HAZARD, Ky (WYMT)- Let’s take an in-depth look at the Boys’ Mountain Top 10. (Note: Games with asterisks mean that they could be rescheduled or canceled).
1. Hazard (14-2)
Last Week: defeated Perry Central 57-55, defeated Buckhorn 76-50
This Week: All ‘A’ State Tournament, at Powell County*
The Bulldogs have now won six straight but it has not come easy. Hazard did not play well against Perry Central but found a way to steal the game against their bitter rivals. Junior Wade Pelphrey hit the game-winning shot to end Hazard’s 13-game losing streak to the Commodores. Al Holland’s squad breathed a little easier against another district opponent in Buckhorn. The Bulldogs lead the 14th Region and are tenth in the state in points allowed at 50.3 PPG. Hazard will now take their talents to Richmond for the All ‘A’ State Tournament. Their quest for an All ‘A’ State title begins on Thursday against the Louisville Collegiate Titans out of the 7th Region. This one could be a defensive struggle as the Titans allow the fewest points in the 7th Region at 51.9 PPG (also good enough for 16th best statewide). The Bulldogs also have Powell County on the docket for Friday.
2. Clay County (12-6)
Last Week: idle
This Week: lost to No. 7 Pulaski County 78-73, at No. 10 Knox
Central, vs. No. 8 Paintsville (Pride of the Mountains Basketball
After impressive victories over North and South Laurel two weeks ago, the Tigers took the week off last week. However, the Tigers dropped a close one to the number seven team in the Mountain Top Ten, Pulaski County. Coming into Monday, the Tigers were second in the 13th Region in field goal percentage at 49.4%. Only Knox Central has a higher field goal percentage in the region. Clay County’s schedule this week does not get any easier as Glenn Gray’s team will head to Knox Central on Thursday in a Mountain Top Ten showdown. The Tigers are also slated to play number eight Paintsville at Bell County in the Pride of the Mountains Basketball Showcase that is a part of the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week Presented by ARH on Saturday.
3. Somerset (16-2)
Last Week: defeated Washington County 62-32, defeated Burgin
69-33, defeated Danville 72-70 (double overtime)
This Week: All ‘A’ State Tournament
The Briar Jumpers have been red hot as Jeron Dunbar’s crew has won eight in a row including a double-overtime victory over Danville to take home the 12th Region All ‘A’ crown. In their eight straight wins, Somerset has outscored their opponents by an average margin of 21 PPG. Rebounding has been another big element in the the Briar Jumpers’ success as they sit third in the 12th Region in rebounding at 33.2 RPG. Only Danville Christian and Boyle County are averaging more. Somerset will compete in the All ‘A’ State Tournament this week. Their first contest will be against Gallatin County out of the 8th Region on Wednesday. There
is some good news here for Somerset fans as the Wildcats are 0-2 so far this season against “Mountain Teams.”
4. South Laurel (14-4)
Last Week: defeated Wayne County 65-54, defeated Barbourville
This Week: defeated Harlan 74-60, vs. Whitley County, at Bell County
(Pride of the Mountains Basketball Showcase)
The Cardinals gained two spots in this week’s rankings as Jeff Davis’ team has won three in a row. The Cardinals are now 9-2 in the region after victories over the Tigers and the Green Dragons. South Laurel came into Monday night’s game against Harlan having allowed the second fewest points in the 13th Region at 53.7 PPG. Only Middlesboro has given up less than the Cardinals in the region. South Laurel’s season resumes on Thursday with a date with district rival Whitley County followed by a matchup with Bell County in the Pride of the Mountains Basketball Showcase on Saturday. The latter game will be the nightcap in an Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week doubleheader Presented by ARH.
5. North Laurel (13-5)
Last Week: defeated Rockcastle County 71-47, defeated Jackson
County 82-34, lost to Perry Central 76-65
This Week: at Middlesboro, at Oneida Baptist Institute
After two routs against the Rockets and the Generals, Nate Valentine’s squad dropped one on Saturday against out of region opponent Perry Central. The Jaguars are in the top 20 in scoring in the state and sit second in the 13th Region behind Knox Central at 70.7 PPG. Friday’s game was special, particularly for freshman Reed Sheppard as the guard recorded an extremely rare quadruple-double against Jackson County on Friday. The WYMT Player of the Week had 24 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds and 10 steals. The Jaguars will play their second and third of seven straight road games at Middlesboro on Friday and at OBI on Saturday.
6. Shelby Valley (14-5)
Last Week: defeated Prestonsburg 61-57, defeated Pikeville 66-52,
lost to No. 8 Paintsville 57-55
This Week: vs. Pikeville
Jim Hicks’ team started the 15th Region All ‘A’ Tourney with a close call against Prestonsburg then cruised against Pikeville but lost to peaking Paintsville in the final. Cody Potter continues to be the go-to guy for the Wildcats as the senior leads the team in scoring at 25 PPG. The Guard also leads the state in three pointers per game at 4.3. Potter is also shooting 43.9% from downtown. The Wildcats are fifth in the 15th Region in scoring at 66.4 PPG. Shelby Valley will be featured in an Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week Presented by ARH on Tuesday against region foe Pikeville.
7. Pulaski County (15-3)
Last Week: defeated Lincoln County 56-50, defeated Southwestern
This Week: defeated No. 2 Clay County 78-73, vs. Casey County, vs.
The Maroons have won five in a row (including Monday night’s victory over number two Clay County) and have moved up a spot in this week’s poll. John Fraley’s team has shown that it can win in a number of different ways but his team seems to be at its best when it can push the pace. Pulaski County leads the 12th Region and is sixth in the state in scoring at 75 PPG. The Maroons are also leading their region and are third in the state in field goal percentage (53.1%). Pulaski County has a matchup with Casey County on Tuesday along with a tilt against Russell County on Saturday.
8. Paintsville (9-8)
Last Week: defeated East Ridge 69-65, defeated Betsy Layne 64-46,
defeated Phelps 31-28, defeated Shelby Valley 57-55
This Week: All ‘A’ State Tournament, vs. Magoffin County*, vs. No. 2 Clay
County (Pride of the Mountains Basketball Showcase)*
It has been an interesting season so far for the Tigers to say the least. After having a 3-8 record at one point during the season, Landon Slone’s squad has turned things around. The former Kentucky Wildcat has now led Paintsville to six consecutive victories including an upset over then number four Shelby Valley in
the 15th Region All ‘A’ Final. Sophomore Colby Fugate leads Paintsville in scoring at 21.8 PPG and had a tremendous All ‘A’ Classic. The guard was named the Most Valuable Player in the tournament as he averaged 22.5 PPG through those four games including 34 in the final against the Wildcats. Paintsville will now turn their attention to the All ‘A’ State Tournament at Eastern Kentucky University. The Tigers will take on another “Mountain Team” on Thursday as the Harlan Green Dragons will represent the 13th Region. Paintsville is also slated to play Magoffin County on Friday but there is a good chance that this game could be rescheduled or canceled. The Tigers are also supposed to participate in the
Pride of the Mountains Basketball Showcase on Saturday against number two Clay County on Saturday. That game is part of an Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week doubleheader Presented by ARH.
9. Knott Central (14-4)
Last Week: defeated Cordia 75-64
This Week: defeated Floyd Central 59-54, vs. Letcher Central, vs.
Even though the Patriots have won eight of their last nine, they are in the ninth spot again this week. The reigning 53rd District Champions defeated rival Cordia in their only contest last week. Bb King’s squad came into this week averaging the fourth most points per game in the 14th Region at 67.4 PPG. Only Breathitt County, Wolfe County and Jackson City are scoring more. The Patriots have started this week on a good note with a five-point victory on the road against Floyd Central on Monday. The Patriots look to continue their strong run against Letcher Central on Thursday and against Belfry on Saturday. Thursday’s game will be the first of four straight home games for Knott Central.
10. Knox Central (15-4)
Last Week: lost to Warren Central 83-59, lost to Bryan Station 70-69
This Week: defeated Lynn Camp 65-58, vs. No. 2 Clay County, vs.
The Panthers made it all the way to the championship game of last year’s Kentucky 2A Classic but it was not meant to be this time around. Tony Patterson’s team was down then came back to tie the game at 52 at the end of the third quarter but was outscored 31-7 in the fourth quarter. Knox Central also lost an absolute heartbreaker in Lexington to Bryan Station in triple overtime by a point on Saturday. The reigning 13th Region Champions lead the region and are seven in the state in scoring at 74.3 PPG. The Panthers did bounce back with a win against Lynn Camp on Monday but the degree of difficulty amps up on Thursday as Clay County comes to town in a Mountain Top Ten battle. The Panthers also face out of state foe Jellico on Saturday.
Here is this week’s breakdown of the Mountain Top 10 for Girls’ High School Basketball. (Note: Games with asterisks could be rescheduled or canceled).
1. Southwestern (15-3)
Last Week: lost to Wayne County 55-49, defeated Pulaski County
This Week: defeated Clay County 67-31, vs. No. 3 South Laurel
After having lost only once through the 2019 portion of the season, the Lady Warriors suffered their second defeat in three games last week against Wayne County. However, Southwestern did rebound against arch-rival Pulaski County. Regi Cundiff has been the most productive player for Southwestern as the senior is averaging 14.1 PPG and 6.4 RPG. The Lady Warriors have the best Ratings Per Index (RPI) among “Mountain Teams” and are tenth overall in the state. Junior Molden’s squad handled their business on Monday in their first game of back-to-back road games against Clay County. The Lady Warriors also have a Mountain Top Five encounter with South Laurel on Tuesday.
2. North Laurel (15-2)
Last Week: defeated Rockcastle County 63-53, defeated Jackson
County 59-50, lost to Holy Cross (Covington) 48-42
This Week: vs. Madison Southern, at Whitley County, at Oneida
The Lady Jaguars started off the week strong with victories over then number seven Rockcastle County and a former Mountain Top 10 team in Jackson County. Eddie Mahan’s team did stub their toe against Holy Cross -Covington in the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic, though. Despite the loss, North Laurel is still dominating the opposition, winning by an average margin of 25.2 PPG. Only North Oldham, Bethlehem and Central are winning by more in the state. The Lady Jaguars continue to be led by the trio of Hallie Collins, Hailee Valentine and Gracie Jervis. All three average double figures with Collins leading the team in rebounding with 7.0 RPG. The defending 13th Region Champions welcome in Madison Southern on Tuesday followed road games with Whitley County and OBI on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
3. South Laurel (13-4)
Last Week: defeated Corbin 72-36, defeated Dixie Heights 76-68
This Week: vs. No. 1 Southwestern, vs. Madison Southern
The Lady Cardinals breezed past Corbin but it was a more competitive contest against Dixie Heights. South Laurel did manage to prevail over the Colonels to move nine games above .500. Chris Souder’s team continues to lead the 13th Region in scoring as they have scored 70 points or more nine times this season. South Laurel is third in the state in free throw shooting, making 77 percent of their foul shots from the charity stripe. The Lady Cardinals will travel to number one Southwestern on Tuesday for a Mountain Top Five matchup followed by a home game with Madison Southern on Friday.
4. Shelby Valley (12-5)
Last Week: defeated Scott 73-68
This Week: All ‘A’ State Tournament, vs. East Ridge*
The Lady Kats made a solid leap up the rankings this week as they picked up two spots. Shelby Valley was in a battle with Scott but Alyssa Newsom was terrific in that game. The senior tallied 24 points on 9 for 16 shooting including 3 for 6 from beyond the arc. The Guard remains second in scoring behind Alyssa Elswick with 10.8 PPG. Lonnie Rowe’s team will now venture to Richmond for the All ‘A’ State Tournament. The first opponent will be Holy Cross out of Louisville on Wednesday. The Lady Kats also have a contest scheduled for Friday against East Ridge but that contest could be rescheduled or canceled.
5. Pikeville (15-4)
Last Week: defeated East Ridge 70-32, defeated Magoffin County
This Week: defeated Ashland Blazer 43-40
The Lady Panthers remain in the fifth spot this week. Even though Kristy Orem’s team fell short of the 15th Region All ‘A’ Title, Pikeville has won 10 of their last 11. The Lady Panthers went 2-0 last week with blowout victories over East Ridge and Magoffin County. The Lady Panthers found themselves in a much closer tussle on Monday night against Ashland Blazer but prevailed by three points. The Lady Panthers are third in the 15th Region in points per game with 56.8 PPG behind Shelby Valley and Floyd Central. Pikeville won their only game this week so the
Lady Panthers will be off until Monday, January 27th when they travel to Lawrence County.
6. Martin County (11-5)
Last Week: defeated Greens County 52-34, defeated Betsy Layne
43-25, defeated Paintsville 58-31
This Week: at Floyd Central, vs. Johnson Central, vs. Letcher Central
(Lady Hawk 1-Day Showcase)
The Lady Cardinals made the biggest leap of all this week, moving up four spots from last week. After starting the week with a convincing victory over the Lady Musketeers, Robin Newsome’s unit had their way with Betsy Layne and Paintsville. As a result, Martin County has won four of their last five and have allowed fewer than 35 points in all four victories. Senior Forward Madison Thompson leads the team in scoring with 16.2 PPG. The Lady Cardinals have three games this week starting with a matchup at Floyd Central on Tuesday. Martin County will also play host to Johnson Central on Friday then participate in the Lady Hawk 1-Day Showcase at Pike Central against Letcher Central on Saturday.
7. Knott Central (12-7)
Last Week: lost to Floyd Central 59-50, defeated Letcher Central
This Week: All ‘A’ State Tournament
The Lady Patriots had their five-game win streak snapped against Floyd Central last Tuesday but got back into the win column with a hard-fought victory over Letcher Central in a Mountain Top 10 matchup last Friday. The offensive output from Jeff Honeycutt’s team has been great lately, scoring at least 63 points or more in six of their last seven games. Knott Central is led by Presley Fletcher and Keara Mullins. The Guard tandem is averaging 10.8 PPG while Mullins also leads the team in rebounding with 4.2 RPG. The Lady Patriots now head to Richmond for the All ‘A’ State Tournament as they will face Murray in the first round on Wednesday. The Lady Tigers are representing the 1st Region.
8. Bell County (13-3)
Last Week: lost to Leslie County 80-73, lost to Christian Academy-
This Week: at Harlan County, vs. Corbin (Short-Redmond Auto Pride
of the Mountains Showcase)
The Lady Bobcats tumbled down the poll four spots this week after going 0-2 last week. Bell County suffered their first loss of 2020 against Leslie County then were overwhelmed in the Kentucky 2A Classic against defending champions CAL. Talyah McQueen has led the Lady Bobcats in most categories but senior Abby Harris has had a good season as well. The Guard is second on the team in scoring (14.3 PPG) and rebounding (6.8 RPG). Harris is also second on the team in free throw shooting at 76.5 percent. David Teague’s ball club will return to action on Tuesday against region foe Harlan County. The Lady Bobcats are also slated to face-off with Corbin at home on Friday in the Short-Redmond Auto Pride of the Mountains Showcase.
9. Rockcastle County (13-6)
Last Week: lost to No. 2 North Laurel 63-53, lost to Casey County
59-49, defeated Fleming County 72-34 (Martin Luther King, Jr.
This Week: vs. Wayne County, at McCreary Central
The Lady Rockets faltered against the Lady Jaguars and the Lady Rebels but did end their three-game skid against Fleming County in Winchester. Rockcastle County now sits at 4-3 in the region and 2-3 in district play. When the Lady Rockets surrender 55 points or more, they are 0-5 but when Chrysti Noble’s squad gives up 54 points or less, they are 13-1. The Lady Rockets are back in action this week against two region opponents. The first being on Tuesday against Wayne County while the game on Friday will be at McCreary Central.
10. Pulaski County (12-7)
Last Week: lost to Lincoln County 54-44, lost to No. 1 Southwestern
This Week: lost to Russell 62-42, vs. Casey County
The Lady Maroons did pick up a big victory over a Mountain Top Ten team in Rockcastle County a week and a half ago but now find themselves on a three-game
losing streak. Chris Adkins’ team could have had a signature victory over the number one team and arch-nemesis Southwestern but was unable to seal the deal. Senior Forward Heidi Thompson leads the team in scoring (10.4 PPG) and rebounding (5.7 RPG). The Lady Maroons also dropped their first game this week at Russell by twenty points but will host district foe Casey County on Tuesday.