15th Region Week 11 Review: Region is wide open!
Overview: Martin County reaches the top spot, becoming the third team this year to attain the ranking. Prestonsburg and Betsy Layne see two players hit the 1,000-point mark while Johnson Central continues with their up and down season. Magoffin County and Floyd Central pick up surprise district wins on the road despite being the #4 seeds in their respective districts. The district tournaments are set as the teams go into the final week of the regular season. Listed below are the rankings and recap’s after eleven weeks of play.
Rankings (overall record):
1. (Up 3) Martin County (14-12) – The Cardinals are playing the best basketball in the region and deserving of the top overall spot. They have won five in a row and seven of their last eight, are undefeated at home and knocked off both Paintsville and Shelby Valley in week eleven. Martin County’s rise up the ranks marks the third team this season to hold the top overall spot as they are peaking at the perfect time led by Wake Forest commit Trey James. In week twelve, the Cardinals will look to keep rolling as they travel to Betsy Layne before closing out the season with Prestonsburg and Pikeville at home. Martin County is the top overall seed in the 57th District Tournament and will play Magoffin County.
2. (Down 1) Shelby Valley (20-6) – The Wildcats went 1-1 in week eleven with a road loss to Martin County 48-53 and a dominating win over Floyd Central 73-42. The two games were polar opposites for Mr. Basketball candidate Cody Potter (recently named 15th Region POY) as he went 8/27 against Martin County while battling the flu, then dropped 39 points and grabbed 18 rebounds against Floyd Central in three quarters of play. Shelby Valley is the only 20-win team in the regular season and has only played one game all year that is not on a 15th region court. They are the top seed in the 59th District and will play Jenkins in the opening round, but prior to that close the season with Huntington Prep Regional and Magoffin County at home, then Johnson Central on the road.
3. (Down 1) Johnson Central (14-10) – The Golden Eagles had a tough week eleven losing to district rival Magoffin County 58-57 on a last second lay-up and then getting blown out at Scott County 61-88 in a game where they did not win a single quarter. The Magoffin County loss put JC at 2-4 in the 57th District and bought them a ticket with Paintsville in the opening round next week. It is the first time Johnson Central has had a losing record in the 57th District since the 2007-2008 season when they finished 14-19 overall (JC was 3-5 in 57th District regular season that year). This team is extremely talented but seems to lack an identity despite having what will likely be two 2,000 point scorers in junior standout’s Isaiah May and Cory VanHoose. Make no mistake, however, as this team is more than capable of winning the regional title. They will look to get back on track in week twelve with four games. They travel to Prestonsburg, Floyd Central and Lawrence County and host Shelby Valley in what will be Flat Gap throw-back night where the team will wear jerseys of one of the schools consolidated into them in 1968-69.
4. (Down 1) Paintsville (13-11) – After opening the season 4-0 in district play, the Tigers lost their last two district contests on the road at both Johnson Central and Martin County and find themselves in the two seed. This means they will face Johnson Central in the opening round of the 57th at Martin County. In week eleven, Paintsville went 1-1 with a blowout win at home against Floyd Central and a double digit loss at Martin County. They will close the season on the road at Pikeville and at Raceland in preparation for the tournament. In order for them to reach their full potential, they will need to get higher level play from someone not named Colby Fugate, Nick Keeton or Braxton Tharp as those three have been carrying the team in every statistical category by a lot.
5. (-) Pikeville (14-9) – The Panthers are quietly playing very well down the stretch despite losing their starting backcourt to injury earlier in the season. In week eleven they knocked off East Ridge on the road in a preview of their 59th District matchup and then beat a stout Lawrence County team on the road 59-57 in a tightly contested game. Rylee Sammons and Grayson Harrison have stepped up their game and this team plays a controlled style that makes it difficult to speed them up. In week twelve they will close the regular season at home versus Paintsville and on the road at Martin County. Two very difficult games to get them ready for a post season run.
6. (-) Lawrence County (18-10) – The Bulldogs went 1-1 in week ten with a win at home over Prestonsburg and a loss at home to Pikeville. They have the second most wins in the region behind Shelby Valley, have locked up the top overall seed in the 58th and a date with Floyd Central in the opening round and in his first year, have the 15th Region COY in Chandler Thompson. Lawrence County has been and will continue to be the best dark horse to win the region as they have a talented starting five. They will look to sharpen their skills with only one game in the final week and that is a home contest against Johnson Central.
7. (-) Phelps (17-10) – The Hornets keep on rolling and have now won seven in a row. They destroyed both Letcher Central 60-28 and Belfry 72-48 in week eleven and have earned the top spot in the 60th District. With Piarist cancelling their season, this means Phelps is the first team in the regional tournament. The Hornets will face Pike Central, Prestonsburg and Betsy Layne to close out the season as they look to continue their magical run. Can Trey Francis get them to 20 wins for the first time in over thirty years? We will see.
8. (-) Magoffin County (15-12) – The Hornets went 3-1 in week eleven to include a surprise win over their biggest rival Johnson Central 58-57 on a Randy Bailey lay-up with 2.4s to play. It was the first win in district competition for the Hornets as they are locked into the four seed and will face Martin County at Martin County in the opening round. Magoffin parlayed the JC win into wins over Morgan County and Jenkins, but dropped a road game at East Ridge in another head scratcher. This team is very balanced and has a very good backcourt to compliment functional post play. They will be a tough out in the tournament. The Hornets close the season with Shelby Valley and Pike Central on the road.
9. (-) Betsy Layne (16-9) – Betsy Layne saw high flying dunker Jordan Frazier reach the 1,000-point mark in his junior season as they went 2-1 on the week. Betsy Layne was able to beat Letcher Central and Knott Central (4OT), but also lost to a scrappy Belfry team at home. The quadruple overtime game was not only rare in that we don’t see them that often, but in that Betsy Layne did not have a player with more than five rebounds despite all the missed shots from both teams. The win over a solid Knott Central team is a good sign moving into the tournament as Betsy Layne will close out the season with Martin County, East Ridge and Phelps.
10. (-) Belfry (9-13) – Belfry had a good week, going 2-1 with wins over Pike Central and Betsy Layne and a loss at home to Phelps. The Phelps loss was by 24-points and was the second loss to the Hornets in a three game span. This is after years and years of Belfry beating Phelps and you have to wonder if some built up frustration was let out. Belfry is locked into the 2/3 game in the 60th District and will face Pike Central in the opening round. The Pirates close out the season with four games to include Pike Central, East Ridge, Floyd Central and Russell.
11. (-) East Ridge (9-14) – The Warriors went 2-1 in week eleven with wins over Pike Central and hot Magoffin County team and a loss to Pikeville in a preview of the opening round of the 59th District tournament. This teams shoots a lot of three’s and if they are hot are capable of competing with the better teams in the region. East Ridge closes out the regular season with Belfry and Betsy Layne.
12. (-) Prestonsburg (8-14) – The Black Cats broke their 12 game losing streak in week eleven with a win over Menifee County on the road as they went 2-2 the past seven days. Prestonsburg was also able to pick up as win at home against Powell County, but had a head scratching loss to rival Floyd Central at home thus putting them in a tie for the #3 seed in the 58th. They had defeated Floyd Central on the road by double digits earlier in the season. One bright note is that senior guard Adam Slone reached the 1,000-point mark during the week. Prestonsburg will close out the regular season with Johnson Central, Martin County and Phelps. Three tough games and they will not be favored in any.
13. (-) Pike Central (6-19) – The Hawks went 0-2 in week eleven with losses against Belfry and East Ridge. They are locked into the 2/3 game in the district as Phelps is the top overall seed. They will face Belfry in the opening round of the 60th District tournament and host them for the final time this week in what should be a heated rivalry game despite the records. Pike Central will also have Phelps and Magoffin County at home as they close out the regular season.
14. (-) Floyd Central (5-20) – The Jaguars picked up a shocking win on the road at Prestonsburg in week eleven, winning 66-57 over their biggest rival. Braden Moore scored 17 points in the win as Floyd Central put four players in double figures. The Jags finished in a tie for 3rd place in the 58th District with Prestonsburg and will await the tie breaker scenario to play out before finding out if they will get Betsy Layne or Lawrence County in the opening round. They have Jenkins, Johnson Central and Belfry in the final week.
15. (-) Jenkins (1-20) – Jenkins went 0-3 in week eleven with losses to Rye Cove, VA (a game that was winable), Letcher Central and Magoffin County. They have three games on the schedule for week twelve and could potentially get a win at home against Lee County (lost by one point on the road earlier in the year). They are the 59th District host and will face Shelby Valley in the opening round.
16. (-) Piarist (0-1) – No season, no games played. Piarist has forfeited the entire season to include the opening round of the 60th District Tournament against Phelps.
Agree or Disagree?