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Overview: It was a week of upsets in the 15th as this region is becoming nearly impossible to rank. East Ridge is your All-A champion in dramatic fashion winning back to back overtime games. Timmy Dalton continues to volley the 1st and 2nd spot in the nation in scoring. It’s getting fun in the mountains as you don’t know what might happen on a given night!

1. Johnson Central (13-4) – The Golden Eagles lost a heart breaker in Magoffin County to open the week despite having a 9 point lead in the 4th quarter but were able to bounce back with quality performances against Paintsville and South Floyd (leading both by 25 in the 4th quarter). Johnson Central has the most wins and fewest losses in the region and still control their own destiny in pursuit of the 57th District top seed. Week eight will be tough as JC goes on the road to face Sheldon Clark and Knott County, then closes the week with Mingo Central, WV at Williamson, WV. Mingo Central is one of the top teams in their class in the entire state of WV. Magoffin is the only in region loss for JC and that was a 2 point loss on the road in a game they led for 31 of 32 minutes.

2. Magoffin County (12-6) – The Hornets had their best week of the year in week seven and remain undefeated on their new home floor. Jumping two spots in our rankings, Magoffin defeated Johnson Central by two on a Trenton Russell driving lay-up with 3.4s left then defeated Sheldon Clark by one in double overtime on a Jaren Lovely finger roll with 1.2s remaining. In the Johnson Central game, Trenton Russell led the 4th quarter comeback as he scored 11 of his 24 in the frame with tough shot after tough shot. In the Sheldon Clark game Russell went for 37, but Jaren Lovely’s triple double might have been more impactful overall. The Sheldon Clark game was magical in a way as Magoffin led the entire game and had a 78-58 margin very late in the game. The Cardinals fought all the way back and had many chances to win, but the Hornets answered every punch. Magoffin is 6-4 in their last 10 games and 2-2 in their last four. They are making a very strong case for being rated number one overall and are without a doubt the hottest team in the region right now. The Hornets will have Pikeville and Belfry in week eight.

3. Sheldon Clark (10-8) – Going into the All-A championship game Sheldon Clark was in the driver seat for the number one overall spot but as they say, that’s why you play the game. Here is an example of how volatile this region is. Thursday morning, Sheldon Clark was a getting ready to play East Ridge in the All-A championship, Johnson Central was fresh off a loss to Magoffin County (who SC beat easily earlier in the season), and Sheldon Clark’s leader Dylan James looked to be recovering nicely from an early season ankle injury. The Cardinals opened the East Ridge game with a 19-4 first quarter lead but had to go on a late run to force overtime. East Ridge would hold on in OT for the win, knocking the Cardinals out of the All-A for the third straight season. Sheldon Clark would then travel to Magoffin County two days later and find themselves down 20 very late in the game before Dylan James got crazy hot and brought them all the way back. The Cardinals would fall in double overtime in what was the game of the year thus far in the region. In a matter of two days, Sheldon Clark goes from taking control of the region, to third overall. Yes, Sheldon Clark is 10-8, but make no mistake they are very good. They have nine seniors, rim protection in Trey James at 6’8’’, deadly shooting in Bradley Dalton, the go to player in Dylan James, and toughness and grit from players like Shawn Moore and Ethan Osborne. You could see them standing alone at the top by seasons end. This week they have Johnson Central at home then Scott, WV and Ambassador Christian, WV in the Hatfield-McCoy at Williamson, WV. The later of the games should be easy wins, but the JC game might see 3,000 people try to fit into a gym that holds 800.

4. East Ridge (9-6) – The Warriors pulled off two consecutive overtime wins versus Pikeville and Sheldon Clark to win their first All-A regional title before falling to 59th District rival Shelby Valley in a seeded contest on the road. East Ridge has played 12 of their 15 games versus regional competition and until the Sheldon Clark win had yet to defeat one of the top 3. Belfry, Lawrence County, Magoffin, Johnson Central, and Shelby Valley have all knocked off the Warriors, but they are hot right now and playing well as they return to their preseason ranking. One could make an argument that Lawrence County should be ranked higher as they own a convincing head-to-head win but that was earlier in the season. For now, the All-A representatives move up to number 4 despite dropping a game to a hot Shelby Valley team. Week eight will see East Ridge face Allen Central, Prestonsburg, Pikeville, and Tolsia, WV.

5. Lawrence County (11-7) – This might be the best dark horse pick in the region as Timmy Dalton continues to lead the young Bulldogs. Timmy is back and forth as the top scorer in the nation per maxpreps and is also averaging double figure rebounds from the guard position while shooting a high percentage. Most likely the young kids are feeling the grind of a long season, but they are still dangerous with Dalton on the court. Lawrence County has Paintsville and South Floyd in week eight.

6. Pikeville (9-6) –
Pikeville’s best win changed during week seven. It was a victory over Phelps and now it’s a win over Belfry. The Panthers have the best junior in the region in Wyatt Battaile and good guard play. They also have good post play in Hamilton. This team could move up or down depending on outcomes from each week. With Magoffin County and East Ridge in Week eight, we will see if they are pretenders or contenders.

7. South Floyd (9-7) –
The Raiders have won 5 of their last 8 and two of those losses came at the hands of regional favorites Sheldon Clark and Johnson Central. In both the JC and SC game, South Floyd got down big, but made runs that were too little too late. They have the 2nd leading rebounder in the state in Brady Conn and good guard play. If they figure out a way to open stronger, they could move up the rankings. As it stands now, they are a solid squad that anyone will have to play well against to beat.

8. Belfry (7-7) – The Pirates are athletic and scrappy, but 4-6 in their last 10 contest. They picked up a big win over Lawrence County two weeks ago, then narrowly defeated Phelps before losing by double digits to Pikeville. Belfry will be a tough out come post season play is what is shaping up to be a very competitive 60th district.

9. Shelby Valley (10-6) – The Wildcats finally picked up two quality wins and seem to be hitting their stride now that the young kids have valuable experience. Cody Potter is shooting lights out from deep as evident in wins against Knott Central (overtime) and All-A Champion East Ridge. They are hot right now, but can Shelby Valley keep it rolling?

10. Pike Central (10-7) – The Hawks have yet to hit their stride this season, but are currently on a two game win streak with victories over Prestonsburg and Rock Creek Academy, IN (overtime). You could see them start to peak in week eight as they play Belfry, Hazard, and Phelps.

11. Paintsville (6-9) – The Tigers have lost 6 of their last 7 and did not see senior Darren Morris, sophomore James Allen, and sophomore Chris Allen play against cross town rival Johnson Central. It is unclear if any of the players will return, but with the current set up and difficult 57th District, it will be tough for the Tigers to claw back to .500 by seasons end. Despite the head-to-head win, they are ranked behind Pike Central due to the roster turnover.

12. Phelps (7-9) – The Hornets always have a chance with Christian Mounts and picked up their first district win since 2012 by defeating Pike Central. They also played Belfry to within two points. Phelps could be dangerous come post season play with the ability to knock someone out in a one and done format.

13. Prestonsburg (4-13) – The Blackcats are slowly getting better with each game and picked up a win over district rival Allen Central in week seven. They also lost to Pike Central by 10 which was an improvement on an early season 19 point loss to the same team. They play hard and could be a surprise by making it to the regional tournament from a weak 58th District.

14. Allen Central (5-12) – The Rebels are heading in the wrong direction and have lost 8 of their last 9 after opening the season 3-0. Week seven saw them lose to Prestonsburg by 12 and drop one spot in the rankings.

15. Betsy Layne (1-15) – The long season continues for the Bobcats as their only win is a double overtime one point victory against Metcalf County. Metcalf County is still winless on the season.

16. Piarist (1-15) – It wont be another winless year for the Knights but they have still yet to be competitive with any 15th region opponent. Don’t look for many more wins this campaign.

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