Boys Top Five
1. Clay Co. (3-0 overall, 3-0 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers are off to a red-hot start with three straight wins, while averaging 76 points per game. Robert Marcum's squad fought off a spirited Corbin team at home Monday to stay undefeated.
Surprise, surprise: Senior Jake Allen has had an immediate impact for the Tigers. Through three games Allen has averaged 10 points and eight rebounds and is shooting 76 percent from the free throw line.
What’s ahead: Clay County will face district rival North Laurel on the road before hosting the Bobby Keith Classic this weekend where they'll face Marion County. A showdown with Harlan County awaits Tuesday as well.
2. Knox Central (1-1, 0-0)
What’s the scoop: The Panthers haven't faced a 13th Region foe to this point, but a lot of people believe Brian Evans' squad can compete with any team in the region, including me.
Surprise, surprise: Knox Central played tough against a Perry County Central team that is unbeaten on the season.
What’s ahead: The Panthers will host Boyle County today as they look to hand the Rebels their first loss of the season. After that, they'll travel to Mercer County to take part in the Farmers National Bank Showcase.
3. Corbin (2-1, 1-1)
What’s the scoop: The Redhounds got in the win column in their season opener against Jackson County last week, which was a big confidence boost for the young team.
Surprise, surprise: Tony Pietrowski's squad gave Clay County a bit of a scare Tuesday, but couldn't pull out the win. A lot of people were worried that the Redhounds would be a bit down this season, but they look poised to prove those people wrong in the early going.
What’s ahead: After today's road game at Jellico, Tenn., Corbin will host Trinity Friday. Last year's game was nearly a 50-point loss, but hopefully the Redhounds can give the Shamrocks a test at home.
4. Jackson County (3-1, 2-1)
What’s the scoop: The General are fourth, but if they can put up a good showing over the next few weeks, they could move up. The early loss to Corbin dampened the spirits of some who were high on this team in the preseason.
Surprise, surprise: The loss to Corbin coupled with a pair of easy wins over Bell County and Middlesboro speak for themselves. After not playing very well against Corbin, Mark Parrett's squad beat the Bobcats and Yellow Jackets with ease.
What’s ahead: Jackson County will be on the road for a while with games against Wolfe County and Scott County before playing in holiday tournaments in Berea and Corbin.
5. Harlan County (2-0, 1-0)
What’s the scoop: The Black Bears are off to a 2-0 start after wins over Letcher Central and Pineville.
Surprise, surprise: Harlan County allowed Letcher Central to stay in the game before picking up the four-point win.
What’s ahead: The Black Bears will host Middlesboro before tipping off their Black Bear Classic this weekend and traveling to Clay County Tuesday.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 North Laurel (3-1, 2-0)
What’s the scoop: The Jaguars are off to a solid start, despite a loss to Harlan in the season opener. They've won three straight coming off the loss.
No. 7 South Laurel (2-2, 1-1)
What’s the scoop: The Cardinals are at .500 for the season, but a win over district foe Whitley County and a good effort against Wayne County has them in the seven spot. Jeff Davis' squad will be tested next week when they travel to Corbin for their second district game of the season. The good news for them is they have until Tuesday to rest up.
No. 8 Barbourville (3-0, 1-0)
What’s the scoop: Dinky Phipps has his Tigers playing well as they jump out to a 3-0 start with wins over Jellico, Middlesboro and Rockcastle County. One more home game against Whitley County awaits before the team hits the road for a while.
No. 9 Williamsburg (1-0, 1-0)
What’s the scoop: Sure the Yellow Jackets have only played one game this season, but they have the potential to be a contender this season.
No. 10 Harlan (1-1, 1-1)
What’s the scoop: A 68-66 win over North Laurel to start the season may have surprised a few people, but the Green Dragons dropped a 40-39 loss to Bell County Tuesday.
Girls Top Five
1. Bell County (4-0 overall, 4-0 vs. 13th Region foes)
What’s the scoop: The Bell County Lady Bobcats look poised to make amends for last season's loss to Corbin in the region finals. To prove it, they've gotten off to a 4-0 start against region foes, including an 83-82 win over the Lady Redhounds.
Surprise, surprise: I was really impressed with the way Bell County played throughout the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament en route to the championship. They'll continue to be tested as the season progresses.
What’s ahead: Bell County will host Letcher Central before playing in holiday tournaments at Danville and Greenville, Tenn. over the next two weeks.
2. Corbin (2-2, 1-1)
What’s the scoop: I know it's early in the season, but Jason McDaniel has done a great job in his first four games. The Lady Redhounds haven't missed a beat with McDaniel replacing former coach Jennifer Parsons at the helm.
Surprise, surprise: The Lady Redhounds came close to bringing home the championship trophy in the CFIT Saturday, but Bell County managed to sneak away with a one-point win in the finals.
What’s ahead: Corbin will travel to Barbourville Saturday and host Knox Central Tuesday.
3. Whitley County (3-2, 3-1)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Colonels dropped a nine-point loss to Bell County in the opener of the CFIT, but recovered to knock off Southwestern. I know they're 2-2, but the Lady Colonels will be in the mix all season once they play to their potential.
Surprise, surprise: I expected the Lady Colonels to come away with the win over Bell County last week, but as can be expected in the early stages of the season, they didn't seem to be clicking just yet. Once Donnie Jones finds the right mix, watch out for this team.
What’s ahead: The Lady Colonels will host a solid Wayne County squad Saturday before traveling to North Laurel Monday.
4. Harlan County (3-0, 2-0)
What’s the scoop: Harlan County is off to a 3-0 start with wins over Clay County, Lee, Va., and Pineville, two of which were on the road. Any time a team gets a win at Clay County, you know they've earned it.
Surprise, surprise: The Lady Black Bears are averaging 58 points per game so far this season.
What’s ahead: Harlan County will host Middlesboro Friday before heading to South Laurel Saturday, then back home to face Hazard Monday.
5. Harlan (2-4, 2-3)
What’s the scoop: Harlan is 2-4 on the season, but three of the four losses have come against teams ranked at No. 1, 2 and 3 in this publication. A three-point loss to Whitley County and a six-point loss against Bell County shows me this team is close to being really good.
Surprise, surprise: The Lady Dragons battled back from an 18-point deficit against Whitley County in the season-opener before losing by three points.
What’s ahead: Harlan will hit the road against South Laurel Monday before returning home to host North Laurel Tuesday.
The Best of the rest
No. 6 Clay County (1-2, 1-2)
What’s the scoop: It's been a long time since the Clay County Lady Tigers have started the season 1-2 against 13h Region opponents, but don't expect James Burchell's team to stay down for long. He always seems to find a way to get the most out of his players.
No. 7 Barbourville (2-0, 1-0)
What’s the scoop: Andrea Hillard has said several times that this is a different team than fans saw last season, but they're still off to a good start with back-to-back wins. Showdowns with Pineville and Corbin will test the Lady Tigers over the next few days.
No. 8 Lynn Camp (3-0, 2-0)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Wildcats are off to another solid start with three straight wins, including victories over Jackson County and Williamsburg.
No. 9 North Laurel (0-3, 0-0)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Jaguars are winless on the season, but once this team is able to put together a few wins, they could very easily move up. They have the talent to compete, they just have to get over the proverbial hump.
No. 10 Middlesboro (2-1, 2-0)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Jackets are 2-0 against 13th Region competition, but have tough games against Harlan County and Harlan over the next week. If they can pick up wins in one of those two, expect them to possibly move up a few spots next week.