By Les Dixon For The Endzone
The bye week came at the right time for the Knox Central Panthers.
After seeing his team jump out to a 5-2 record and 1-0 mark in district play, Knox Central coach Scott Russell said this past week has been a blessing for his team.
“We needed this week off,” he admitted. “We needed to heal some of our injuries, and now we’re ready to go. We always try to play four or five games and then a district game before taking a bye, and that is what we did this season.
“It allows our kids to get refreshed a bit, and also allows them to be kids, too,” Russell added. “With the Daniel Boone Festival being this week, we thought it would be great to be off, and let our guys enjoy themselves a bit.”
But once the the bye is over, Russell said he expects his team to get back to its normal routine of business as usual.
“Kids are going to be kids, and I’m sure they are going to have some fun, but they also realize what we have ahead of us, too,” he said. “They’ll get back to business after this bye, and we'll prepare them for what's ahead.”
What’s ahead is two crucial district games for the Panthers.
Knox Central will host Rockcastle County Friday, and a win over the Rockets will assure Knox Central of at least one home playoff game, and a district championship match-up with defending district champion Russell County the following week.
“We know we’ve got to take care of business first with Rockcastle County” Russell said. “That game is now the most important game of the season for us. If we win that game, we guarantee ourselves a home playoff game, and you always want to play at home as long as you can.
“If we get past them, then we can focus on Russell County, but for now, we’ve got to find a way to get past Rockcastle County first.”
One positive that has came out of the bye is tailback Jonathan Gist is at 100 percent now.
“He’s 100 percent and that's a plus for us,” Russell said. “We’ve made some moves on defense, and that really helped in the Clay County win, and right now, I'm happy with where we are at. We just need to continue to play well, and I believe positive things will happen for us.”
Knox Central getting ready for important stretch of games
By Les Dixon For The Endzone
- 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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