TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
Boys Player of the Week
Bryson Asher, North Laurel
The freshman center is starting to assert himself as one of, if not the best, center in the 13th Region. His 15-point, 12-rebound effort against crosstown rival South Laurel this past Friday not only helped guide his Jaguars past the Cardinals, but also garnered him this week's top boys' honor.
Girls Player of the Week
Ajaycia Cotton, Clay County
Cotton leads the Lady Tigers in scoring with a 15.7 average, and continued her impressive play of late by scoring in double figures (27 points on nine-of-13 shooting) while scoring the game-winning basket during her team's upset win over Corbin.
Showing they are the region's best
Despite coming up short on the road during Friday's ??-?? loss to defending 12th Region champion Wayne County, Robert Marcum's Clay County Tigers have shown they are the team to beat in the 13th Region.
The Tigers led throughout the game against the Cardinals before seeing Wayne County wrap-up the win at the charity stripe.
Clay County is currently 10-3 on the season, and is the only team that is unbeaten against 13th Region competition at 5-0.
Quietly becoming a team to keep an eye on
David Parks' Harlan Green Dragons haven't played the toughest schedule in the 13th Region, but they are now 9-2 on the season while riding an impressive seven-game win streak in the process. This is definitely a team to keep an eye on.
Harlan's lone losses have came against Bell County - a 40-39 defeat on Dec. 10, and a 59-52 setback on Dec. 14.
Everyone is talking about Jackson County, Williamsburg and Barbourville being the favorites coming into next week's 13th Region All 'A' Classic Tournament, but don't count at Harlan either.
Both North and South Laurel were needing wins during their renewal of the Cross-town Showdown this past Friday at The Jungle.
Brad Sizemore's Jaguars have been up and down at times, but managed to improve to 3-2 against 13th Region opponents by grabbing a slim 50-46 win over the Cardinals, who are now 6-9 overall and 1-3 against 13th Region competition.
Teams that I'm a bit confused about
Just when I thought Bell County had turned the corner after defeating Harlan County with ease, 63-35, the Bobcats followed with a 64-46 loss to Perry Central.
Another team that I thought was gaming steam, Whitley County, suffered a 53-50 loss on the road to a Leslie County team that is now 5-9 on the season.
The Eagles entered the game with a six-game losing skid, and now the Colonels are 2-3 during their last five games.
Jerry Overbey's squad will get to show if they belong among the region's top five teams soon. An eight-game stretch that begins on Jan. 17 and ends on Feb. 10 will allow Whitley County to play against Corbin (twice), South Laurel, Williamsburg (twice), Jackson County, Knox Central and North Laurel.
One team that is really struggling is Harlan County. After starting the season 5-0, the Black Bears are 1-9 during their last 10 games, including riding a current seven-game losing skid.
District driver's seat
Tony Pietrowski's Corbin Redhounds moved one step closer to capturing the 50th District's top seed again by slipping past Williamsburg at home this past Friday, 51-46. The Redhounds are currently 3-0 against 50th District competition and will have another test on Jan. 17 against Whitley County.
Even though Williamsburg lost, the Yellow Jackets led at halftime, and showed they can win the 50th District Tournament this season. When Skylar Griffith returns to the line-up, teams better watch out.
Boys Top 10
1. Clay County – Despite the Tigers' current two-game losing skid, there isn't any change at the top. I'm interested to see Tuesday's game against Knox Central.
2. Jackson County – The Generals had a chance to claim the region's top spot, but a 69-63 loss to Hazard means they remain a spot below Clay County.
3. Corbin – The Redhounds remain a dangerous team.
4. Knox Central – The Panthers are one of the hardest teams to figure out.
5. Bell County – Tyler Potter makes the Bobcats a very dangerous team.
6. Harlan – The Green Dragons are riding a seven-game win streak.
7. North Laurel – The young Jaguars are a team to keep an eye on.
8. South Laurel – The Cardinals remain inconsistent at times.
9. Whitley County – The Colonels are 4-1 against 13th Region foes this season.
10. Williamsburg – When Skylar Griffith returns to the line-up, 13th Region teams need to watch out.
13th Region All 'A' Preview
If this year's version of the 13th Region Girls All 'A' Classic Tournament turns out to be just as exciting as last year's, then fans across the 13th Region will be in for a treat.
The Pineville Lady Mountain Lions (7-7) had to convert a last-second three-point attempt to send last season's championship game against Lynn Camp (13-1) into overtime, in which Pineville prevailed winning its first-ever 13th Region All 'A' championship.
At the time, it was a heart-breaking loss to Richard Jones' Lady Wildcats. It looked as if Pineville's last-second three-pointer to send the game into overtime wasn't released until after the buzzer sounded.
But lets fast-forward to this year's tournament where it looks like Lynn Camp along with Harlan (10-6) and host Barbourville (9-6) are the front-runners to win this year's championship.
The Lady Green Dragons will enter as the favorite, and should have a rather easy time advancing to the championship game with a first round game against Jackson County and a potential match-up against the winner of Middlesboro and Oneida Baptist.
Harlan is an impressive 10-6 on the season while the combined records of Jackson County (2-7), Middlesboro (4-8) and Oneida Baptist (1-7) is 7-22.
The upper bracket is a tough one.
Defending champion Pineville will square-off against struggling Williamsburg, who is 1-11 on the season while a Lynn Camp vs. Barbourville match-up will be the game everyone will have their eyes on.
The Lady Wildcats and Lady Tigers just played each other a week ago with Jones' squad coming away with a slim 49-45 road win in overtime over Barbourville.
The Lady Mountain Lions have already beaten Williamsburg once (52-34) this season in the Bowman Invitational.
So who is going to win this year's tournament?
If you go by tradition, no team has more 13th Region All 'A' Classic titles than Harlan. The Lady Green Dragons have garnered seven region championships while Jackson County and Middlesboro have each won four. The Lady Generals have also won two state championships. The only other team that has won a 13th Region All 'A' Classic regional crown is Pineville.
With that said, look for Lynn Camp and Harlan to meet in the title game and the Lady Wildcats to find a way to capture their first-ever All 'A' regional crown.
Lady Cats are making history
Speaking of Lynn Camp, the Lady Wildcats made some history this past week when they wrapped up the 51st District's No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. That's right folks, the first time. You've got to give credit where credit is due, Richard Jones has turned the Lady Wildcat basketball program to one of the best in the region.
Lynn Camp is only one of two teams that are undefeated against 13th Region play at 8-0.
The other undefeated team? Bell County, who is 6-0 against 13th Region opponents.
The Lady Wildcats also possess the region's best record at 13-1.
WYMT Mountain Classic
Bell County managed to roll through the competition at Knott Central High School during the WYMT Mountain Classic Tournament. The Lady Bobcats picked up a 67-43 win over Leslie County and beat Magoffin County in the title game, 71-42.
Congrats goes out to Pineville's Devin Enix, who notched her 1,000 career point during an earlier game against Cumberland Gap, Tenn. Even after reaching the milestone, Enix hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime and hit another trey to lead her team to a win in the Pine Mountain Classic.
Don't count out Big Clay
It hasn't been the best of seasons for James Burchell's Clay County Lady Tigers, but they seem to be peaking at just the right time.
After getting off to a 4-6, the Lady Tigers captured consecutive wins for the first time this season, including a 79-78 thriller against defending 13th Region champion Corbin, as guard Ajaycia Cotton hit a last-second shot to give her team the win.
Clay County is young, but improving and is definitely not a team you want to play once post-season play begins. Keep an eye out on this team.
South Laurel is improving
Things are beginning to look a bit better for Konnie Snyder's South Laurel Lady Cardinals. After getting off to a program-worst 0-8 start, Snyder's squad now has four wins during its last five games, including victories over Pineville, North Laurel and Breathitt County. Breathitt County paid a visit last week with an impressive 8-1 record, but the Lady Cardinals turned in one of their best efforts of the season, winning, 85-78.
Girls Top 10
1. Whitley County – The Lady Colonels are looking good at 13-3 on the season.
2. Bell County – The Lady Bobcats have hit a couple of bumps here and there, but did manage to get a big overtime win over Harlan County this past week.
3. Harlan County – The Lady Black Bears suffered a loss to Bell County, but hung tough before losing in overtime.
4. Clay County – Gotta give credit to Clay County for fighting back from 12 down to beat Corbin.
5. Corbin – The Lady Redhounds have suffered two region setbacks to both Whitley and Clay Counties that have me dropping the down a couple of spots.
6. Harlan – The Lady Green Dragons are looking to bring home their fifth 13th Region All 'A' Classic championship by this time next week.
7. Lynn Camp – The Lady Wildcats possess the best record in the 13th Region.
8. South Laurel – The Lady Cardinals are improving at just the right time.
9. Pineville – The Lady Mountain Lions are now 7-7 on the season after Saturday's loss to South Laurel.
10. Middlesboro – The Lady Yellow Jackets are young, but improving.