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Local Sports

February 14, 2013

Fear 'Les' 13th Region Basketball Rankings

CORBIN — Boys Top Five

1. Clay County (19-6 overall, 10-2 vs. 13th Region foes)

What’s the scoop: Surprise, surprise. We are down to the last Fear ‘Les’ 13th Region Rankings of the regular season and for the first time on the boys’ side, we’ve got a new No. 1 ranked team. Yep, Harlan County is no longer the region’s top-ranked squad and is replaced by the region’s hottest team — Clay County.

Surprise, surprise: Clay County’s two losses against 13th Region teams (against Harlan County and Knox Central) are the fewest in the region. Combine that with the Tigers’ current eight-game win streak and you see why I have them ranked No. 1.

What’s ahead: Clay County will travel to play Middlesboro Friday before going against the winner of Red Bird and Oneida Baptist Wednesday during semifinal action of the 49th District Tournament, which is held in Jackson County.

2. Corbin (21-6, 13-3)

What’s the scoop: Look who has the best record in the 13th Region along with the most wins (tied with Pineville) against regional teams — yep, the Corbin Redhounds. I’ve said it numerous times, but Tony Pietrowski and his staff have done a fantastic job this season.

Surprise, surprise: The Redhounds are currently riding a six-game win thanks to an impressive comeback win over Harlan County. Corbin was down 16 points on the road before rallying to beat the Black Bears, 74-70.

What’s ahead: The Redhounds finish regular season play Friday on the road against Harlan before going against Williamsburg Monday during semifinal action of the 50th District Tournament at Williamsburg High School.

3. Harlan County (20-7, 11-3)

What’s the scoop: The team that has been sitting atop the 13th Region rankings for the entire regular season has dropped two steps after losing its third straight home contest this past week. Once again, Harlan County is struggling at the wrong time and the struggles could once again keep the Black Bears from winning the 13th Region.

Surprise, surprise: I can’t put my finger on what is wrong with Harlan County, but if the Black Bears don’t turn things around, who knows what will happen once postseason play begins.

What’s ahead: Harlan County will be back in action Thursday at home against Whitley County and the Black Bears desperately need to win this game for confidence reasons. They will be back in action again Monday against Harlan during first round action of the 52nd District Tournament, which is held at Harlan High School.

4. Barbourville (16-10, 9-6)

What’s the scoop: In a season that has been very hard to predict, I’ve got Dinky Phipps’ squad ranked No. 4 now — why not? The Tigers have beaten Harlan County and Bell County along with Pineville and Knox Central.

Surprise, surprise: Barbourville continues to get solid play from Devon Mills, who has been the most consistent player in the region this season.

What’s ahead: The Tigers host Oneida Baptist today and will host the 51st District Tournament next week. Their first matchup is Monday against Lynn Camp.

5. Jackson County (18-10, 11-3)

What’s the scoop: The Generals remain in the top five and if center Steven Wagers can heal up, they’ve still got as good of a shot than any other team to win the 13th Region.

Surprise, surprise: One game stuck out this past week and it was Jackson County’s 79-70 win over Oneida Baptist. The final margin is a concern, so we’ll see how the Generals will respond with a week off now.

What’s ahead: Jackson County is host of the 49th District Tournament and will face-off against North Laurel in an elimination game Tuesday.

The Best of the rest

No. 6 Pineville (17-9, 13-7)

What’s the scoop: The Mountain Lions are peaking at the right time. You better keep an eye on them.

No. 7 Knox Central (15-12, 7-6)

What’s the scoop: The Panthers are rolling at the right time. They could be dangerous once postseason begins.

No. 8 South Laurel (11-15, 7-6)

What’s the scoop: The Cardinals are still dangerous in a one-game setting.

No. 9 North Laurel (13-14, 6-9)

What’s the scoop: The Jaguars are struggling at the wrong time of the season.

No. 10 Bell County (12-13, 7-8)

What’s the scoop: The Bobcats are another team that is very dangerous.

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