Boys Top Five
1. Clay County (22-6 overall, 12-2 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers hold on to the No. 1 spot for the second straight week and once again, have reached the finals of the 49th District Tournament after upending Red Bird Wednesday.
Surprise, surprise: Clay County might just be the most balanced team in the 13th Region. The Tigers have four players averaging in double figures in scoring — Tyler McDaniel (17.9), Marty Bowling (11.7), Stephon Lyttle (11.3) and Kody Reed (10.1). If coach Robert Marcum continues to get this type of play, Clay County will be tough to beat in the 13th Region Tournament.
What’s ahead: The Tigers are looking to run their win streak to a season-best 12 games today against North Laurel in the finals of the 49th District Tournament. Clay County has already beaten the Jaguars twice this season.
2. Corbin (23-6, 15-3)
What’s the scoop: The Redhounds continue to be the second hottest team in the region behind Clay County. Corbin has won eight games in a row and is an impressive 13-2 since the beginning of the year.
Surprise, surprise: The Redhounds have dominated the 50th District the past four years, winning four straight and will try to capture their fifth in a row today. It’s not going to be easy, though, they’ve split a pair of games with South Laurel this season.
What’s ahead: Corbin will try to enter next week’s 13th Region Tournament as a winner, but to do so, the Redhounds will need to beat South Laurel tonight in the finals of the 50th District Tournament.
3. Harlan County (22-7, 13-3)
What’s the scoop: It looks as if the loss at home to Corbin might have awakened the Black Bears. After losing to the Redhounds, 74-70, Harlan County is 2-0 while outscoring its opponents by a margin of 24.5 points — pretty impressive.
Surprise, surprise: I’ll go ahead and say this — if the Black Bears are going to capture their first ever 13th Region championship or even tournament win, it starts tonight against Middlesboro. The Black Bears need to get the win against the Yellow Jackets.
What’s ahead: If Harlan County’s past two games against Middlesboro are any indication of things to come, Mike Jones’ squad will have an easy time tonight in the 52nd District title game. The Black Bears won on the road against Middlesboro, 70-59, before beating the Yellow Jackets again at home on Jan. 28, 77-46.
4. Barbourville (19-10, 12-6)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers finished regular season play strong and continued their impressive play during semifinal action of the 51st District Tournament by beating Lynn Camp for the third time this season, 84-64.
Surprise, surprise: Barbourville has now won seven games in a row and is hoping to continue its impressive win streak today against Knox Central. The two teams only met once this season with the Tigers coming away with a 44-42 win in overtime.
What’s ahead: Barbourville will square-off against Knox Central today in the 51st District title game with hopes of ending the Panthers’ five-year reign as district champions.
5. Knox Central (16-13, 8-7)
What’s the scoop: When the Panthers are healthy, they are one of the best teams in the region and guess what folks, they are getting healthier by the day, which isn’t a good thing for the rest of the 13th Region.
Surprise, surprise: Knox Central stumbled into postseason play winning only three out of their last 10 games, but boy, did they put on a show during semifinal action of the 51st District Tournament against Pineville? The Panthers shot 62.3 percent for the game and 70 percent during the final three quarters of play.
What’s ahead: Brian Evans’ squad will play against rival Barbourville today in the finals of the 51st District Tournament. A win over the Tigers will give Knox Central its sixth straight district crown.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 South Laurel (13-15, 8-6)
What’s the scoop: It looks as if playing one of the top schedules in the region is beginning to pay off for Jeff Davis’ Cardinals. South Laurel seems to be catching steam at the right time. Can the Cardinals end Corbin’s dominance in the 50th District? We shall see.
No. 7 North Laurel (15-14, 8-9)
What’s the scoop: I should have listened to North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore when he told me last week his team would beat Jackson County in the 49th District Tournament. The defending 13th Region champions are back in the region tournament, which isn’t a good thing for opposing teams.
No. 8 Middlesboro (15-12, 10-8)
What’s the scoop: The Yellow Jackets pulled off a shocker by eliminating Bell County in the semifinals of the 52nd District Tournament after going 0-2 against the Bobcats during the regular season.
No. 9 Jackson County (18-11, 11-4)
What’s the scoop: A promising season came to an end when North Laurel upended the Generals during semifinal play of the 49th District Tournament. This year’s team was one of the best teams to come out of Jackson County in a long time.
No. 10 Bell County (13-14, 8-9)
What’s the scoop: The Bobcats suffered a heartbreaking loss to Middlesboro, but will return one of the region’s top teams next season.
Boys Top Five
- Local Sports
So Far, So Good: North Laurel Coach Chris Larkey pleased with the way his team is looking
By Les Dixon
NORTH LAUREL — Chris Larkey’s North Laurel Jaguar football team is coming off one of its best seasons in program history with hopes of continuing its winning ways this fall.
The Next Step: Jerry Herron's Williamsburg Yellow Jackets have high hopes of winning a state title
By Chris Parsons
WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets came one win away from bringing home the program’s first ever state championship last season, but a 42-0 loss to Mayfield meant a state title wasn’t in the cards.
Ready to Reload
Even though Knox Central head football coach Scottie Russell has seen the departure of two of the program’s best tailbacks due to graduation in the past two years, he isn’t concerned.
Shelton was a hero by any definition
The word hero is used a little too loosely for my taste these days.
To be honest, it’s been used way too much for a long time and I’m just as guilty as the next guy.
Out With A Bang
Corbin’s Chris and Hannah Hart ended their Redhound softball careers together, but the duo went out with a bang, each representing Corbin on the Kentucky All Star squad in a three-game series against the Tennessee All Stars.
Express finishes fourth in USSSA World Series
The Kentucky Express participated in the USSSA World Seriers against teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and New York.
What A Run!
The Corbin Little League All Stars put together an impressive run to the 2014 Little League State Tournament, but all good things must come to an end.
Fun While It Lasted
The North Laurel 11-12 year-old All-Stars finished their trip in Central Region play by dropping a 15-0 decision to Missouri’s Webb City Little League.
- Smashing Win
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- So Far, So Good: North Laurel Coach Chris Larkey pleased with the way his team is looking