, Corbin, KY

February 3, 2014

13th Region Notebook

Baxter, Morris tabbed as players of the week

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune


Player of the Week

Zac Baxter, South Laurel – If it seems like I've been going back and forth on Jackson County's Jordan Fox, and South Laurel's Baxter the past month or so, well, you're correct.

No doubt about it — both Fox and Baxter have established themselves as the top two players in the 13th Region at the present time. And this week, Player of the Week honors go to Baxter, who turned in a tremendous three games by leading his Cardinals to win over both Corbin, and Barbourville, and almost an upset against Knox Central. Baxter totaled 69 points this week, including a 27-point effort against Knox Central.

Taking a look at each

district's seeding

49th District

1. Clay County 2-0

1. Jackson County 2-0

3. North Laurel 1-2

4. Oneida Baptist 0-3

5. Red Bird automatic five seed

My Take – The race for the 49th District's top seed is on, and right now everyone is eyeing Feb. 14th's match-up in Manchester between Jackson County and Clay County. Both teams are unbeaten at 2-0 while North Laurel has locked up the three seed while Oneida Baptist and Red Bird will be the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively. Whoever gets the No. 2 seed will have their hands full against North Laurel.

50th District

1. South Laurel 4-1

2. Corbin 2-2

3. Williamsburg 1-2

4. Whitley County 1-3

My Take - The one thing for certain in this district is if South Laurel knocks off Williamsburg at home on Feb. 13, the Cardinals will capture the district's top seed for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

The rest? Well, it's up for grabs, and to be honest, I'm not sure any of the seeding means much in this district. Whenever any of these teams meet, it's almost a toss-up on who is going to win.

51st District

1. Knox Central 3-0

2. Barbourville 2-1

3. Pineville 1-2

4. Lynn Camp 0-3

My Take - Everything basically went as I thought in the 51st District with Knox Central taking the top seed, while Barbourville grabbed the second spot. These two teams are by far the best in this district.

52nd District

1. Bell County 2-0

2. Harlan County 2-1

3. Harlan 0-2

4. Middlesboro 0-2

My Take – There remains a lot of games to be played in the 52nd District before we know who will be the top seed. Right now, Lewis Morris' Bell County Bobcats are at the top spot with an unbeaten mark of 2-0. But that could change quickly.

Bell County still has to go on the road to play both Harlan County and Middlesboro, while a home game with Harlan remains. This district is a bit like the 50th District, in which all four teams have a shot at winning their first round games.

Who is hot?

The hottest teams in the region has to be Jackson County, Knox Central, South Laurel and Williamsburg, but with that said, each team (except Williamsburg) saw their respective win streaks end this week.

The team I'm most impressed with is Jeff Davis' Cardinals, who could be a tough out come postseason time.

South Laurel possesses two of the best players in the region in Zac Baxter and Jared Grubb, while the supporting cast of Trevor Grubb, John Helton and Vince Holcomb isn't too shabby.

The Cardinals picked up their first win at Corbin in six years and followed that up with a close, 61-57, loss to Knox Central, snapping their five-game win streak, before knocking off Barbourville on the road.

Knox Central saw its seven-game win streak come to an end with a 64-62 loss to Buckhorn Saturday in the Appalachian Wireless Kentucky Prep Showcase.

Jackson County's six game win streak came to an abrupt halt after the Generals lost to Betsy Lane, 79-65, the Elite Eight of the All 'A' Classic State Tournament.

The Yellow Jackets are riding an impressive three-game win streak, which included a big 50th District win over Whitley County.

Who's not?

Tony Pietrowski's Corbin Redhounds put an end to their five-game win streak this past Friday by dismantling Pineville, but Corbin has been struggling. The five-game losing skid is the longest during Pietrowski's tenure, and the longest for a Corbin team for at least the past 20 years.

Other teams that are struggling in the region are - Harlan County, North Laurel, and Whitley County.

The Black Bears are 2-8 during their past 10 games while the Colonels are 1-3 during their last four games, including a loss to rival Williamsburg in 50th District action. Their lone win came over a North Laurel squad that is only 4-6 dating back to Dec. 27.

Top 10

1. Jackson County (16-6) – The Generals' match-up with Clay County in a couple of weeks should be a good one.

2. Knox Central (12-8) – The Panthers continue to roll, but I still have some concerns that this team can put three straight wins together come March.

3. Bell County (12-8) – The Bobcats continue to roll behind the play of Tyler Potter.

4. Clay County (12-7) – Everyone is wanting to count the defending region champions out, but not me. They remain my team to beat until someone beats them when it counts - the postseason.

5. South Laurel (11-10) – This is the highest the Cardinals have been ranked in the past couple of years. They are coming on strong.

6. Williamsburg (9-11) – The Yellow Jackets have some doubters, but I'm not one of them.

7. Whitley County (12-9) – A big win over North Laurel kept the Colonels in the top 10 rankings.

8. Barbourville (15-7) – Only one team in the region has more wins than the Tigers - No. 1 ranked Jackson County.

9. Harlan (12-5) – The Green Dragons have been quiet, but deserve a spot in the top

10. North Laurel (11-10) – For the first time that I started doing the rankings in the 13th Region in 2005, Corbin isn't in them. The Jaguars barely held off Corbin for the 10-spot, though.


Player of the Week

Maci Morris, Bell County – When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Maci Morris answered the bell during Saturday's match-up with defending 13th Region champion Corbin, scoring a game-high 25 points during the Lady Bobcats' 69-57 win. She also added 14 points against Middlesboro earlier in the week, and a 15-point effort against Clay County a day later.

Taking a look at each

district's seeding

49th District

1. Clay County 2-0

2. North Laurel 2-1

3. Jackson County 1-1

4. Oneida Baptist 0-3

5. Red Bird automatic five seed

My Take – Once again, this is Clay County's district to lose. Even though there is one more district game to be played, the Lady Tigers will be the one seed with a win over Jackson County while North Laurel and the Lady Generals will battle things out in an elimination game once district tournament play begins. Oneida Baptist will be the four seed, and Red Bird is the five seed.

50th District

1. Whitley County 4-0

2. Corbin 3-1

3. Williamsburg 1-3

4. South Laurel 1-5

My Take – The Lady Colonels can wrap up the No. 1 seed with a road win against Corbin on Feb. 7. What happens if there is a loss? Well, from what I understand, a coin flip between Whitley County and Corbin would determine the No. 1 seed. At the present time, Williamsburg is the three seed and South Laurel is the No. 4 seed. If the Lady Yellow Jackets can grab a district win over Whitley County or Corbin, they will lock up the three seed, but if they lose both games, then a coin flip between themselves and South Laurel would determine the final two seeds.

51st District

1. Lynn Camp 3-0

2. Barbourville 2-1

3. Pineville 1-2

4. Knox Central 0-3

My Take – This could be the most interesting girls' district tournament. All four seeds are set, and to be honest, I can see any of these teams winning their first round match-up. Lynn Camp has to battle Knox Central on its home floor while Barbourville will be playing a much-improved Pineville team.

52nd District

1. Bell County 3-0

2. Harlan 2-1

3. Harlan County 1-1

4. Middlesboro 0-4

My Take – This district remains up for grabs, but Bell County looks to be the favorite to capture the top seed. Whoever turns out to be the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds will be hooked up in an interesting first round elimination match-up.

Who is hot?

It isn't surprise to me when ti comes to the hottest teams in the region. Go no further than the region's top three teams — Whitley County, Bell County and Harlan County.

Since starting the season 1-2, the Lady Colonels have won 16 of their last 18 games, including their current five-game win streak.

Bell County has put together an impressive seven-game win streak, while the Lady Black Bears saw their four-game win streak come to an end this past Thursday after dropping a hard-fought, 51-46, decision on the road to Whitley County.

Who is not?

Knox Central started the season with an impressive 3-2 record, but things have went downhill since. Darrin Mills' squad is 1-17 during its last 18 games.

Lynn Camp jumped out to a 14-1 beginning, but is 3-3 during its last six games, which includes losses to Pineville, Corbin and Whitley County.

Clay County is 2-3 during its last five games while South Laurel's struggles continue. The Lady Cardinals are 2-5 during their past seven games, which includes losses to Williamsburg and Middlesboro.

Top 10

1. Whitley County (18-4) – The Lady Colonels continue to do what they do best - win.

2. Bell County (15-3) – After having almost two weeks off, the Lady Bobcats picked up three good wins this past week.

3. Harlan County (15-5) – The Lady Black Bears are good enough to win the region this year.

4. Corbin (16-7) – The Lady Redhounds have hit a few bumps in the road during the past month.

5. Clay County (10-10) – They might be sitting at .500, but they remain a dangerous team.

6. Lynn Camp (17-4) – Lynn Camp turned in two solid showings against both Corbin and Whitley County this past week.

7. Barbourville (11-9) – The Lady Tigers might be peaking at the right time.

8. Harlan (14-8) – The Lady Green Dragons suffered some setbacks this past week.

9. Middlesboro (8-11) – This is a young team to keep an eye out on.

10. North Laurel (7-13) – This is another young team to keep an eye out on.