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Overview: With the increasing difficulty to rank the 15th Region, a new way to classify teams has been devised. The 57th District still looks strong, Timmy Dalton continues to lead the nation in scoring per max preps, and a few teams are getting hot late. Lets see what the region holds after 8 weeks of play.

Tier 1 (Teams within this tier are considered interchangeable on a given night and have distinguished themselves as the primary contenders for the regional title. These teams should be considered favorites above lower tiers – they are in no particular order).

Sheldon Clark (12-9) –
The Cardinals have plenty of depth and senior leadership as they went 2-1 in week eight with wins against Johnson Central at home and Ambassador Christian at Williamson, WV. They did lose to Scott, WV at Williamson, WV in a game they controlled for almost 31 minutes. This team is big, physical, and athletic and will could easily win the region.

Magoffin County (13-7) – The Hornets went 1-1 in week eight with a win over Belfry at home and loss on the road to Pikeville. Magoffin County is still undefeated on their new home floor as Trenton Russell and Jaren Lovely continue to lead the way. They will very difficult to beat in districts at home.

Johnson Central (14-6) – The Golden Eagles went 1-2 in week eight with losses on the road to Knott Central and Sheldon Clark. Mason Blair seems to have recovered from his recent scoring slump as he put 33 and 36 following a 23 point performance vs. Sheldon Clark. Blair also became the school’s all-time leading scorer vs. Mingo Central. In week nine JC should see Cole Crace reach the 1,000 point club as JC faces Lawrence County, Belfry, and Sheldon Clark.

Pikeville (11-6) – Perhaps the hottest team in the region, the Panthers went 2-0 in week eight with double digit wins over both Magoffin County and East Ridge. Wyatt Battaile is a dynamic player on both ends of the floor and when point guard transfer Kobe Brown gets eligible (sitting out the full year – will be available in early February), this team will have all the pieces to contend. This could be Pikeville’s year.

Tier 2 (Teams within this tier have shown the ability to knock off tier 1 teams and should be considered the top sleepers in the region. With improvement or tier 1 decline, they could jump up. These teams should be considered interchangeable and favorites over lower tier’s – they are in no particular order).

East Ridge (12-7) – The reigning All-A champs went 2-1 in week eight with their only loss coming to a red hot Pikeville squad. They will face Russellville in the All-A state tournament followed by Phelps. East Ridge is solid and own one win over the tier one teams. On a given night they could knock anyone out with their tempo control.

Lawrence County (13-7) – The Bulldogs picked up wins versus Phelps, South Floyd, and Paintsville in week three in convincing fashion in week eight. In the South Floyd game both Timmy Dalton (49 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists) and Jared Wellman (21 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) went for triple doubles. The team is young, but with Timmy Dalton they always have a chance to knock off a top tier team.

Shelby Valley (13-6) – Shelby Valley is playing well right now and have the quality wins they were missing earlier in the season. They have won five in a row heading into a big showdown with 59th district foe Pikeville. The Wildcats could make a claim as a top tier team with a good showing in week nine.

South Floyd (10-9) – The Raiders have plenty of talent and size but have hit a mid-season slump, losing three of their last five. South Floyd is still a heavy favorite in the 58 district despite a surprising loss to Allen Central in seeded action. Jackson City, Jenkins, and Betsy Layne will help them right the ship in week nine.

Tier 3 (Teams within this tier are solid and could knock off a tier 2 team on a given night. They should be considered heavy underdogs versus a tier 1 team and not serious contenders for the regional title but favorites over lower rated tiers – they are in no particular order).

Belfry (8-9) – The Pirates are on the cusp of moving up to tier 2 as they own wins over two teams in that classification. Having lost two in a row does not help however. The road gets no easier as they face Lawrence County, Johnson Central, and Shelby Valley on the road before hosting Sheldon Clark in week nine. With a good showing this week you should see them rise to tier 2, but it will be very difficult.

Pike Central (11-9) – The Hawks have lost two of their last three and play uninspired basketball at times. They have talent and size, but cant seem to put it together for an entire game. This team will have a chance to come out of the 60th district with a late season push.

Paintsville (6-11) – The Tigers are very good defensively but struggle to score the ball at times. If their young talent, gets hot they could pull and upset. Paintsville will have Russell, Magoffin County and Greenup County in week nine. It gets no easier as the have lost six in a row and eight of their last nine overall.

Phelps (8-10) – The Hornets have the best player no one ever mentions in Christian Mounts. He is a skinny guard, but can absolutely sky on his dunks. Phelps is playing better of late and could claw to .500 by seasons end.

Tier 4 (Teams within this tier are devoid of great talent and need much improvement to be competitive with higher rated tiers – they are in no particular order).

Prestonsburg (5-14) – The Blackcats picked up two wins in week eight with wins over Betsy Layne and Allen Central. They have a punchers chance to advance to the regional tournament, but cannot contend with higher rated tiers.

Allen Central (7-13) – The Rebels picked up a shocking win versus 58th District rival South Floyd in week eight and have been playing much better. Their young talent will mesh well next year with South Floyd’s upperclassmen (Floyd County Central) but they might still find themselves in the regional tournament as the 58th is very weak.

Betsy Layne (1-17) – The Bobcats narrowly lost to Prestonsburg, but are still a few years away from being competitive with the tier’s above them.

Tier 5 (Teams in this tier have little to no chance to defeat any 15th region opponent).

Piarist (1-16) – No wins in the near future for the Knights. They will make their first trip to the region next year, however, along with everyone else.

Agree or Disagree?