The 13th Region High School postseason picture is beginning to shape up, and this is what we do know — at least two of the top 10 teams won’t be playing in this year’s 13th Region Girls Tournament thanks to the 49th District's blind draw.
Top-ranked North Laurel will face off against No. 6 Jackson County in an elimination game and will advance to face Clay County in a semifinal elimination game during 49th District Tournament play.
Yes, it’s a shame that a blind draw is going to keep some of the region's best teams out of the 13th Region Girls Tournament, but that’s a rant for another day.
Let’s get to the rankings — the Lady Jaguars remain at the top spot while South Laurel, Clay County, Harlan County and Pineville round out the top five.
1. North Laurel (20-4 overall, 6-1 vs. 13th Region opponents)
The Lady Jaguars are winners of six straight and 14 of their last 15 games. Everything has been going right for coach Eddie Mahan’s squad except for last week’s 49th District blind draw that saw North Laurel and Clay County draw on the same side of the bracket, meaning one of the top three teams in the region won’t be participating in the 13th Region Girls Tournament.
With that said, North Laurel keeps rolling along. The Lady Jaguars’ margin of victory during their win streak is close to 18 points per game.
North Laurel does have two tough matchups in the road coming up against Casey County and Southwestern. It’s going to be interesting to see how North Laurel fares in those two games.
2. South Laurel (19-5, 8-2)
The Lady Cardinals have reeled off three straight wins since their loss to North Laurel, which includes an impressive 63-53 win over John Central.
South Laurel has been impressive of late, winning seven of its last eight games. The trio Ally Collett, Amerah Steele and Sydnie Hall have been playing well along with Mariah Anders and Bri Howard.
3. Clay County (15-9, 6-3)
The Lady Tigers have lost twice during the past four games, but looks to finish the season strong before heading into postseason play.
Kaylee Mathis continues to shine while players such as Summer Parker and Shelby Phillips have played well.
I’ve said this the entire season, don’t be surprised to see Clay County making a run at the 13th Region crown. Coach Ivy Burchell will have his team ready to go.
4. Harlan County (17-4, 8-1)
The Lady Black Bears continue to play well, but they’ve not played the toughest of schedules.
Their 29-point loss to North Laurel continues to stick out like a sore thumb, and they have two games coming up against Clay County and Leslie County that will allow me to gauge them a bit better.
5. Pineville (13-8, 11-5)
The Lady Mountain Lions have won five games in a row, but their biggest test comes Friday on the road against Knox Central. A win over the Lady Panthers secures the No. 1 seed for Pineville, and would give the Lady Mountain Lions a big win over their district rivals.
This team is solid, and coach Jamie Mills has done a fantastic job. The Lady Mountain Lions also possess one of the region’s top players in Whitney Caldwell, which is a big plus.
6. Jackson County (14-7, 10-4)
The Lady Generals have been playing well, winning five of their last six games, including two 30-point plus wins during the past two weeks.
Jackson County drew North Laurel in the opening round of the 49th District Tournament, and will be trying to pull off their second tournament upset win in as many years.
7. Lynn Camp (13-7, 11-3)
The Lady Wildcats have a chance to wrap up the 51st District’s top seed, but suffered a 55-49 loss to Pineville at home on Tuesday, dropping their district mark to 2-1.
Lynn Camp will try to finish the regular season strong, but will have to do it mostly on the road.
Justin Woods’ squad will play six straight road games before finishing regular season play at home against Tennessee’s White Academy.
8. Middlesboro (9-14, 8-7)
Since winning the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Girls Tournament a few weeks back, Middlesboro is now 2-3.
I’m not sure which Lady Yellow Jacket team is going to show up. I’ve seen when they’ve looked really good, and when they’re playing well, they’re hard to beat.
9. Corbin (10-11, 6-7)
The Lady Redhounds are still looking to get some consistency going, but they’ve improved since the beginning of basketball season.
Coach Isaac Wilson's squad is 2-5 during the last seven games, but has a chance to make some noise with games against Whitley County, Knox Central, Clay County and Pineville coming up.
10. Bell County (9-13, 3-4)
The Lady Bobcats are another team I just can’t figure out. They looked great during the Class 2A Girls 13th Region Tournament, but are only 1-7 during since.