Boys Top Five
1. Harlan Co. (18-4 overall, 9-1 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: The Black Bears have responded well since losing to Bell County a couple of weeks ago. They’ve picked up two straight wins with hopes of going into February of extending the win streak.
Surprise, surprise: Harlan County’s 55-45 win over Knox Central was a good one, but the Panthers were without guard Matthew Barger at the time. With that said, the Black Bears cruised to an easy win over 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic champion Middlesboro by handing the Yellow Jackets a 77-46 loss.
What’s ahead: Harlan County will play Harlan today before hosting 14th Region power Perry Central Friday. The Black Bears will also entertain Barbourville at home Tuesday.
2. Corbin (17-6, 11-3)
What’s the scoop: I’m keeping the Redhounds at the No. 2 spot because I clearly believe they are the No. 2 team right now — makes sense, huh? With that said, Corbin has a chance in a couple of weeks to unseat Harlan County as the region’s top-ranked team, but the Redhounds need to pick up wins over Whitley County, McCreary Central and Rockcastle County first.
Surprise, surprise: Corbin has been on fire during its last 12 games, going 10-2 with its only losses coming against 12th Region favorite Pulaski County and 13th Region rival South Laurel.
What’s ahead: The Redhounds hit the road Friday and can wrap-up the 50th District’s top spot with a win over the Colonels. They’ll be back in action Tuesday at home against McCreary Central.
3. Clay County (15-7, 7-2)
What’s the scoop: You don’t hear a lot out of the Tiger camp, but they have put together an impressive four-game win streak, which includes big wins over North Laurel, Bell County and Pineville
Surprise, surprise: Clay County has an important stretch of games remaining against some top-notch teams. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers will fare against the likes of Lexington Catholic, South Laurel and Perry Central.
What’s ahead: Clay County will hit the road today against Williamsburg before hosting Lexington Catholic on Friday. They will be home again Tuesday against South Laurel.
4. Jackson County (15-8, 8-2)
What’s the scoop: After hitting a rough spot in the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament, the Generals have responded with three straight wins.
Surprise, surprise: Jackson County managed to remain in the top five by slipping past Barbourville on the road thanks to a last-second shot by Steven Wagers.
What’s ahead: The Generals hit the road today against Knox Central before hosting 49th District rival North Laurel on Tuesday.
5. Knox Central (13-9, 5-4)
What’s the scoop: The addition of Matt Barger makes the Panthers a top five team in the region. Nathan Cole has also returned to the mix, so Knox Central has some time to get things on track before postseason play begins.
Surprise, surprise: The Panthers snapped a three-game losing skid with their win over Whitley County this past Tuesday. Just how bad did they need that win? They were 2-5 during the past couple of weeks.
What’s ahead:Knox Central hosts Jackson County today and will play Dunbar Saturday in the Kentucky Prep Showcase. The Panthers will travel to play Perry Central Tuesday.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 South Laurel (10-11, 6-4)
What’s the scoop: The Cardinals are getting hot at the right time. If they can beat North Laurel Friday, they’ll capture a season-best fourth win in a row.
No. 7 North Laurel (11-11, 5-6)
What’s the scoop: The defending 13th Region champions seem to be putting something together after snapping a three-game losing streak this past week. North Laurel is hoping to start February off right with a win over rival South Laurel.
No. 8 Bell County (9-12, 5-7)
What’s the scoop: The Bobcats are a dangerous team with scorer Tyler Potter in the lineup. This is one team no one wants to face once postseason play tips off.
No. 9 Barbourville (12-10, 7-6)
What’s the scoop: When Dinky’s boys are hitting from three-point range, they are hard to beat. But when they’re not, they tend to get into some trouble.
No. 10 Pineville (12-9, 9-7)
What’s the scoop: The Mountain Lions are one team that’s hard to figure out.
Boys Top Five
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