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1. South Laurel (19-4 overall, 9-1 vs. 13th Region competition)
The defending 13th Region champions remained the hottest team in the region by hammering Corbin on the road Tuesday with an 80-59 victory over the Redhounds. JJ Ramey stepped up and showed why he is one of the top 10 players int he region by leading the way with 32 points while Jared Grubb turned in a 25-point scoring record. The Cardinals are winners of nine in a row, and actually have a better record than last year at this point of the season after defeating Williamsburg Friday. With the losses of Caleb Taylor, Andrew Griffith and Braden Miller along with playing the region’s toughness schedule, I would have never have guessed that.

2. Knox Central (15-5, 7-2)
The Panthers are winners of three straight and six of their last seven games while continuing to be one of the highest-scoring teams in the state. Knox Central hit the 90-point plateau for the fourth time this season during its 93-80 win over Corbin last week and accomplished the feat a few days later against Wayne County, winning, 91-76. Markelle Turner continues to lead Knox Central with an 18.7 scoring average while Wade Liford is tossing in 15.8 points per game. The Panthers get a chance to wrap-up the 51st District seed next Monday at home against Pineville.

3. Corbin (16-4, 9-2)
The Redhounds suffered their second straight loss for the first time this season after losing at home to 50th District rival South Laurel on Tuesday, 80-59. Corbin couldn’t get anything going on either end against the Cardinals, and it resulted in their second straight double-digit loss as well with leading scorer Andrew Taylor being limited to only 16 points — 12 points below his season average. Tony Pietrowski’s squad also dropped a 93-80 decision to Knox Central last week. Corbin rebounded, though, defeating Barbourville with ease before causing past Bell County on the road on Friday.

4. Harlan County (22-2, 9-1)
The Black Bears continue to do what they do best — win. Harlan County has now won five games in a row, which includes wins over Knox Central (67-63), Bell County (42-37), Barbourville (72-54) and Whitley County (72-55). Harlan County did receive some bad news earlier this week when the Black Bears food out they’ll be without the services of Anthony Nolan for the remainder of the season.

5. North Laurel (18-5, 7-3)
Not only did the Jaguars get some revenge against 49th District rival Clay County on Tuesday with their 60-50 win, but they also clinched the district’s top seed thanks to the 10-point victory. North Laurel knew coming into the contest they had to secure a 10-point win against the Tigers to get the top seed after losing to Clay County last week by nine points (72-63). Well, the Jaguars managed to do it right at the end of the game thanks to a basket by Bryson Asher. North Laurel also cruised past Oneida Baptist before falling to Scott County on Saturday, 71-51, despite Peyton Broughton’s 39-point, seven-rebound scoring effort.

6. Clay County (12-9, 7-5)
I’ve said this numerous times throughout the season — the Tigers can beat any team in the region when they get the ball to the post and have big games from Logan Gabbard and Ryan Rogers. But when they don’t, well, they can be beat as well. During Clay County’s first match-up of the season against North Laurel, Gabbard scored 13 points, Rogers had six and Jacob Hall added six points. Well, let’s take a look at what the Trio did during Tuesday’s 60-50 loss: Gabbard is held score, Rogers scores six and Hall adds two. What does that tell you?

7. Pineville (14-5, 9-1)
Quick, name the three lone teams in the region that have only one loss to a 13th Region opponent? South Laurel, Harlan County and yes, Pineville. The Mountain Lions were winners of four straight with three of those wins coming in last week’s 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament, in which they won for the second straight season. Pineville lost in first round action of the All ‘A’ Classic State Tournament to Owensboro Catholic, 58-23.

8. Whitley County (8-13, 3-8)
When it rains, it pours. That’s the best way I can some things up for the Whitley County Colonels so far this season. First the Colonels find out they’ll be without the services of starting guard Blake Brown before the season began, then Josh Richardson gets hurt, and misses some games. And just when it looked as if Whitley County was beginning to peak (close losses to both Corbin and South Laurel), they lose the services of Hunter Hollingsworth and Bayley Rice for a while. Not to mention Richardson left last Tuesday’s game in the second half, as the Colonels dropped a 51-47 decision to Williamsburg. Whitley County suffered two more losses this past week, falling to both Clay County and Harlan County. When this team is healthy, it’s pretty darn good.

9. Lynn Camp (12-8, 6-3)
The Wildcats are winners of four of their last six games, and they look to be much-improved with the additions of players such as Tanner Boggs and Marcus Hollin. Boggs scored 16 points during his Lynn Camp debut, helping guide the Wildcats to a 76-61 win over Barbourville. Dinky Phipps’ squad has some winnable games on the schedule in the next few weeks. Let’s see if they begin to gain some momentum.

10. Bell County (10-14, 3-7)
The Bobcats can’t seem to get over the hump against 11th Region’s upper echelon teams, but they are holding their own. Bell County almost pulled off an upset against Harlan County before falling, 42-37. The Bobcats did manage to get a big win over Leslie County, defeating the Eagles at home, 56-38 before losing to Corbin at home Friday, 61-37.

11. Harlan (11-8, 6-4)
The Green Dragons are very close to cracking the top 10. They currently are on a three-game win streak.

12. Jackson County (11-11, 4-8)
The Generals saw their four-game win streak come to an end after losing at home to Clinton County on Saturday, 86-54.

13. Barbourville (9-13, 5-8)
The Tigers have now lost four in a row, and seven of their last eight games.

14. Williamsburg (4-14, 3-8)
The Yellow Jackets surprised many by defeating Whitley County, 51-47, but they’ve followed that up with consecutive losses to both Jackson County (76-46) and South Laurel (73-43).

15. Red Bird (8-12, 2-10)
The Cardinals snapped a four-game win streak last week by defeating Jenkins at home, 80-67.

16. Middlesboro (3-16, 1-10)
The Yellow Jackets are getting better. They picked up a 60-41 win over Oneida Baptist last week.

17. Oneida Baptist (4-12, 1-11)
The Mountaineers are 1-8 during their last nine games, but did manage to pick up a 60-54 win over Buckhorn a few weeks back.