009-10. But back to Knox Central, like I said last week, a clean sweep of both Harlan County and Corbin at home would have moved the Panthers into the regionís top spot, but they dropped a 67-63 decision to the Black Bears. Knox Central possesses some of the best talent in the region, and could very well be cutting down the nets at The Arena in March.
4. Harlan County (20-2, 8-1)
So why arenít the Black Bears ranked No. 1? Their only loss to a region team was a 72-54 setback on the road to Corbin? And, they were without the services of Anthony Nolan in that game, and responded with a 67-63 win over Knox Central on the road. The Black Bears are another solid team that could very well be the best team in the region. Two consecutive double-digit losses combined with the Redhounds cruising past Harlan County is keeping them from the regionís top spot currently.
5. Clay County (11-8, 6-4)
The Tigers are winners of three straight and are coming off a big 72-63 win over 49th District rival North Laurel. If they can pull off the road win at North Laurel on Tuesday, Clay County will be rolling. The Tigersí key to success is getting the ball to big man Logan Gabbard and Ryan Rogers. Their success opens things up for Will Sexton, Jacob Curry and Trevor Sams.
6. North Laurel (16-4, 5-3)
The Jaguars took one on the chin last week when hey dropped a 72-63 decision to Clay County. Theyíll get a chance to right the ship Tuesday with a home game against the Tigers. Once Brian Gray returns from an ankle injury, North Laurel will be tough to beat.
7. Whitley County (8-10, 3-5)
Speaking of teams that are tough to beat, go no further than Jerry Overbeyís Colonels. I said earlier in the season that Overbey will have his squad ready to play once the new year began, and he has proved me right. The return of Josh Richardson has been key along with the continued improvement of Hunter Hollingsworth. And of course, you canít forget about the play of Corey Johnson. He has played a big role in both of the upset attempts of Corbin and South Laurel. Whitley County fell short in each game, but was right there till the end.
8. Pineville (14-4, 9-1)
The Mountain Lions captured their second straight 13th Region All ĎAí Classic championship by defeating Harlan in the finals, 83-73. Theyíll have nine days off before playing Owensboro Catholic in the first round of the All ĎAí Classic State Tournament. Pineville is a team that is hard to figure out, but believe me, the Mountain Lions are dangerous.
9. Lynn Camp (11-7, 6-3)
The Wildcats have been inconsistent for most of the season, but with transfer Tanner Boggs being ruled eligible to play on Saturday, Lynn Camp looked like a different team during its 76-61 win over Barbourville. The 15-point victory snapped the Wildcatsí 33-game losing skid against 51st District opponents. Boggs scored 16 points in the win while Jacob Bundy finished with 22 points and bruce Hopkins added 19.
10. Harlan (8-8, 4-4)
The Green Dragons defeated Lynn Camp last week, but with the addition of Boggs to the Wildcats roster, Iíve gotta move Lynn Camp ahead of Harlan.
11. Bell County (9-13, 3-6)
The Bobcats snapped a three-game losing skid by defeating Thomas Walker, Va., 71-16, and almost upset Harlan County before losing, 42-37 this past week.
12. Barbourville (9-10, 5-6)
The Tigersí struggles continued after falling on the road to Lynn Camp this past week, losing, 76-61. They have now lost four of their last five games.
13. Jackson County (8-10, 3-8)
The Generals are a hard team to figure out. They snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating Red Bird on Saturday, 76-44.
14. Williamsburg (3-12, 2-6)
The Yellow Jackets are another team that continues to struggle. They are 2-8 during their past 10 games.
15. Red Bird (7-10, 2-9)
The Cardinals dropped two games this past week by 37 points and 32 points.
16. Middlesboro (2-13, 0-9)
The Yellow Jackets are still searching for the elusive first 13th Region win. They have lost 28 straight games to 13th Region opponents.
17. OBI (4-10, 1-9)
The Mountaineers are 1-6 during their last seven games.