By Chris Parsons
If you’re a North Laurel Jaguars fan, you know that this year’s postseason looks a lot like what Brad Sizemore’s team did last year.
Last season, the Jaguars lost to Clay County in the 49th District Championship game, only to earn a trip to Rupp Arena after a 54-52 victory over the Tigers in the region finals.
If Sizemore and company look to duplicate that feat this season, they first have to get past a Harlan County squad that has already beaten the Jaguars twice this season (72-46 and 51-43), and have the advantage of playing on its home court.
Heading into tonight’s game, Sizemore admitted the task in front of his team is a tall one and said the Jaguars would have to be at their best if they hope to get the win.
“I’ve said all season that they’ve got the best team in this region,” Sizemore said. “I think for us to be able to beat them on their home floor, we’re going to have to play the best game we’ve played all year.
“I do think we’re capable of doing that and I think we match up with them as far as having two post players,” he added. “I think we can give their inside guys some trouble, but we have to keep Brewer out of the lane because I think he’s the guy that really makes them go offensively.”
On the other side of things, the Harlan County Black Bears seem to be on a mission after their opening-round victory over South Laurel. The win got the first-round monkey off the back of coach Mike Jones, who’s team had failed to win a 13th Region Tournament game the past four seasons.
Jones said the win was a big one for the program, but was quick to point out that the important thing was focusing on the next game.
“I told our guys that sometimes you have to win a game like that to be able to move forward, so it was good to be able to get it done,” Jones said. “I hadn’t really said anything to our kids about it during the game, but I think they realized the situation and decided to play the fourth quarter.
“Going into that final period, I just let them know that we had to have stops on offense if we were going to get it done,” he added. “It really won’t mean much though if we don’t win the next game and move on.”
As far as how he expects to get the win, Jones said the Black Bears defense would have to be ready to play because he expects North Laurel to be ready.
“We’re playing the defending region champions and that’s what it comes down to,” Jones said. “I know we’ve beaten them already this year, but that doesn’t matter because they are the next team on our schedule.
“They’re going to come in here and challenge us to make some shots and if that doesn’t work, they have the ability to change things,” he added. “We’re going to have to guard them on defense and not let them shoot the three. If we can do those things well, we can give ourselves a chance to play with them and maybe get a win.”
Defending 13th region champions know what lies ahead
By Chris Parsons
- 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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