As we look back on the 2016 part of the 2016-17 season one thing is for sure....the 6th region can make a strong case as the juggernaut of all 16 regions this season. At season's end if you make it out of the 6th, you will have earned your trip to Rupp and be battle tested. The 6th has always had teams capable of winning the State Tournament, but the overall depth this season makes it a region that few can match. What we have learned so far is that the top 7 teams all can pack a punch. At the top, the Fern Creek team has played as tough a schedule as anyone in the state while only losing a single game to Trinity. The initial week of 2017 brings many regional match ups and we will see who can move up the rankings or who slides.

1) Fern Creek (12-1)- The Tigers were the Champions of the Mitchell Irvin Classic held at South Oldham over the Holidays. They had wins over KCD, Dixie Heights, and the host team South Oldham who had been undefeated until the Tigers handed them their first loss. In that game the Tiger team had 5 scorers in double figures and their defense tightened up in the 2nd half which could make them very tough to beat if they continue with that intensity. The schedule in the 1st week of January does not get any easier with regional games against Butler, Bullitt East (district game), and then a match up with Hopkinsville which should be a great game matching two similar styles of play.

2) Valley (9-2)- The Vikings went 2-1 at the Holiday event held at Henry Clay HS in Lexington. Although they lost a game, that was to a very good TN team while they won easily over Warren Central and Henderson County. They still have more region wins than anybody (5-0) and they battle with Doss on Tuesday before facing North Oldham later in the week. They sit solidly at #2 and with a win over Doss combined with an upset upon Fern Creek they could find themselves at the top of the 6th in the next rankings.

3) Doss (10-5)- Doss jumps over Butler as they have went 5-1 since the KOB. Doss won the Paducah Tilghman Christmas Tournament and then went 2-1 at the Meijer Holiday event with their only loss an overtime defeat against Franklin-Simpson in the opening game. In an odd scheduling sequence over a 4 game span, Doss played all three Hopkinsville teams losing to Christian County at the KOB while beating both University Heights and Hopkinsville at the Paducah tourney. Next up for the Dragons is key matchups with both Valley and DeSales.

4) Bullitt East (10-4)- The Chargers have went 3-1 since the last update with a Championship win at the Oldham County Best in Hoops tourney over Waggener 68-55 and then going 2-1 at the Ashland Invitational with wins over Bracken County & Simon Kenton to go along with a loss to Owensboro Catholic. They move up a spot to 4th and could go even higher as they play district foe Fern Creek this coming Friday after taking on Whitefield Academy earlier in the week.

5) Butler (9-4)- Butler drops two spots but remains in the top 5 after losing 2 of 3 at the Apollo Holiday Classic in Owensboro. Those losses came after they won the Bardstown Holiday Classic the week before beating two Alabama teams in the semi-finals and championship game. The losses at the Apollo event were to Oldham County & Warren Central with a win against Central Hardin. The Warren Central loss was a double overtime thriller 71-73. Butler plays Fern Creek on Tuesday and then Iroquois and Lincoln County at the end of the week.

6) DeSales (10-3)- DeSales remains unchanged with the #6 ranking but made a case for higher consideration as they are back on track winning the Ashland Invitational going 3-0 with wins over Ashland Blazer, Simon Kenton, & Owensboro Catholic. The week before they struggled losing badly in back to back games at the Best in Hoops Classic to Bullitt East & Oldham County. They have St. X and Doss this coming week.

7) PRP (8-5)- PRP went 4-2 since the last rankings and they must be the best #7 ranked team than any other region. They beat a strong Corbin team from the 13th region 78-66 in the Championship game of the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic. They also beat 13th region South Laurel at the same event. They went 2-2 the following week against 4 Indiana schools at the Jeffersonville, IN event. This is a streaky team. They started the season winning 3 in a row, then loss 3 in a row, won 5 in a row, and then lost their last 2 games. They play Southern and Beth Haven in what should be two easy games this week for the Panthers. PRP could easily move up quickly and their being #7 shows how tough the 6th region is this year.

8) Jeffersontown (6-6)- The Chargers stay in the 8th spot even going 1-3 this past Holiday week. They lost to George Rogers Clark, Southwestern, & Casey County before winning against out of state Spring Hill, TN. However, the teams chasing them all played in out of state events and it is hard to gauge the competition to move them ahead even though JTown lost to 3 KY teams. The last few teams in the top 10 will work itself out soon as JTown plays Western, North Bullitt, and Waggener this coming week.

9) Moore (5-4)- Moore has only played 9 games and in their lone outing since the last ranking they lost to Indianapolis Cathedral 60-68 which is not a bad loss considering the same Cathedral team beat PRP by 18 the following day. Moore faces Fairdale, Bullitt Central, and Tates Creek this coming week.

10) Western (6-5)- Western went 3-1 since the last rankings, but all four of those games were against out of state teams except Morgan County who they beat at the Aleris Christmas Tournament after losing to Rockcastle in their opening game of that event. Western plays JTown and Seneca next week with a chance to rise in the rankings if they score a victory over JTown.

11) Fairdale (6-6)- Fairdale went 2-1 since the KOB playing in Panama City, FL splitting with 2 FL teams and beating an AL team. They sit just outside the top 10 and could easily move up into the 8-10 spots when they play Moore this week. They also play Pendleton County.

12) Iroquois (6-7)- The Raiders have won 3 out of their last 4 games and switch places with Holy Cross who dropped four in a row. Opponents next week include-Shawnee, Butler, & Whitefield Academy.

13) Holy Cross (6-7)- After winning 4 in a row earlier in mid-December, Holy Cross is now on a 4 game losing streak and in the process lost their Head Coach, Mike Durham. They get a chance to regain momentum with a single game this Saturday against Breckinridge County. The week without games could be good for this squad as they regroup after a tough Holiday period.

14) Southern (5-8)- Southern went 2-4 since the last rankings and probably should be in front of Holy Cross, but those two play next week which will settle their position in the rankings on the hardwood. I predict a Southern victory at that time. For now Southern plays PRP in a 6th region matchup this week and then ends the week with (2) 7th region opponents in Atherton & Louisville Collegiate.

15) North Bullitt (4-10)- The Eagles did break their losing streak with a victory over Hart County, but then went on and lost two additional games after that. They play John Hardin and JTown this week. I am unsure of his return date, but if they get Travis Dunnavan back soon things will greatly improve for them.

16) Bullitt Central (4-8)- 3 losses at the South Central Bank Classic drop their record to 4-8. They play Meade County and Moore this week.

17) Beth Haven (8-4)- Beth Haven went 2-1 as they hosted their own Holiday Classic. They lost in a thriller overtime game to Louisville Collegiate. They play Evangel Christian this week and finish on Friday with PRP.

18) Evangel Christian (3-9)- Went winless at the Beth Haven Holiday Classic. They play Beth haven and Eminence this week.

19) Whitefield Academy (5-5)- Whitefield Academy won 3 of 4 games at the Rose Hill All Private School Invitational over the Holidays to improve to .500 on the season. They have Bullitt East, St. Francis, and Iroquois this week. They will be hosting the Whitefield Down Syndrome Invitational on Saturday where contributions go to a great cause. Hats off to Whitefield for hosting that event which has 10 teams participating beginning with games at 11:30 AM through 8:00 PM that evening.