By Les Dixon
The Barbourville Tigers will try to pull off the upset while the Clay County Tigers will try to keep their dreams of winning their first 13th Region title since 2001 when the two teams meet today in first round action of the 13th Region Tournament.
The Tigers (19-11) are coming off a 60-45 loss to Knox Central in the finals of the 51st District Tournament while the Tigers (23-6) won their 10th straight 49th District crown with a 74-68 win over North Laurel.
Barbourville coach Dinky Phipps admitted his team has its hands full against Clay County and needs to get back to the way it was playing in early February when the Tigers upset Harlan County on the road.
“We’ve got to get back to playing like that,” he said. “I didn’t feel like we played well at all in the district championship and if we don’t, we’re going to have a short stay.
“Clay is Clay,” he added. “They are a very good team and we’ve got to play hard to win.”
Clay County coach Robert Marcum believes the key is to find a way to slow down Barbourville senior Devon Mills, who has put together a solid season for the Tigers.
“He is a very good player,” he said. “They have a lot of good players. Barbourville has surprised a lot of people this year after losing a lot of players from last year. They have competed really well and have a nice team over there. We’re going to have to play well to win.
“We’ve not played them this year,” he added. “They are capable of beating a Harlan County on their home floor. We don’t have a lot of preparation time, so we know we’ve got our hands full. We better be ready to play. This stage of the game we’re going to have to play three solid games and right now, we’re focused on Barbourville.”
Phipps admitted his team must find a way to slow down players such as Chip McDaniel and Marty Bowling.
“They both are pretty good players, so we’ve got to contain them,” he said. “For us, we’ve got to play a real good ball game and find a way to keep them from getting the ball on the baseline and in the middle. If we do that, I believe we have a chance.”
By Les Dixon
- 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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