By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
At the beginning of the 2013 season, the Whitley County Colonels were favored to finish runner-up in their district and have the best shot at knocking off defending district champs Harlan County. Fast forward seven games later and the Colonels have yet to win a game this year, while Harlan County is still the team to beat in Class 5A District 8.
This Friday could change all of that when Whitley County hosts the Black Bears in what many predict to be a lopsided victory, with the Colonels coming away with their eighth straight loss of the year.
Despite the unusual circumstances for Whitley County, Jim Black’s squad is determined to keep working hard. With just three games left in the regular season, the Colonels are taking things one game at a time, still fighting for that first win.
“At the beginning of the year, the Harlan County game was a big game for us, but considering the circumstances, now we’re taking it week by week,” Black said. “That is really the best approach we can take to any game. We’re still working to improve and to do things correctly to give us a chance to win the game.”
It has certainly been a season of adjustments for Whitley County. Earlier in the year the Colonels lost one of their top rushers in senior Austin Hooper. They have also spent time without leading rusher Zach Mills. This week will be no different as they will be without their starting center.
“It’ has been a season of adjustments for us. With the injuries we’ve had and the way the season has gone so far, we’ve had to make adjustments each week,” Black said. “We’ll make some adjustments for Harlan County. Our starting center, who has played the position all year for us, will be out this week, so that is quite an adjustment right there.”
The Black Bears defense will be a big test for the Colonels this Friday. Harlan County is averaging just over 13 points allowed to in-state teams this season, and Whitley County has struggled with turnovers all year.
“We are still focusing on taking care of the football, after two more turnovers last week. No team in the state can win games when they are putting the ball on the ground three and four times a game,” Black said. “We have to continue to work on getting better and doing things correctly. That’s the only way you’re going to win games.”
Despite the winless record, the Colonels have not quit on Black this season. Black said his team has continued to put forth the effort, which is quite an accomplishment considering the way the season has gone.
“I have to give the boys a lot of credit. It would have been easy for us to quit and give up, but they haven’t done that. They have kept working hard,” Black said. “Under these circumstances, for them to keep working hard each week and in practice says a lot about them.”
A win this week would be huge for the Colonels, who are already in the playoffs due to their four-team district.
“It would be a big win for us, but any win is a big win for us right now. We’re not looking at it as it’s Harlan County, but as it’s the next game on our schedule,” Black said. “If we show up and do things correctly and play smart football then we can give ourselves a chance. We have to play better than what we’ve been playing, but they’ve had a good week of practice so far, so we’ll see how it goes.”
By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
- 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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