The high school basketball season begins today and I’m sure fans across the 13th Region are more than excited to get the ole basketball season tipped off for their respective teams. The Times-Tribune sports staff has decided to add another feature in our sports section as the high school basketball season begins — it will be called the 13th Region Notebook. The feature, which will be written by me will highlight team high points, struggles and tidbits as well as highlighting student-athlete performances. Once we get a week under our belts, we’ll also include a boys and girls player of the week in the 13th Region, too.
I hope you enjoy the added feature.
Top boys and girls players entering the season — North Laurel’s Jake Allen enters as the boys’ top player while Clay County’s Cheyenne Madden is the top player entering the 2012-13 season on the girls’ side. Even though they are ranked No. 1 right now, they have some top-notch competition.
Allen’s versatility gives him the edge over Harlan County’s Tyler Brewer while Madden, who was named the 13th Region Media Player of the Year last season has the edge over Bell County’s Maci Morris and Whitley County’s Brandi Smith — for now.
Top boys and girls teams entering the season — As many of you saw in the 2012-13 Times-Tribune prep Basketball Preview over the weekend, Harlan County is the team to beat on the boys’ side while Clay County is the top girls team.
Why the Black Bears and the Lady Tigers?
Harlan County has been the most talented team the past couple of years, but just can’t get over the hump for some reason. I believe that will change this year. The Black Bears have never won a 13th Region Tournament game (0-4 all-time), but this year the tournament will be held on their homecourt, so that gives them an extra edge. But you can’t count at teams such as North Laurel, Clay County, Knox Central and Pineville.
On the girls’ side, you’ve got to go with Clay County until someone beats the Lady Tigers — it’s as simple as that. Clay County’s 60-game win streak against 13th Region foes is one of many reasons why the Lady Tigers should be pre-season No. 1. They’ve also put together an impressive 105-2 record against 13th Region teams dating back to the 2005-06 season.
Look for Whitley County, Bell County, Corbin and Harlan County to give Clay County a run for its money this season.
Big games ahead on the boys side this week — The defending 13th Region champion North Laurel Jaguars will get an early season test against Harlan at home Tuesday while the match-up between Jackson County and Pineville has the attention of everyone in the 13th Region, too.
The rivalry between Wayne County and South Laurel will be renewed Tuesday when Rodney Woods’ Cardinals pay a visit to the Cardinals Nest for a showdown.
Wayne County and Corbin will meet up Friday at Clay County while Pineville will have a road test against Harlan. South Laurel will have another tough matchup Saturday at home when Tates Creek pays a visit.
Big games ahead on the girls side this week — Larry Anderson’s final season as the Lady Colonels head coach begins today on the road against Harlan. The game should be an interesting one with Whitley County entering the game a bit beat up with the injury bug. The Williamsburg Lady Yellow Jackets will get an early season test Tuesday against Harlan County while Eddie Mahan’s North Laurel Lady Jaguars will hit the road Wednesday against 11th Region power Madison Central. The Cumberland Falls Lady Redhound Invitational tips off Thursday with Corbin going up against Bell County. That game should be a dandy and we’ll talk about that more here in a second. Another big game will be Friday’s 51st District matchup between Lynn Camp and Knox Central and you don’t want to miss Corbin’s home game against Perry Central on Saturday.
Can’t miss boys game — Jackson County at Pineville — Tuesday’s contest between Jackson County and Pineville is an early season test for both teams. Both teams enter the season with high expectations, as Jordan Fox and Steven Wagers highlight the Generals while the Mountain Lions return their entire starting line-up from a year ago. This game should be a dandy.
Also keep an eye on — Wayne County at South Laurel — These two teams have turned in some battles in years past and I expect the same on Tuesday.
Can’t miss girls game — Bell County at Corbin — What a way to tip-off the Cumberland Falls Lady Redhound Invitational with these two teams playing on the first day.
Also keep an eye on — Knox Central at Lynn Camp — You never know what to expect when these two teams play. Lynn Camp coach Richard Jones feels like this year’s version of the Lady Wildcats could be his best since winning the 51st District championship four years ago.
We need your help Tri-County boys and girls coaches — The Times-Tribune wants to give each Tri-County boys and girls basketball team the coverage they deserve, but to do so, we need help from the coaches. The boys and girls coaches across the Tri-County are encouraged to call in or e-mail their respective game information by our 10:30 p.m. copy deadline. All it takes is a few seconds and we will get the information in. For example, if someone on your staff has a cell phone that can take pictures, just take a quick snap of the scorebook (be sure to get both teams), email it to us by 10:30 p.m. and we’ll get it in. To call in the information, our number is 528-7898, ext. 28 or ext. 29. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Also we need your help 13th Region boys and girls coaches — If you want your respective teams or players recognized just send me an email along with quotes about your team and/or player or player stats and accomplishments to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight of each Saturday and I will get the information in. It’s as simple as that.