CORBIN — By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Boys Top Five
1. Harlan Co. (16-3 overall, 8-0 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: After dropping their first game in the WYMT Classic, the Black Bears responded well by grabbing two wins to finish fifth.
Surprise, surprise: Harlan County is the lone team in the 13th Region that is unbeaten against regional teams at 8-0. The Black Bears continued to distance themselves from the rest of the pack in the region by picking up its second win this season over defending 13th Region champion North Laurel this past week.
What’s ahead: Harlan County will hit the road Friday in an important 52nd District game against Bell County before hosting Knox Central in a 13th Region battle Tuesday.
2. Clay County (11-6, 3-2)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers didn’t do too well in the WYMT Classic by dropping two games in the tournament to Perry Central and Harlan County.
Surprise, surprise: Clay County is struggling offensively and it has shown during its past three games. The Tigers are averaging 47 points per game during the stretch, a far cry from their 67 points per game average before their struggles.
What’s ahead: Clay County will be tested Friday on the road against North Laurel in a key 49th District matchup. Both teams are struggling, but if the Tigers can pull off the win, they can end the Jaguars’ slim hopes of grabbing the district’s No. 1 seed.
3. Corbin (14-5, 8-2)
What’s the scoop: The Redhounds take over the No. 3 spot in the rankings and remain one of the best stories in the 13th Region this season. Not many people thought Corbin would be playing like they are and boy were those people wrong.
Surprise, surprise: What makes Corbin so hard to beat? Well first off, they are well-coached and secondly, this team has a lot of offensive weapons. Hunter Grubb has shown what he can do shooting the ball and Kaleb Maguet, Kevin Goins and Robbie Igo each have picked up their play, too.
What’s ahead: The Redhounds begin a key four-game road stretch Friday at Knox Central before playing against 50th District rival South Laurel on Tuesday.
4. Jackson County (12-7, 7-1)
What’s the scoop: The Generals drop a spot, but they remain a dangerous team. They posted a 2-0 record this past week and a lot of people might be scratching their heads wondering why I moved them? Well, Corbin has played a tougher schedule than Jackson County and I’m just not 100 percent sold on the Generals just yet.
Surprise, surprise: Four of Jackson County’s regional wins are against Class A teams, so I’m wanting to see what they can do against the likes of Harlan County, Knox Central and Corbin.
What’s ahead: Jackson County will be back in action today against Pineville in the semifinals of the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament and if the Generals win, they’ll be in the title game on Friday. They will also host Buckhorn on Monday and Berea Tuesday.
5. Barbourville (12-6, 7-2)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers are on a roll. Never in a million years did I believe Barbourville would have 12 wins at this point of the season before the season started — just goes to show you how solid of a basketball program coach Dinky Phipps has.
Surprise, surprise: The Tigers are winners of six straight and hope to continue their dominance of the 13th Region All ‘A’ Tournament this week.
What’s ahead: Barbourville will play Middlesboro today in semifinal action of the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament and if the Tigers win, they’ll play in the title game Friday.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 Knox Central (12-6, 4-2)
What’s the scoop: The Panthers have struggled at times, but picked up a big win against South Laurel.
No. 7 Pineville (11-6, 8-5)
What’s the scoop: The Mountain Lions drop a spot.
No. 8 South Laurel (7-9, 4-3)
What’s the scoop: The Cardinals’ inconsistent ways continued this past week.
No. 9 North Laurel (10-10, 4-6)
What’s the scoop: It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet. The Jaguars were 12-8 overall and 3-4 against 13th Region opponents at the 20-game mark last season and ended up winning the region.
No. 10 Bell County (7-10, 3-5)
What’s the scoop: The Bobcats split a pair of games this past week, which included a loss to South Laurel.