Breaking down the Mountain Top 10 after seven weeks

Reed Sheppard taking a shot against Lexington Catholic on Dec. 29, 2021.
Reed Sheppard taking a shot against Lexington Catholic on Dec. 29, 2021.(John Lowe/WYMT)
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 4:40 PM EST
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BOYS

1. Pulaski County (17-0)

The Maroons keep their stronghold on the top spot as John Fraley’s team is the only one in the state that has not lost a game so far. Pulaski County has not had any issues rolling through the opposition for the most part but did experience a scare in one of their more recent outings against Lincoln County. The Patriots kept it close, but Pulaski County was able to prevail, 51-46. The Maroons rolled Casey County in their last contest on Tuesday, 85-45. The Maroons came into that matchup leading the 12th Region in points per game at 73.9 PPG. They are giving up the fourth-fewest points per game in that region at 53.9 PPG. The Maroons are second in the 12th Region in rebounds per game, tallying 34.6 RPG as a unit. The Maroons have three players that average double figures in scoring including Gavin Stevens. The senior leads the way in that department at 16.2 PPG. Stevens is also the leading rebounder at 7.1 RPG.

2. Pikeville (12-1)

The Panthers continue their strong start to season, having lost just once so far. That defeat came at the hands of Bowling Green in the Ashland Invitational by a point, 62-61. Since that loss, Elisha Justice’s team has won four in a row including defeating Harlan for the second time this season. Pikeville leads the state in field goal percentage, shooting at 56.5 percent clip. The Panthers are fourth in the 15th Region in scoring, tallying 72.6 PPG. Prior to Wednesday’s contest against Phelps, senior Nick Robinson’s 78.7 percent field goal percentage was the best in the state. Robinson also leads the Panthers in scoring (19.1 PPG) and rebounding (8.5 RPG).

3. North Laurel (11-4)

Nate Valentine’s squad checks in at number three this week. The Jaguars have been up and down in the last couple of weeks, going 3-2 since Christmas. North Laurel lost to Ballard this past weekend in the Second Chance Shootout in Lexington, 97-83. The Jaguars rebounded with a win at home against Madison Central in the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week on Monday, 77-65. North Laurel leads the state in free throw percentage at 86.8 percent. The Jaguars are second in the 13th Region in field goal percentage at 51.5 percent. The Jaguars are second in the 13th Region and ninth in the state in scoring at 76.8 PPG. Junior Reed Sheppard leads the 13th Region in scoring at 26.8 PPG. Senior Clay Sizemore is fifth in three-pointers made per game at 3.5 threes per game.

4. Perry Central (14-2)

Perry Central retains the fourth spot in the rankings. Shannon Hoskins’ ballclub has only lost once since Christmas and that was at the hands of Mason County in the Mason County Invitational Tournament, 72-61. After that loss, the Commodores have rattled off four straight victories. The Commodores are tied for third with Breathitt County in field goal percentage in the 14th Region, shooting at 51.5 percent clip. Perry Central is winning their games by an average margin of 13.7 PPG. Only Breathitt County is winning their games by more in the 14th Region than the Commodores. Two players average double-digits in scoring for Perry Central including Landon Napier. The senior leads the team in scoring at 16.9 PPG.

5. Knox Central (12-4)

The Panthers hang onto the fifth spot for another week. Knox Central has won five of their last six contests, the only loss coming to South Laurel, 57-48 on January 4th. Tony Patterson’s crew had their best scoring game of the season against Montgomery County last Saturday. The Panthers put up a season-high 92 points against the Indians in their 34-point victory. The Panthers backed that performance up with another strong showing against Wayne County on Tuesday, 72-37. The Panthers are tied for fifth with Corbin in the 13th Region in scoring at 68.1 PPG. Knox Central is second in the region in fewest points allowed at 51.2 PPG. Only in-county rival Barbourville is surrendering less points per game than the defending 13th Region Champions. The Panthers are third in the region in rebounds per game at 35.4 RPG. Only

Jackson County and Oneida are producing more in the region. Senior Jevonte Turner leads the team in scoring at 17.2 PPG.

6. Harlan County (11-4)

The Black Bears are the third team from the 13th Region to make the latest rankings. Harlan County is 4-1 in their last five tilts. Michael Jones’ squad’s sole loss came against Madison Central in the Tim Short Automotive Classic in Winchester last Saturday, 74-69. The Black Bears rebounded with an emphatic victory against Bell County on Tuesday, 89-69. Harlan County is putting up 76.9 PPG which is best in the 13th Region and eighth in the state. The Black Bears are third in the region in three-point field goal percentage at 39.2 percent. Harlan County is second in the region in free throw percentage at 73.6 percent. Trent Noah is third in the region in scoring at 24.6 PPG. The sophomore is also second in the region in rebounding behind Oneida’s Kazim Faisal at 9.4 RPG.

7. Breathitt County (14-2)

The Bobcats are seventh for the second week in a row. John Noble’s squad has not lost in more than a month, the last loss coming against Harlan in the Mountain Classic, 76-60. The Bobcats have won 11 straight including a 64-58 victory against Hazard to claim the 14th Region All “A” title. Breathitt County is tied with Perry Central for third-best in overall field goal shooting percentage in the 14th Region at 51.5 percent. The Bobcats are third in the region in three-point shooting percentage at 38.7 percent, trailing only Lee County and Estill County in that department. Junior Luke Bellamy is producing three three-pointers made per game, good enough for fourth best in the region. Freshman Austin Sperry leads the team in scoring at 15.5 PPG.

8. Lawrence County (14-2)

Lawrence County is the second team out of the 15th Region in this week’s top ten. The Bulldogs have had a pretty good run the last couple of weeks, going 5-2 in their last seven matchups. Both of those losses came against out-of-state opponents in the Carolina Invitational in

Charleston, South Carolina. Chandler Thompson’s team set a new season-high in points in their last game against Huntington St. Joseph Prep. The Bulldogs won that contest, 99-61. Lawrence County is second in the 15th Region and 11th in the state in scoring at 76.2 PPG. Only Belfry is tallying more points per game in the region. Lawrence County is shooting 39.4 percent from beyond on the arc, third-best in the region in that category at 39.4 percent. Only Belfry and Pikeville are shooting better a better percentage from downtown than the Bulldogs. Cody Maynard is fourth in the region in scoring as the senior is generating 23 PPG.

9. Corbin (11-3)

The Redhounds occupy the ninth spot in the rankings this week. Prior to Tuesday’s 82-64 defeat against South Laurel, Tony Pietrowski’s team had won their last nine contests. Corbin is tied with Knox Central for the fifth most points per game in the region at 68.1 PPG. The Redhounds are seventh in the 13th Region in rebounds per game at 31.5 RPG. Junior Hayden Llewellyn is tallying 20.6 PPG, fifth-best in the region. Sophomore Trey Worley is shooting 62.7 percent from the field, third best in the region in that category.

10. Bell County (10-3)

The Bobcats round out this week’s top ten. Bell County has won four of their last six contests but did pick of their first district loss of the season against Harlan County on Tuesday, 89-69. Bell County is shooting 72.6 percent from the charity stripe, third-best in the 13th Region behind only North Laurel and Harlan County. Brad Sizemore’s team is shooting 48.5 percent from the field, good enough for fourth best in the region. Coming into Tuesday night’s game against the Black Bears, senior Cameron Burnett led the team in scoring at 19.5 PPG.

GIRLS

1. Pikeville (14-1)

The Lady Panthers claim the top spot on the Girls’ side once again. Kristy Orem’s team is riding high, having won 13 consecutive games including knocking off district rival Shelby Valley to take

the 15th Region All “A” championship, 57-50. Pikeville is second in the 15th Region in points per game at 61.5 PPG. Only Lawrence County is scoring more points per game than the Lady Panthers. The Panthers lead the region in fewest points per game allowed at 40.4 PPG. Pikeville also leads the region and is fourth in the state in field goal percentage at 48.2 percent. Sophomore Trinity Rowe is second in the region in field goal percentage at 58 percent. Only Floyd Central’s Grace Martin is shooting better from the field in the region. Rowe leads the team in scoring at 17.3 PPG.

2. North Laurel (12-2)

The Lady Jaguars are the top-ranked team to come out of the 13th Region this week. Eddie Mahan’s crew had won eight straight games until falling to Sacred Heart last Saturday, 76-52. North Laurel did bounce back with a victory against Rockcastle County on Tuesday, 62-38. The Lady Jaguars are second in the 13th Region in scoring at 63.4 PPG. Only Corbin is putting up more points per game in the region. North Laurel is third in the region in field goal percentage, shooting the basketball at a 44.6 percent. The Lady Jaguars lead the state in free throw percentage at 80.4 percent. Senior Hailee Valentine is third in the region in scoring at 19.3 PPG. Sophomore Chloe McKnight is fifth in the region in field goal percentage at 56 percent. Emily Sizemore leads the state in free throw percentage as the junior is shooting 85.5 percent from the charity stripe.

3. Corbin (11-3)

The Lady Redhounds retained their spot at number three this week. Isaac Wilson’s squad has gone 4-2 in their last six games. They lost to a district opponent for the first time this season when they fell to South Laurel on Tuesday, 59-44. Corbin leads the 13th Region and is eighth in the state overall in scoring, recording 64.9 PPG. The Lady Redhounds are shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range, putting them fourth-best in the region in that category. Sophomore Kallie Housley is shooting 81 percent from the foul line, the fourth-best in the region in that statistic. Housley is also the team’s leading scorer at 15.3 PPG.

4. Knox Central (11-5)

Knox Central is the third consecutive team to make the top team out of the 13th Region. The Lady Panthers got off to a solid start but have struggled lately, losing back-to-back games and three of their last four. Steve Warren’s team fell to Bell County in the Kentucky 2A Section 7 championship game on Monday, 70-56. That was followed up with a 66-60 defeat against Perry Central on Tuesday. Despite the loss, freshman Halle Collins managed to join the 1,000th point club with a strong performance against the Lady Commodores. Collins had a double-double with 27 points and 16 rebounds. The Lady Panthers are fourth in the region in scoring at 62.4 PPG. Knox Central is shooting 69.4 percent from the free throw line which is fourth-best in the region while their 43.8 percent field goal percentage puts them in a tie with South Laurel for fifth best. Coming into this week, Collins led the team in scoring (17.7 PPG) and rebounding (9.2 RPG).

5. Shelby Valley (15-5)

The Lady Kats descend one spot in the rankings this week. Shelby Valley had carried a five-game winning streak into Sunday’s 15th Region All “A” final against Pikeville but that was snapped with a 57-50 loss. The Lady Kats rebounded with a 58-18 victory against East Ridge on Wednesday. Lonnie Rowe’s team is second in the 15th Region and 16th in the state in field goal percentage at 45.1 percent. The Lady Kats are also second in the 15th Region in three-point field goal percentage at 36.3 percent. Senior Alyssa Elswick leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 16.6 PPG and 8.4 RPG, respectively. Senior Cassidy Rowe is the team’s other double-digit scorer at 15.3 PPG.

6. Southwestern (13-4)

The Warriors are the first team to out of the 12th Region to crack the rankings. Junior Molden’s squad has been playing at a high level recently, winning five in a row and ten of their last 11. Southwestern put up a season-high in points in their most recent victory against Wayne County, romping the Lady Cards by a score of 79-39. The Warriors are the fourth-highest scoring team in the 12th Region, producing 59.3 PPG. Southwestern is second in the 12th Region and fifth in the state in free throw percentage, making their shots from the foul line at a 76 percent rate. The Warriors have three players that average at least ten points including Kinsley Molden. The freshman leads the team at 13.7 PPG.

7. Pulaski County (12-4)

The Warriors are followed by their in-county rival in the Lady Maroons in the top ten. Pulaski County has won seven of their last eight including a 23-point victory against Casey County last time out. Chris Adkins’ crew have been strong on the offensive end of late, but they were phenomenal on defense against Casey County, holding the Lady Rebels to a season-low 25 points in that contest on Tuesday. The Lady Maroons are third in the 12th Region in scoring, tallying 61.5 PPG. Pulaski County is fourth in the region in three-point field goal percentage at 31.7 %. Sophomore Sydney Martin is the second-leading scorer in the 12th region, producing 21.4 PPG. Senior Caroline Oakes leads the region and is third in the state in free throw percentage at 85.2 percent.

8. Lawrence County (13-4)

The Lady Bulldogs move down one spot in this week’s top ten. Melinda Feltner’s squad has fared well recently, winning six of their last seven tilts. Lawrence County came into Wednesday’s contest against Tug Valley leading the 15th Region scoring at 62 PPG. The Lady Bulldogs are fourth in the region in field goal percentage, making their shots at 41.6 percent clip. Lawrence County is the best free throw shooting team in the region at 67.9 percent. Kensley Feltner leads the region and is third in the state in scoring at 25.8 PPG. The junior also leads the region in free throw percentage at 78.8 percent.

9. Martin County (12-3)

The Lady Cardinals are the fourth team in the top ten to hail from the 15th Region. Robin Newsome’s team had lost three in a row, but they halted that skid with a 61-43 victory against region counterpart Betsy Layne on Wednesday. Martin County came into their contest against Betsy Layne having scored the third-most points in the region at 60.6 PPG. The Lady Cardinals are third in the region in rebounding, tallying 34.4 RPG. Only Pike Central and Floyd Central are generating more rebounds per game in the region. Laken Williams leads the team in scoring as the sophomore is producing 19.7 PPG. Sophomore Katie Marcum is the team’s other double-digit scorer at 17.1 PPG. Marcum is also leading the way in rebounding with 9.3 RPG.

10. Knott Central (11-5)

The Lady Patriots check in as the only top ten team out of the 14th Region this week. Knott Central had a stretch where it had lost four of five but since then, Jeff Honeycutt’s team has reeled off four straight victories including a 60-54 victory against Leslie County to claim the 14th Region All “A” championship. Knott Central is second in the 14th Region and 11th in the state in field goal percentage at 45.7 percent. The Lady Patriots have also been solid from the charity stripe, making 67.1 percent of their free throws which is third-best in the region behind Estill County and Perry Central. The Lady Patriots lead the 14th Region and are seventh in the state in three-point field goal percentage at 38.7 percent. Junior Abby Maggard is second in the region in free throw percentage at 79.6 percent behind Estill County’s Jayci Long. Maggard also leads the team in scoring at 14.1 PPG.

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