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Overview: The 57th district has been extremely fun this season and week nine did not disappoint. Timmy Dalton and Mason Blair continue to be top 20 in the nation in scoring per max preps. The top of the region is beginning to separate its self from the rest as post season rapidly approaches. Although difficult to do this season, we are back to traditional rankings after nine weeks of play.

1. Johnson Central (17-6) – The Golden Eagles went 3-0 in week nine with wins over Lawrence County, Belfry and Sheldon Clark. In the Lawrence County game, Mason Blair went for a school record 58 points (his 2nd 50 point game against the Bulldogs this season). In the Sheldon Clark game, Blair went for 37 points and 10 rebounds while Cole Crace dropped in 31 points (It was the third time the teammates have scored at least 30 points in the same game). Mason Blair also became the only member of the 2,000 point club at Johnson Central in the win against Sheldon Clark. An impressive feat in such a short period of time as Blair only scored 48 points as a freshman in limited minutes.

JC is on an upward trend of late but are still in the 2/3 game in 57th District seeding. The Golden Eagles will host Magoffin County in week ten. If they defeat the Hornets and then Paintsville to close district play, there will be a three way tie for first between Sheldon Clark, Johnson Central, and Magoffin County. If Magoffin County knocks off JC, then the district is set. Magoffin County will play Paintsville and Johnson Central will play Sheldon Clark.

2. Sheldon Clark (14-10) – Don’t let the record fool you as the Cardinals are the most balanced team in the region and perhaps the best team in the region. They are rated below Johnson Central simply based the most recent head-to-head meeting. Sheldon Clark gets balanced scoring from all five starters, play physical, and have plenty of depth on the bench. Week nine saw them go 2-1 with wins against Belfry and Hazard, and a loss on the road to Johnson Central in an instant classic. The Cardinals will have Cabell Midland, WV, Huntington, WV, and Paintsville in week ten.

3. Pikeville (13-6) – Pikeville is on a five game win streak (longest in the region outside Johnson Central – 4) as they continue to impress. They are 4-0 in their seeded district games (59th District) and are about to get Kobe Brown eligible after he sit out his full year (transferred from Shelby Valley – plays PG). The Panthers schedule has improved but is still somewhat soft. They have a chance to get their second quality win in Harlan County on the road in week ten (other quality win was against Magoffin County: Shelby Valley and East Ridge should be considered good wins just to clarify).

4. Magoffin County (14-7) – The Hornets defeated Paintsville in their only game of week nine. The district win put them in first place in the 57th at 4-1 with one game to play. They meet Johnson Central is a huge matchup this Thursday with the overall number one seed on the line. If they win, the Hornets get Paintsville in the first round of districts. If they lose, they will likely draw with Sheldon Clark and Johnson Central to determine seeding as all three will share the regular season district title.

5. Lawrence County (16-8) – The Bulldogs went 3-1 in week nine with their only loss coming to Johnson Central in a game that saw Mason Blair and Timmy Dalton combine for 102 total points (Blair 58; Dalton 44). Mr. Dalton has been on a tear this season and in week nine actually increased his nation leading scoring average above 38 points per game (max preps). Timmy is also averaging double figure rebounds and nearly 6 assists per a game as well. The surprise with Lawrence County is that their younger kids, to include Jared Wellman, have also become major contributors. This Bulldog team should be considered the top sleeper in the region as they could knock anyone out of the tournament on a given night.

6. East Ridge (13-8) – The 15th Region All-A champs went 1-1 in week nine to include an opening round loss in the All-A state tournament to Russellville. Their win was against a weak Grundy, VA just across the mountain. Ball control is key for East Ridge and will keep them in almost any game within the region. It will be interesting to see how the 59th district shakes out with seeding, but as it stands now, East Ridge would face Shelby Valley in a first round game. The Warriors have Phelps, Shelby Valley, and Magoffin County is week ten.

7. Shelby Valley (13-8) – After winning five in a row, Shelby Valley dropped both their games in week nine (Pikeville & Belfry) and both were at home and by double figures. The Wildcats are young and still show inconsistency in the overall team play. One consistent spot has been freshman Cody Potter’s perimeter shooting. It is yet to be seen if this young squad can compete with the top tier teams in the region come tournament time.

8. South Floyd (13-9) –
The Raiders got back to their winning ways in week nine, going 3-0. With size and great guard play, South Floyd is the class of the 58th District and will be a tough out in the regional tournament. J.R. Tackett and Brady Conn continue to lead this squad as they should extend their win streak into week ten.

9. Belfry (9-12) – The Pirates have lost five of their last six but had a very difficult week nine as they played Johnson Central, Sheldon Clark, Lawrence County and Shelby Valley. Valley was their only win. They are currently in the poll position in the 60th district as they own the tie breaker with Lawrence County (point spread) in head to head action as they two teams split. Belfry has great guard play and are a very scrappy bunch.

10. Pike Central (12-10) – The Hawks went 1-1 in week nine and have yet to hit their stride on the season. Belfry and Rowan County in week ten could get them rolling toward district play as they have the athletes to knock someone off in this region.

11. Phelps (10-12) – The Hornets went 2-2 in week nine and are not the same Phelps of old. Christian Mounts has the ability to keep them in games and they will be no easy out in the district tournament for any 60th District team. Phelps will have East Ridge, Shelby Valley, Fairview and Belfry in week ten. Not an easy week to say the least.

12. Paintsville (6-13) – The Tigers have dropped eight in a row and ten of their last eleven. It doesn’t get any easier as Sheldon Clark and Lawrence County are on the schedule for week ten. Paintsville could be looking at a 20 loss season.

13. Allen Central (9-14) – A loss the Phelps followed by wins over Jackson City and Prestonsburg were the results for Allen Central in week nine. When they shoot the ball well, Allen Central can hang with a lot of teams in the region.

14. Prestonsburg (5-16) – Prestonsburg lost to Allen Central and Phelps in week nine but are still in position where they could pull an upset in the district tournament and sneak by into the regional tournament. As it sits now, the Blackcats would face the Rebels of Allen Central in the 2/3 game of the 58th District Tournament.

15. Betsy Layne (2-18) – The Bobcats got an upset win against Phelps in week nine and have been much more competitive in their games compared to early season results. You could see Betsy Layne pick up a few more wins as the season winds down.

16. Piarist (1-19) – Piarist dropped three more in week nine. The Knights can’t wait for the super-regional to get here fast enough.

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