By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
NORTH LAUREL — The Harlan County Black Bears might have lost the most talent following the 2012-13 season, but the North Laurel Jaguars lost their fair share, too.
Coach Brad Sizemore will be entering his third year as coach of the Jaguars and will field one of the youngest teams in the 13th Region after losing players such as Marcus Carson and Kendrick Henson to graduation, while Jake Allen and Ryan House both transferred to 49th District rival Clay County.
The departure of both Allen and House made North Laurel a tad more inexperienced at certain positions, but the cupboard isn't bare by any means.
“We are very excited for this season,” Sizemore said. “Our players and coaches have been working hard since last spring and we are expecting to have a good year. I think the region is going to have several good teams this year and we have a lot of great players as well. We feel as though we are going to be able to compete with anyone this year and we are looking forward to the challenge of trying to do so.
“We lost some size and speed from last year’s team and also some experience,” he added. “We are going to ask several kids that may have not played that much on the varsity level to step in and play major minutes. The good thing about us is we are a big school and have plenty of talented to kids to work with. We have kids to fill those open spots and it will just be a process of them getting a few games under their belt and getting more comfortable about doing things in a varsity game, which I’m more than confident that our kids can do this.”
Sizemore will return freshman Peyton Broughton, who established himself as one of the region's best players as an eighth-grader last season.
“I’m expecting big things from Peyton this season,” Sizemore said. “Although he is only a freshman, he is one of the leaders on this team that guys look to. We will put a lot of the scoring load on his shoulders and he will also be expected to be a great defender and rebounder for us to win.
“Not to mention that he is going to be asked to run the point guard position for our team,” he added. “I have a lot of confidence in this young man’s abilities and desire to win and I know he will do just fine this season for us.”
With that said, if the Jaguars continue to improve during the preseason and regular season, they could surprise come February and March.
“I look for us to be the surprise team in this region and I think we can be right there in the mix of things come postseason play,” Sizemore said.
By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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