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Inside the 15th Region (12-28-15)

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Week 4 marks the half way point of the Holiday season tournament barrage. We saw some shake up in the rankings but as of now we have 1 clear favorite in Lawrence County and 3 strong contenders in Magoffin County, South Floyd, and Johnson Central. There is no doubt the 15th Region will go through Louisa this season as teams look to close the gap on the Bulldogs. Lets see how the rankings shake out post Christmas.


1. Lawrence County (10-2) – Lawrence County is still the team to beat in the 15th Region and its dosent look like that will change anytime soon. In week 4 the Bulldogs went 3-2 with wins over Fleming County, St. Henry, and New Cath and losses to Trinity and Montgomery County (3 point play to end the game). LC continues to play in Traditional Bank Holiday Classic in week 5 as they are in the middle of a brutal schedule (11 games in 13 days). The tough schedule will only make them stronger as the season progresses.


2. Magoffin County (6-2) – Magoffin lost in the championship of the Hi Tech Signs and graphics to Lawrence County. The game was competitive after the 1Q, but early turnovers would eventually doom the Hornets. This team is playing well and will look to continue putting pressure on the 15th Region. The Hornets will play a very good North Laurel team in the opening round of the Mountain School Boy Classic at Belfry.


3. South Floyd (5-4) – The Raiders won the green division of the Gatlinburg tournament and are playing very well as a unit. They have the go to player in Andrew Tackett and functional play from a variety of role players. Coach Holbrook has his team playing well as they go into the Pikeville Invitational and make the biggest jump in the rankings this week.


4. Johnson Central (3-5) – Johnson Central went 1-2 in Gatlinburg against stiff competition (highest possible flight of 4 offered) and will compete in the Pikeville Invitational in Week 4 (followed by a big district matchup with Magoffin on Saturday). JC is still searching for an identity, but they play very hard. Look for them to only get better as we approach the new year as their record can be misleading early.


5. Shelby Valley (5-3) – The Wildcats jump up to the 5 spot as they prepare for a rematch with Johnson Central in the Pikeville Invitational. In the first game SV had a 9 point lead with under 4 minutes only to see the lead slip away late. Hunter Swindall and Lamont Wright form a very good back court for Coach Hicks as they are tough to stop. The approved eligibility of East Ridge transfer Dylan Potter should help the Wildcats as they move forward. SV went 1-0 in week 4 with a win against John Burton, VA.


6. Pike Central (4-5) – The Hawks went 2-2 in week 4 with wins against Seneca and Bath County and losses to state power Mercer County and Rockcastle County (OT). The Hawks play a tough schedule and will be a tough out come tournament time.


7. Pikeville (4-5) – The Panthers went 1-2 in the Gatlinburg tournament (white flight – flight 3 of 4 in difficulty according to tournament directors). Pikeville will host the Pikeville Invitational in week 5 where they open with Russell. This team has the pieces to be very good, and as their football players round into basketball form we should see them rise up the rankings.


8. East Ridge (6-4) – East Ridge picked up wins over Greenup County and Grundy, VA in week 4 and will play Phelps, South Laurel, and Beth Haven in Week 5.


9. Betsy Layne (4-4) – After starting strong and surprising many, the Bobcats went 0-2 in week 4 with losses to Elliott County and Russell (both in convincing fashion). Perhaps youth is catching up to Betsy Layne, but they still have one of the best big men in the 15th in Zach Hamilton.


10. Paintsville (2-3) – Paintsville was 0-2 in week 4 with losses to Bracken County and Powell County. They will compete in the Ashland Invitational Tournament in week 5.

11. Sheldon Clark (3-6) – The Cardinals suffered a loss to Paintsville on the road in dominating fashion and are thus rated below them. In the end SC may be slightly better than Paintsville but with the head to head loss are rated below them. The Cardinals will play in the Pikeville Invitational in week 5 where they open with Hazard.


12. Belfry (1-4) – Belfry did not play in week 4 but will host the Mountain School Boy Classic in week 5. Look for them to get better as their football players get their basketball legs under them (much like Pikeville’s players).


13. Allen Central (3-6) – The Rebels were 0-2 in week 4 with losses to Magoffin County and June Buchanan. They will open with Greenup County in Stultz Pharmacy Holiday Classic in week 5.


14. Prestonsburg (2-7) – The Black Cats did not play in week 4 will open the First Southern National Bank Holiday Classic with Logan, WV in week 5. Look for the long year to continue in Prestonsburg as their only wins have come against Phelps and Piarist.


15. Phelps (1-5) – Phelps did not play in week 4 but will compete in the Mountain School Boy Classic at Belfry in week 5. They open with East Ridge.


16. Piarist (0-8) – The knights will struggle to win this season as they are very young. Hopefully the Christian league teams will provide more balanced competition.


Agree or Disagree?

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Johnson Central (due to their size), Magoffin County (solid squad), Pike Central (district opponent) will challenge Lawrence County this year (in that order). The Bulldogs will be heavily favored, but when you get in region everyone knows their personnel (strengths and weaknesses), their style, and even their plays due to the fact this group of players has been together so long. Out of region, the Bulldogs are somewhat of an unknown to teams.


There region will go through Lawrence, but there are some strong contenders that will only get better as the season progresses. I do agree that LC is a top 25 team this year, just think region and district opponents will give them some tough games that out of region teams (although better) may not.


Hope this answers your question!

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