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

Reed Sheppard scored 45 points against Covington Catholic.
Reed Sheppard scored 45 points against Covington Catholic.(WYMT)
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 12:55 PM EST
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We are into the third week of the High School Basketball season in Kentucky. Let’s take a look at how our ten teams fared last week in week two while we look ahead to this week’s action.

BOYS

1. North Laurel (4-1)

There’s a new team at the top of the rankings as Nate Valentine’s crew has grabbed pole position this week. With the exception of losing to Fourth Region foe Greenwood, the Jaguars have been fantastic so far as they have won all four of their games by at least 18 points. North Laurel has also reached at least 70 points in all five of their matchups this season. University of Kentucky commit Reed Sheppard has been the main catalyst for North Laurel this season as the junior is averaging 22.4 PPG so far this season. Sheppard had a game-high 31 points in Monday night’s victory against in-county rival South Laurel.

2. Knox Central (4-1)

The Panthers were unable to repeat as Mountain Classic champions, losing to Perry Central in the final as Tony Patterson’s squad falls to the second spot this week. The last time Knox Central had lost a game by 20 points or more was two seasons ago against Warren Central in the Kentucky 2A Championships state tournament. Senior Jevonte Turner had a team-high 23 points in the title game against the Commodores while sophomore Gavin Chadwell tallied 14 points. Senior Isaac Mills also reached double figures with 12 points. The Panthers got back in the win column on Tuesday against McCreary Central, 78-41. Chadwell led the way with 15 points against the Raiders.

3. Harlan County (4-1)

Mike Jones’ team had the biggest climb among teams that started the season in top ten as the Black Bears move up six spots in this week’s rankings. Harlan County started off winning their first three games including a dominant 21-point victory against Perry Central to open the season. However, the Black Bears picked up their first loss last Friday against Williamsburg as the Yellow Jackets won on a buzzer beater, 74-72. Trent Noah is averaging a double-double so far through four games as the sophomore leads the team in both scoring (26.2 PPG) and rebounding (11.0 RPG). Noah also eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in his career on Tuesday night against South Laurel as the Black Bears defeated the Cardinals, 71-49.

4. Perry Central (5-1)

Perry Central started the season outside of the top ten but the Commodores’ strong showing up to this point has allowed them to ascend all the way into the top five this week. Shannon Hoskins’ bunch started off on the wrong foot, losing by 21 to Harlan County but picked up their first win of the season against Cordia immediately after. That followed with a tremendous showing in the Mountain Classic as the Commodores took home their eighth title. Rydge Beverly has been the team’s top scorer through five games as the freshman is averaging 16.2 PPG.

5. South Laurel (5-2)

South Laurel rose three spots this week as the Cardinals have been fantastic so far through six games. Jeff Davis’ crew had a great run in Georgetown last week as they knocked off West Jessamine, Scott County, and Frederick Douglass En route to the Toyota Classic Championship. The Cardinals did lose their first game of the season on Monday night as they fell to crosstown rival North Laurel, 70-52. Junior Parker Payne is the team’s leading scorer at 15.6 PPG. South Laurel fell to Harlan County on Tuesday night, 71-49.

6. Pikeville (4-0)

Even though they have yet to lose a game this season, the Panthers dropped two places this week. Pikeville has been solid through their first four games, averaging 74.0 PPG while surrendering 58.5 PPG. Elisha Justice’s crew took down Cordia by 16 points in their most recent outing. Laithan Hall was the team’s leading scorer against the Lions as senior delivered 26 points and connected on eight three-pointers.

7. Harlan (3-1)

The Green Dragons remain in the seventh spot for another week. The first two games in the Mountain Classic were low-scoring affairs for Harlan as they found a way to prevail against Knott Central, 43-39. That followed with a narrow defeat at the hands of Perry Central, 55-54. Derrick Akal’s team did come away with some hardware as they defeated Breathitt County for third place with a 76-70 victory. Derrick Akal leads the team in scoring as the senior is averaging 24.3 PPG. The Green Dragons picked up their first win against a 13th Region opponent on Tuesday night as they dominated Middlesboro, 67-25.

8. Pulaski County (7-0)

Pulaski County enters the top ten this week as the Maroons become the first team out of the 12th Region to do so. John Fraley’s group has won in a variety of ways this season as they have shown that they can come out on top in a defensive struggle or outscore the opposition in a track meet. The Maroons have held their opponents to 50 points or less twice so far while also reaching the 80-point mark a couple of times as well. Pulaski County blasted East Jessamine last Friday as they overwhelmed the Jaguars, 82-59. Pulaski County improved to 7-0 on Tuesday night as they defeated Wayne County, 76-57. Senior Gavin Stevens has led the way for the Maroons this season, averaging 18.9 PPG.

9. Breathitt County (4-2)

The Bobcats check in at number nine this week as they are the second 14th Region team in the Mountain Top Ten. John Noble’s crew got off to a good start, winning their first three contests including two blowout victories. However, Breathitt County dropped a thrilling overtime clash against Knox Central in the Mountain Classic semifinals, 65-57. The Bobcats fell to Harlan in the Third-Place game, 76-70. Breathitt County snapped its two-game losing skid with a win against Knott Central on Tuesday night, 56-43. The Bobcats have three players that are averaging double figures in points including Austin Sperry. The freshman is averaging a team-high 14.0 PPG so far this season.

10. Williamsburg (6-0)

Williamsburg rounds out this week’s top ten as they are the sixth 13th Region squad to make the cut. The Yellow Jackets have scored 74 points or more in three out of the four games they

have played on the court so far (they won their season opener against LIGHT HomeSchool due to a forfeit). Williamsburg has one of the most impressive wins of the season so far as they upset Harlan County on a last second shot last week, 74-72. Eric Swords’ crew improved to 6-0 on Tuesday night, defeating the Pineville Mountain Lions, 83-71. The Yellow Jackets are led by Evan Steely as the senior is averaging 24.2 PPG so far.

GIRLS

1. Shelby Valley (6-0)

There are changes on the girls’ side as well as Shelby Valley has claimed the top place for this week. Lonnie Rowe’s club has been outstanding in the early going of the season, winning four of their six games by double digits and knocking off Knott Central on their home floor to win their second Mountain Classic title in school history. Shelby Valley collected another win on Tuesday night as they took down Lawrence County, 60-51. The Lady Kats are led by their dynamic duo of seniors Cassidy Rowe and Alyssa Elswick. Rowe is averaging a team-high 18.0 PPG while Elswick is almost averaging a double-double with 15.5 PPG and 8.8 RPG.

2. North Laurel (5-1)

North Laurel keeps their spot in line this week as they remain at number two. Eddie Mahan’s team started off with three straight victories at home then squandered a big lead against Knott Central in the Mountain Classic semifinals as they fell to the Lady Patriots in overtime, 73-67. The Lady Jaguars rebounded with a win against Bell County in another overtime tilt to claim third-place, 57-53. The Lady Jaguars got another win on Tuesday night as they knocked off

Madison Southern, 55-43. Three players are averaging double-digit points including leading scorer Hailee Valentine as the senior is producing 17.5 PPG.

3. Knott Central (5-1)

The Lady Patriots make a big leap this week as Jeff Honeycutt’s crew now possesses the third position. Like North Laurel, Knott Central went undefeated through their first three contests then fell to Shelby Valley in the Mountain Classic title game, 57-53. The Lady Patriots bounced back with a 17-point win at home against Perry Central on Monday night. Knott Central’s defense has been stellar for the most part as they are surrendering about 46.6 PPG. Presley Fletcher is Knott Central’s leading scorer as the sophomore is tallying 14.6 PPG.

4. Pikeville (4-1)

The Lady Panthers check in at number four this week, falling one place in the rankings. Kristy Orem’s team went 1-1 in two close battles with 16th Region foes West Carter and Ashland Blazer but have developed a three-game win streak with victories against Perry Central, Boyd County, and Paintsville. Pikeville have won all of their matchups when they score at least 60 points. Sophomore Trinity Rowe leads the team in scoring as the guard is averaging 20.0 PPG.

5. South Laurel (3-2)

South Laurel comes in at fifth and are the second 13th Region team in the top ten this week. The Lady Cardinals opened the season with a 17-point victory against Letcher Central but then

dropped back-to-back games against Southwestern and Ryle. Chris Souder’s group has followed those two losses up with blowout wins against Jackson County and Pulaski County. South Laurel has scored at least 72 points in their three wins but have been held to 59 points or fewer in their two losses. Sophomore Clara Collins is pacing the team in scoring at 20.8 PPG.

6. Knox Central (5-0)

The Lady Panthers climb three spots this week as they continue their hot start to the season. Steve Warren’s team has gone about their business quietly as Knox Central has won all of its games by double digits up to this point. The Lady Panthers have been consistent, particularly on the defensive as they have yet to give up 60 points in a game this season. Halle Collins has been the go-to player for the Lady Panthers as the freshman was averaging a double-double with 19.0 PPG and 10.8 RPG coming into Tuesday night’s contest against Whitley County.

7. Corbin (2-1)

Corbin is making their top ten debut this week as they have notched impressive wins against Southwestern and Letcher Central. The Lady Redhounds did lose in their season opener against Pulaski County but bounced back strong against the Warriors and Lady Cougars, holding both teams to less than 50 points. Corbin has three players averaging double figures including Shelby Stewart. The senior leads the team in scoring at 16.0 PPG.

8. Lawrence County (3-2)

The Lady Bulldogs ascend two places in this week’s top ten. Melinda Feltner’s team fell to West Carter in their season opener. That followed with three straight victories against Hazard, Magoffin County and Johnson Central. However, the Lady Bulldogs lost their second game of the season against Shelby Valley on Tuesday night, 60-51. Lawrence County has allowed fewer than 40 points in their three wins but have given up 60 points or more in their two losses. Guard Kinsley Feltner leads the team in both points and rebounds as the junior is producing 21.4 PPG and 8.0 RPG.

9. Somerset (5-1)

Somerset vaults into this week’s rankings as the Briar Jumpers have won four of their first five games. Cassandra McWhorter’s team has been great so far, the only loss coming at the hands of Mercer County as the Titans won that contest, 57-37. Somerset extended their win streak to three games on Tuesday night as they downed Casey County, 73-52. The Briar Jumpers are led by seventh-grader Jaelyn Dye and junior Grace Bruner. Bruner is averaging a team-leading 11.8 PPG and 9.2 RPG while Dye is contributing with 11.3 PPG.

10. Southwestern (5-3)

Southwestern clams the final spot in this week’s top ten. Junior Molden’s team lost two of its first three to begin the season but have won four of their last five since. With the exception of their victory against South Laurel, the Warriors have won all of their games by at least 18 points. Southwestern has allowed more than 54 points only twice this season. Coming into Tuesday, Kinsley Molden led the team in scoring as the freshman was averaging 14.6 PPG.

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