Breaking down the Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 after Week 2, heading into Week 3

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 12:20 AM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - It’s time to break down the second week of the High School Basketball season. Here’s a rundown of how the teams in our poll fared last week. Let’s also look ahead to the week ahead, starting with the boys.

1. North Laurel (5-0)

Last Week: defeated Covington Catholic 89-87, defeated Jackson County 98-59, defeated 89-59 (Legacy Nissan Classic)

This Week: vs. No. 3 Clay County, at No. 6 Knott Central

The Jaguars continue to look like a well-oiled machine through their first five games of the season. Nate Valentine’s club has been ridiculous on the offensive end, averaging 96 points per game thus far. Three players reached double figures including sophomore Reed Sheppard, who had 45 points and 12 rebounds in the overtime victory against the Colonels. Sheppard was the high point man once again against the Generals with 34 points. Sophomore Ryan Davidson had a standout performance with 23 points and 12 rebounds against Jackson County. Sheppard looked a little more human in the victory against Estill County, scoring just 14 points but the former WYMT Player of the Week still had seven rebounds. Davidson paced the team with 25 points against the Engineers.

North Laurel has two games scheduled for this week. The first contest is on Friday as the Jaguars welcome in Clay County while Saturday’s game at Knott Central is the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week. The Jaguars went 0-3 against Clay County last season. North Laurel’s lone meeting against Knott Central last season ended in an 85-54 victory for the Jaguars.

2. Somerset (5-1)

Last Week: defeated Burgin 72-34, defeated Danville 51-48

This Week: lost to Pulaski County 73-65, vs. Madison Southern, vs. Rowan County (Richmond Car and Truck’s Brent Ray Classic)

The Briar Jumpers took down the Bulldogs and Admirals to advance to the State All-A Tournament for the second consecutive season. Jeron Dunbar’s squad has been terrific defensively, allowing just 45 points per game so far. Senior Dylan Burton and sophomore Jerrod Smith co-led the team in scoring against Burgin with 13 points each. Senior Kade Grundy was Somerset’s other double figure scorer with 12 points. Grundy was the go-to player against Danville with 21 points. Junior Gavin Stevens recorded 10 points and five rebounds against the Admirals.

The Briar Jumpers picked their first loss of the season against Pulaski County on Tuesday. Somerset continues their week as they host Madison Southern on Thursday followed by a neutral site contest with Rowan County on Saturday. Somerset had a 2-1 record against the Maroons last season.

3. Clay County (3-0)

Last Week: defeated Leslie County 81-69, defeated Corbin 89-82

This Week: defeated Jackson County 74-59, vs. No. 1 North Laurel

The Tigers move up three spots this week after putting up more than 80 points in their first two contests. Connor Robinson was magnificent in the season opener against the Eagles as the senior had a game-high 46 points to go along with six rebounds. Senior Connor Farmer was Clay County’s other double figure scorer with 13 points. Four players reached double digits against Corbin including Robinson and senior Raven Abner. Robinson and Abner co-led the Tigers with 29 points each against the Redhounds. Both players also recorded ten rebounds as they tallied their first double-doubles of the season.

Glenn Gray’s team has two games scheduled for this week, both coming against district competition. The first contest was a 15-point victory for the Tigers against Jackson County. Clay County’s next matchup will feature a Mountain Top Five battle against North Laurel in Manchester.

4. Knox Central (2-0)

Last Week: N/A

This Week: at Wayne County (Kenny Davis Classic)

Tony Patterson’s squad did not play any games last week due to COVID-19. The Panthers have held both of their opponents in Perry Central and Middlesboro to 37 points while averaging 66 points so far.

Knox Central was supposed to have contests against Corbin, Lynn Camp and Pineville this week but those contests have been put on hold. As of now, the Panthers’ next matchup is slated to be on Saturday at Wayne County in the Kenny Davis Classic. The Panthers fell to the Cardinals in their only contest against Wayne County last season, 56-53.

5. Pikeville (4-1)

Last Week: defeated Betsy Layne 77-75, defeated East Ridge 59-36, defeated Shelby Valley 41-40

This Week: defeated Shelby Valley 73-57, vs. Jenkins, at Madison Central (Richmond Car and Truck’s Brent Ray Classic)

Elisha Justice’s crew had two narrow victories on their way to Pikeville’s first All-A title since the 2017-18 season. Junior Rylee Sammons had a game-high 30 points including the game winning basket against the Bobcats. Junior Nick Robinson was team’s leading scorer against the Warriors with 21 points while Sammons delivered 17 points and eight rebounds. Sammons was Pikeville’s main source of production again in the championship game against the Wildcats with 17 points. Laithan Hall only had nine points against Shelby Valley but the junior did knock down the go-ahead three that would put the Panthers up for good with 45 seconds left.

The Panthers made it back-to-back victories against the Wildcats on Tuesday. Friday’s contest against Jenkins will be Pikeville’s fourth straight contest against a district opponent. Pikeville’s last contest of the week is on Saturday as they travel to Richmond to take on Madison Central.

6. Knott Central (4-1)

Last Week: lost to Belfry 67-60

This Week: defeated June Buchanan 72-32, at Cordia, vs. No. 1 North Laurel

After starting the season with four straight victories, BB King’s unit dropped its first contest of the season in Pike County last Wednesday. The Patriots scored its second fewest points in a game against the Pirates with just 60 points. Senior Colby Napier was Knott Central’s only double-digit scorer with 21 points. Senior Scott Shepherd had a team-high eight rebounds against Belfry.

The Patriots knocked off district rival June Buchanan on Monday. Knott Central also has matchups with Cordia on Wednesday and North Laurel on Saturday. The game against the Jaguars will be this week’s Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week.

7. Harlan County (6-0)

Last Week: defeated Bell County 77-46, defeated Lafayette 68-62

This Week: defeated Middlesboro 67-39, at West Jessamine, at Scott

The Black Bears continue to remain unbeaten as they are off to their first 5-0 start since the 2017-18 season. Mike Jones’ crew scored a season-high 77 points against region foe Bell County. Three players reached double figures in scoring against the Bobcats including Daniel Carmichael. The sophomore had a team-high 23 points while freshman Trent Noah recorded a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds). Senior Tyler Cole pitched in with 11 points. The contest against Lafayette was a bit more interesting but Harlan County prevailed as Noah and eighth grader Maddox Huff co-led the team with 16 points against the Generals. Noah nearly generated his second straight double-double with nine rebounds.

Harlan County got the upper-hand against Middlesboro on Tuesday. The Black Bears continue their season on Friday as they travel to West Jessamine followed by a duel with the Scott Eagles on Saturday.

8. Belfry (4-2)

Last Week: defeated No. 6 Knott Central 67-60, defeated Phelps 76-52, lost to Boyd County 60-56

This Week: lost to Danville 79-57, at Magoffin County

The Pirates are making their Mountain Top Ten debut after winning four of their first contests. Belfry relied on their ability to crash the glass in the victory against Knott Central as they outrebounded the Patriots, 35-21. Senior Tyler Chaffin led the Pirates in scoring against Knott Central with 19 points. Sophomore Sal Dean had 16 points while junior Bol Kuir nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Dean paced the Pirates in scoring with 24 points and also co-led the team in rebounds with eight boards in the victory against the Hornets. Three players scored double digit points in the loss to the Lions including Kuir, who produced a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

The week has already started off on the wrong foot for Belfry as they fell to Danville in the Jim Lankster Classic on Monday. Mark Thompson’s crew looks to get things back on track on Saturday as they travel to Salyersville to tussle with Magoffin County.

9. Hazard (4-2)

Last Week: defeated Wolfe County 66-58, defeated Powell County 80-38, defeated Buckhorn 81-60, defeated Perry Central 58-58

This Week: defeated Cordia 101-71, at Owsley County

After dropping their first two games to open the season, the Bulldogs are now trending upward with four straight victories. Senior Wade Pelphrey had a game-high 27 points for Al Holland’s crew while junior Jamal Hazell was the other double-digit scorer with 12 points. Four players made it into double figures including Max Johnson in the win against the Pirates. The sophomore tallied 14 points to lead all Hazard scorers. Pelphrey was back to carrying the baton against Buckhorn as the guard had 27 points against the Wildcats. The contest against Perry Central is always a classic struggle but the Bulldogs found a way to pull it out as senior Jarrett Napier recorded a team-high 12 points against the Commodores.

The Bulldogs are 1-0 already this week as they took care of business against Cordia on Monday. Hazard will now to Booneville to square off with Owsley County on Saturday.

10. Shelby Valley (4-2)

Last Week: defeated Prestonsburg 67-41, defeated Paintsville 69-58, lost to No. 5 Pikeville 41-40

This Week: lost to No. 5 Pikeville 73-57, vs. No. 8 Belfry, at Cordia

The Wildcats are making their top ten debut after a strong showing through their first five contests so far. Shelby Valley handled business against the Blackcats and Tigers but dropped their first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion against the Panthers. Senior Kaden Robinson was Shelby Valley’s leading scorer against Prestonsburg with 25 points. Sophomore Chaz Brown was the team’s other double figure scorer with 18 points. It was Zach Johnson’s turn to shine against Paintsville as the senior paced the Wildcats with 28 points in the 15th Region All-A Semifinal. Senior Keian Worrix generated a team-high 25 points in the loss to Pikeville in the 15th Region All-A Final.

The Wildcats could not avenge last Friday’s loss against Pikeville on Tuesday. Rodney Rowe’s crew also has matchups against Belfry (Thursday) and Cordia (Saturday) this week.


Now let’s take a look at the girls side.

1. North Laurel (6-1)

Last Week: defeated Perry Central 78-48, defeated Harlan County 60-15, defeated No. 2 Southwestern 67-61 (Legacy Nissan Classic)

This Week: lost to No. 2 Southwestern 64-59, at Clay County

The Lady Jaguars make it a North Laurel sweep for another week as the Eddie Mahan’s squad has scored at least 60 points in all six games thus far. Five players reached double figures in the win against the Lady Commodores including Halle Collins. The eighth grader recorded a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds while shooting nine for 12 against Perry Central. Junior Hailee Valentine was the team’s leading scorer against Harlan County with 14 points. Collins put the team on her back again in the win against Southwestern with 26 points and ten boards. Valentine was the team’s other double-digit scorer with 16 points.

After coming off a victory against Southwestern, North Laurel could not make it two in a row against the Warriors on Tuesday. The Lady Jaguars will also pay a visit to Clay County on Friday.

2. Southwestern (4-2)

Last Week: defeated Danville 61-57, defeated No. 6 South Laurel 66-46, lost to No. 1 North Laurel 67-61

This Week: defeated No. 1 North Laurel 64-59, at McCreary Central

Despite falling to top ranked North Laurel last Saturday, the Warriors still ended up with a 2-1 record last week. Junior Molden’s squad outlasted a really talented and tough Danville squad then backed that up with a decisive victory against the reigning 13th Region champions. Freshman Kinsley Molden (14 points) and junior Kylie Foreman (13 points) were the main sources in terms of point production in the victory against the Lady Admirals. Molden was the team’s leading scorer again in the win against the Lady Cardinals with 18 while senior Alexa Smiddy and junior Makayla Noritis both reached double figures with 17 points and 12 points, respectively. Alexa Smiddy paced Southwestern in scoring against North Laurel with 15 points. Sophomore Ayden Smiddy had 12 points while Foreman tallied 11 against the Lady Jaguars.

The Warriors got their revenge against the Lady Jaguars on Tuesday. Southwestern will also head to McCreary Central on Friday.

3. Pikeville (5-1)

Last Week: defeated Jenkins 79-40, defeated No. 4 Shelby Valley 47-40, defeated Betsy Layne 66-43

This Week: at Belfry, at Boyd County

After losing to Shelby Valley in the 15th Region All-A Final, the Lady Panthers got back on track with an overwhelming victory against the Lady Cavaliers. Kristy Orem’s crew also avenged their loss to the Lady Kats while downing Betsy Layne with ease. Freshman Trinity Rowe paced Pikeville in scoring with 16 points against Jenkins. Rowe led the way again against Shelby Valley with 14 points. Senior Mackenzie Maynard had a team-high 22 points in the win against Betsy Layne. Freshman Kristen Whited was Pikeville’s other double figure scorer against the Ladycats with 15 points. The Lady Panthers have held their opponents to less than 50 points in four out of six games so far.

Pikeville has two more road games this week. The first contest is at Belfry on Thursday while Saturday’s contest will be at Boyd County.

4. Shelby Valley (4-2)

Last Week: defeated Lawrence County 60-56, lost to No. 3 Pikeville 47-40

This Week: lost to Johnson Central 50-44, at Pike Central, vs. Bethlehem

The Lady Kats narrowly escaped against Lawrence County but dropped their first contest of the season against Pikeville. The 40 points scored against Pikeville was Shelby Valley’s lowest production in a game this season. Junior Alyssa Elswick was the team’s leading scorer against the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points. Junior Cassidy Rowe also reached double figures with 15 points. Senior Laci Johnson had a team-high ten rebounds against the Lady Bulldogs. Elswick bell-cowed the team in scoring against Pikeville with 15 points.

Shelby Valley’s second loss of the season came at the hands of Johnson Central on Tuesday. Lonnie Rowe’s team also has a tilt at Pike Central on Wednesday followed by a home matchup against the Bethlehem Banshees on Saturday.

5. Floyd Central (6-0)

Last Week: defeated Hazard 58-42, defeated East Ridge 60-21

This Week: defeated Hazard 59-54, at Betsy Layne, at Johnson Central

The Lady Jaguars kept their unbeaten season intact with lopsided victories against the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Warriors. Justin Triplett’s squad has scored at least 58 points in all six games it has played so far. Senior Katie Moore had a team-high 16 points and snagged nine rebounds against Hazard while sophomore Kennedy Harvel pitched in with 11 points. Three players reached double figures against East Ridge including Grace Martin. The junior tallied 16 points while Harvel recorded 15 points. Moore also poured in 12 points.

Floyd Central took down Hazard for the second time this season on Tuesday. The Lady Jaguars also have a tilt with Betsy Layne on Friday while Saturday’s matchup will be in Paintsville against Johnson Central.

6. South Laurel (1-3)

Last Week: lost to No. 2 Southwestern 66-46, lost to Bullitt East 63-39, lost to Christian Academy-Louisville 53-35 (White, Greer & Maggard Holiday Classic)

This Week: vs. Corbin, at No. 7 Whitley County

After starting off the season with a victory, the Lady Cardinals have now dropped three in a row. South Laurel is off to its worst start since the 2015-16 season. Senior Brianna Howard paced South Laurel in scoring with 17 points while sophomore Reagan Jones was the team’s other double figure scorer with 11 against Southwestern. Jones and junior Rachel Presley led the team in scoring with eight points each against Bullitt East. Presley and freshman Kylie Clem were the co-leaders in scoring against the Lady Centurions with 11 points apiece.

The Lady Cardinals will face two district opponents this week, starting with Corbin on Thursday followed by Whitley County on Saturday.

7. Whitley County (6-0)

Last Week: defeated Madison Southern 70-64, defeated Madison Central 56-35, defeated Middlesboro 77-23 (Tim Short Showcase)

This Week: defeated Williamsburg 89-74, vs. Jenkins, vs. No. 6 South Laurel

The Lady Colonels are off to their best start since the 2017-18 season. That team also won its first six games. Sean Pigman’s squad has been great on offense, scoring at least 70 points in five of its first six games. Four players reached double figures in the win against Madison Southern including Jaycie Monhollen. The senior had 23 points on seven of 11 from the field. Not to be outdone, freshman Mikayla Wilder had a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds against the Lady Eagles. Freshman Darcie Anderson tallied 16 points while senior Reis Anderson generated 15 points against the Lady Indians. Monhollen and freshman Marissa Douglas led the team in scoring with 18 points and 14 points respectively against Middlesboro.

Four players were in double figures again against Williamsburg on Monday. Douglas paced Whitley County with 24 points against the Lady Jackets as the Lady Colonels begin the new week with a victory. Two more home games are on the docket for Whitley County this week. The first contest is set for Friday as Jenkins comes to town while Saturday’s matchup with South Laurel will be a district battle.

8. Rockcastle County (1-1)

Last Week: lost to Wayne County 57-30

This Week: N/A

The Lady Rockets dropped their first contest of the season against Wayne County last week. The program had games scheduled against Casey County and North Laurel but those contests were canceled due to COVID-19.

Rockcastle County also had their tilt with Anderson County that was supposed to be on Monday canceled. Chrysti Noble’s squad is scheduled to play their next game on Monday, January 25th against Clay County.

9. Owsley County (5-1)

Last Week: defeated Estill County 68-42, defeated Lee County 64-14, lost to Hazard 47-40

This Week: defeated Lee County 52-18, vs. No. 10 Letcher Central, at Hazard

The Lady Owls had big victories against Estill County and Lee County but dropped a close contest to the Lady Bulldogs. Freshman Carly Smith paced Owsley County in scoring with 21 points against the Lady Engineers. Senior Kenzie Herald also tallied 18 points while senior Lexie Lynch recorded 15 points against Estill County. Lynch had the most points against Lee County and Hazard with 19 points in each contest. The Lady Owls have yet to allow their opponent to score 50 points in a game this season.

Owsley County got back in the win column against Lee County on Tuesday. The Lady Owls’ next contest is against Letcher Central on Wednesday. The Lady Owls will also face off with Hazard on Friday.

10. Letcher Central (3-3)

Last Week: defeated June Buchanan 80-16, defeated Cordia 74-19, defeated Knott Central 55- 53, lost to Montgomery County 55-48, lost to Madison Southern 66-63

This Week: at No. 9 Owsley County, at Perry Central

The Lady Cougars round out this week’s top ten after going 3-2 last week. The week got off to a great start with three straight victories but ended on a sour note with losses to Montgomery County and Madison Southern. Junior Kaylee Banks had a team-high 17 points and tallied 11 rebounds against the Lady Crusaders while senior Brooke Bates led the Lady Cougars with 20 points against Cordia. Banks and sophomore Keira Couch were the co-leaders in scoring against Knott Central with 16 points each. Bates was the team’s other double-digit scorer with 14 points against the Lady Patriots. Banks tallied 25 points in the loss to the Lady Eagles.

Letcher Central heads to Booneville to take on Owsley County on Wednesday followed by a trip to Hazard to do battle with Perry Central on Saturday.

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