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Local Sports

January 24, 2013

Fear 'Les' 13th Region Basketball Rankings

CORBIN — Boys Top Five

1. Harlan Co. (17-4 overall, 9-1 vs. 13th Region foes)

What’s the scoop: Before I get to writing about Harlan County, I’m going to say this is the hardest time I’ve ever had doing the Fear ‘Les’ 13th Region Rankings. You can throw four or five teams in the mix and make a strong case why they should be No. 1, but with that said, I’m staying with the Black Bears once again.

Surprise, surprise: Harlan County confuses me — a lot. The Black Bears are the most talented team in the 13th Region, but for some reason, I just don’t think the Black Bears will win it. It seems like they might have peaked a tad bit early, but we’ll see once postseason play rolls around.

What’s ahead: Harlan County will play Fleming County at Montgomery County Saturday before hosting Middlesboro in an important district matchup Monday.

2. Corbin (15-6, 9-3)

What’s the scoop: I had the Redhounds penciled in at the No. 1 spot, but that was before they dropped a 77-75 decision to South Laurel. Even with the loss, Corbin moves up a spot and deservedly so. The Redhounds have an impressive record against 13th Region teams.

Surprise, surprise: Corbin’s 77-75 double overtime loss to South Laurel Tuesday brought back memories of the battles the two teams had from 2006 through 2008. It was an exciting game, but neither team could get into the flow of things with a combined total of 45 fouls called along with two technicals while both teams combined to shoot 54 free throws.

What’s ahead: The Redhounds will be tested again today against Bell County on Log Mountain before traveling to play Pineville Friday. Corbin will be back in action at home Tuesday against Williamsburg.

3. Clay County (14-6, 6-2)

What’s the scoop: The Tigers seem to have righted the ship after dropping three straight games last week. Clay County is now winners of three straight with hopes of continuing its recent success.

Surprise, surprise: I’m starting to believe the way Tyler McDaniel and Marty Bowling play is the way Clay County goes. These two players are very important to the Tigers’ success.

What’s ahead: The Tigers host Perry Central and Pineville over the next five days.

4. Knox Central (12-8, 4-4)

What’s the scoop: The Panthers move up two spots and yes, I know this comes after dropping a pair of games last week. The key is the two teams Knox Central lost to are sitting at No. 1 and 2 in these rankings, so you can't really count those losses against them.

Surprise, surprise: Knox Central is still without the services of Matt Barger and that's one reason they've struggled as of late, but the play of guys like Jeffrey Adams and Chad Marsee has helped fill the void scoring-wise.

What’s ahead: Knox Central has a tall task in front of them against Johnson Central in the U.S. Energy Showcase Saturday, as well as a road game against Whitley County next Tuesday.

5. Middlesboro (12-7, 7-4)

What’s the scoop: The Yellow Jackets are winners of four straight, including wins over Barbourville and Pineville last week, and will represent the 13th Region in the Touchstone Energy All 'A' Classic starting today when they face Owen County.

Surprise, surprise: Middlesboro shocked a lot of people when they knocked off defending 13th Region All 'A' Champion Barbourville last week at Red Bird. If that wasn't enough, they beat Pineville in the championship game.

What’s ahead: The Yellow Jackets will face Owen County in their first round match-up at the All 'A' State Tournament starting tonight at 9 p.m.

The Best of the rest

No. 6 Jackson County (14-8, 7-2)

What’s the scoop: The Generals have won two straight and six of eight in January.

No. 7 South Laurel (8-11, 5-4)

What’s the scoop: The Cardinals picked up a huge win over Corbin Tuesday, winning 77-75 in double OT.

No. 8 North Laurel (10-11, 4-7)

What’s the scoop: The Jaguars have dropped three straight, but still have time to regroup.

No. 9 Barbourville (12-8, 7-4)

What’s the scoop: The Tigers fall four spots after losses to Middlesboro and Harlan over the past week.

No. 10 Pineville (12-8, 9-6)

What’s the scoop: The Mountain Lions drop two spots after a pair of losses last week.

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