Boys Top Five
1. Knox Central (16-9 overall, 10-1 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: Coming in to the last game of the season, the Panthers have won 10 straight against 13th Region foes, beating the likes of Clay County, Jackson County and Corbin in the process.
Surprise, surprise: There's been a lot of talk about who was the team to beat throughout the season, so I'm sure there are several opinions on who should be in the top spot. For our money, the Panthers are the team to beat right now.
What’s ahead: Brian Evans' squad will close the regular season at home against North Laurel Friday and open postseason play Tuesday, facing Lynn Camp in the first round of the 51st District Tournament.
2. Jacskon County (19-8, 12-3)
What’s the scoop: The Generals split a pair of games against Clay County over the past week, but still managed to grab the No. 1 seed for the upcoming 49th District Tournament.
Surprise, surprise: Despite dropping three of their last six games, Jackson County is still playing at a high enough level to be in the No. 2 spot in this poll..
What’s ahead: Jackson County will close out the regular season against Red Bird today, then sit back and await the winner of Oneida Baptist and Red Bird in the opener of the 49th District Tournament.
3. Clay County (17-8, 9-3)
What’s the scoop: If there is one team I wouldn't bet against when postseason play gets underway, it's the Clay County Tigers. Experience and tradition is worth quite a bit when this team is on the floor.
Surprise, surprise: Two of the Tigers' three regional losses have come to the two teams above them in this poll.
What’s ahead: The Tigers will host Middlesboro Friday in their regular season finale before facing North Laurel in the 49th District Tournament.
4. Corbin (17-10, 10-6)
What’s the scoop: It wasn't too long ago that people were ready to write this season off for the Corbin Red hounds. Tony Pietrowski's squad has now won six straight and is getting better all the time.
Surprise, surprise: Some may be surprise at the late-season run by the Redhounds, but Pietrowski seems to have away of getting the most out of his players when it matters most.
What’s ahead: Corbin will host Harlan Friday to close the regular season before facing Whitley County in the first round of the 50th District Tournament Tuesday.
5. South Laurel (13-14, 7-5)
What’s the scoop: The Cardinals are another team that has come on strong toward the end of the season, garnering their highest ranking of the season this week.
Surprise, surprise: Despite consecutive losses, South Laurel has a shot to finish the regular season at .500 with a win Friday over Rockcastle County.
What’s ahead: After Friday's season finale against the Rockets, Jeff Davis and company will face Williamsburg in the first round of the 50th District Tournament Monday.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 Bell County (16-10, 14-5)
What’s the scoop: The Bobcats have won seven of the last nine contests and will close out the regular season against Pineville and Oneida Baptist this weekend.
No. 7 Whitley County (15-12, 9-5)
What’s the scoop: The Colonels continue to be an on-again, off-again team. After dropping three straight, Jerry Overbey's squad won three straight before falling to Rockcastle County.
No. 8 Harlan County (13-13, 7-3)
What’s the scoop: The Black Bears have played well lately, picking up wins over Bell County and Oneida Baptist. Harlan County will close the season with games against Whitley County and Lynn Camp.
No. 9 North Laurel (13-16, 6-8)
What’s the scoop: No teams has struggled as much as the Jaguars have lately. Brad Sizemore's squad has dropped four straight, including a 29-point loss to Clay County and a 30-point loss to East Jessamine.
No. 10 Middlesboro (9-18, 8-12)
What’s the scoop: The Yellow Jackets have won three of their last four games, including a pair of wins over Harlan. Based on what this team did last postseason, Russell Thompson's squad is definitely one to keep an eye on as postseason play gets underway.
Girls Top Five
1. Whitley Co. (23-5 overall, 14-2 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: Several teams seem to be firing on all cylinders as the regular season winds down and Whitley County is one of them. Since falling to Corbin on Feb. 7, the Lady Colonels have won four straight by an average margin of 32 points per game.
Surprise, surprise: While many expected Whitley County's starting five to compete with the best of the best this season, I'm not sure how many people knew how strong Donnie Jones' bench would be.
What’s ahead: The Lady Colonels will host the No. 2 team in this poll, Bell County, Friday to close out the regular season. The two could be facing off again in a week or two for a 13th Region Championship.
2. Bell County (21-4, 16-1)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Cats have proven they belong at or near the top of this poll on a weekly basis, thanks to a 16-1 mark against 13th Region foes this season. They've also won 13 of their last 14 games.
Surprise, surprise: Maci Morris continues to average a double-double this season with 22 points and 10 rebounds per game, but Morgan Garnett's 44 percent effort from the three point line could be huge when postseason play gets started.
What’s ahead: Bell County will travel to Whitley County Friday to close the season before facing Middlesboro in the 52nd District Tournament Monday.
3. Corbin (20-7, 12-5)
What’s the scoop: Just like the two teams above them in this poll, the Corbin Lady Redhounds are playing some of their best basketball of the season. Corbin has now won nine of its last 12 and four straight.
Surprise, surprise: Corbin continues to lead the 13th Region in scoring, averaging 67 points per game this season. Whitley County scores 65 ppg, while Bell County scores at a rate of 63 ppg.
What’s ahead: Corbin close the regular season by hosting Harlan Friday, followed by Tuesday's 50th District Tournament game against Williamsburg.
4. Harlan County (19-7, 8-4)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Black Bears continue to play well, having won seven of their last 10 games, including a win over Bell County.
Surprise, surprise: Harlan County is the only 13th region foe to knock off Bell County this season, so they've proven they can play with the best of the best.
What’s ahead: After a visit to Knox Central to close out the regular season Friday, the Lady Black Bears will face Harlan in the 52nd District Tournament.
5. Harlan (17-10, 13-6)
What’s the scoop: After dropping three straight, the Lady Dragons have now rattled off three straight victories, including a 62-55 win over Harlan County.
Surprise, surprise: This team has been streaky all season, but seems to playing some of its best basketball of the season. Don't be surprised if they eliminate the Lady Black Bears in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament.
What’s ahead: Harlan will travel to Corbin Friday for the regular season finale before facing Harlan County Monday in the 52nd District Tournament.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 Clay County (17-10, 10-4)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Tigers are as hot as any team in the 13th Region, picking up their eighth straight win Monday in a victory over South Laurel.
No. 7 Lynn Camp (19-6, 13-4)
What’s the scoop: Lynn Camp stumbled a bit Monday, falling to West Jessamine, but they'll have a chance to fine tune things with a pair of games against North Laurel and Model before postseason play gets started.
No. 8 North Laurel (14-15, 10-7)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Jaguars are on of the most improved teams in the 13th Region. Eddie Mahan's squad has won a season-high four straight.
No. 9 South Laurel (7-19, 5-14)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Cardinals have struggled lately, but they have the potential to pull an upset once postseason play begins.
No. 10 Barbourville (13-12, 7-7)
What’s the scoop: Barbourville has dropped three of its last four games and is at risk of falling to .500 with one game remaining on the regular season schedule. The Lady Tigers will face Pineville in the first round of the 51st District Tournament Monday.
Boys Top Five
- 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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