By Les Dixon for the Times-Tribune
Scott Russell's Knox Central Panthers are looking to win their seventh game in a row against visiting district foe Rockcastle County Friday.
The Panthers (5-2 overall, 1-0 in district play) have dominated the Rockets during the past six years, while outscoring them the past two seasons, 87-28.
Knox Central cruised to an easy 47-14 win in 2012.
The last time the Rockets defeated the Panthers, Tom Larkey was the Rocket coach, as Rockcastle County picked up a 22-7 win.
Even though his team has had Rockcastle County's number dating back to 2007, Russell admitted his Panthers aren't overlooking the Rockets, who are 1-6 overall and 0-1 against district opposition.
“They are a dangerous team,” he said. “We know they're going to be ready to play. They were tied with Russell County last week at 13-13, but Russell County scored with 20 seconds left in the first half and eventually pulled away.
“We can't let them hang around,” he added. “We need to continue to play like we have during the past couple of weeks. If we do that, I like our chances.”
Rockcastle County enters the game riding a three-game losing skid. Since beating Whitley County a month ago, the Rockets have struggled on both sides of the ball, especially during last week's 47-13 loss to Russell County.
“We were able to watch them against Russell County,” Russell said. “They are a better team than their record shows. Our kids know this isn't going to be an easy game. They know what's at stake, and they know this is a must-win game for us.”
Why is Friday's contest a must-win game for the Panthers?
A win against the Rockets assures Knox Central a first-round playoff game at home along with a district championship match-up on the road with Russell County in Week Nine.
“This is a huge game for us,” Russell admitted. “No one wants to go on the road in the first round of the playoffs and have to play someone like Boyle County or Lexington Catholic.
“We know we're going to have our hands full Friday, but we also know what's at stake, and the importance of the game,” he added. “We just need to play like we have been the past couple of weeks.”
Being off last week also allowed the Panthers to heal up some injuries going into Friday's game.
“We needed to get some rest,” Russell said. “We needed the break and it was good for us to have some time off. But now we're ready to get back to business. We don't want to put ourselves in a bad position with a loss. Like I said, we know what's at stake.
“If we want a home playoff game, we've got to win Friday,” he added. “The key for us is to win the battle up front. We have to make sure we know their alignment and do a good job blocking. If we can win the battle up front, we should be OK.”
By Les Dixon for the Times-Tribune
- Local Sports
It’s hard to imagine anybody as big as Corbin head coach Jason McDaniel having any trouble filling shoes.
Here we go again
It'll be a matchup between two of the most historic programs in the 13th Region tonight when the Clay County Tigers defend their 13th Region title against the Corbin Redhounds.
The Way It Is
We’re not even through with the 2013-14 season yet, but it’s never too early to talk about next season. Since we’ve crowned a 13th Region champion on the girls’ side of things, let take a glimpse of what might be for the 2014-15 campaign.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
Well, here we are, Corbin vs. Clay County for the right to see who will represent the 13th Region next week at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
For the seventh time in the last 10 seasons, the Corbin Redhounds are headed to the 13th Region finals, after their 56-48 win over the Bell County Bobcats in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Like It or Not
I hate to steal an idea, but I guess in the end that's what everyone seems to be doing these days. After reading Les Dixon’s list of what he thought were the top five upsets in recent memory of the 13th Region Tournament, I decided to rank my top five basketball movies in today's column. With that said, here goes.
Williamsburg sees Cinderella run come to an end
For the third straight year, the Clay County Tigers are playing for the 13th Region Championship and the opportunity to play in the Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena, after their 79-58 victory over the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
- 13th Region Tournament Schedule
Clay County, Bell County fall in semifinal round
Both Corbin and Harlan had to withstand battles during the 13th Region semifinals, but when all was said and done, they both won, punching tickets into the finals of the 13th Region Girls Tournament title game.
Pick Up Game
Six straight 50th District titles and a 10-game winning streak were not enough to place the Corbin Redhounds as the favorite heading into their matchup with the Jackson County Generals in the first round of the 13th Region Tournament.
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