HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - As the season marches closer to March, here's a breakdown of the latest boys' and girls' Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10s.
Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 – Boys’ Week 10 Breakdown
The regular season is winding down. Here’s an inside look at this week’s Boys’ Mountain Top 10 with two weeks to go in the regular season.
1. Clay County (16-8)
Last Week: defeated Barbourville 83-59
This Week: vs. lost to Bell County 78-73, at No. 10 Knox Central, at Jackson County, vs. Red Bird
The top spot in the boys’ poll changes hands once again as the Tigers move up one spot. After cruising past Barbourville last week, Clay County’s other game against Jackson County was postponed due to flooding. The contest against Barbourville was the third time in the last five games that the Tigers have scored 80 points or more. Clay County also picked up their tenth win inside the 13th Region against Barbourville, joining South Laurel as the only two teams to have double-digit victories in the region.
Jacob Curry continues to pace the Tigers in scoring as the former WYMT Player of the Week is averaging 17.4 PPG. Glenn Gray’s squad leads the 13th Region and is fourth overall in the state in free throw shooting at 75.6%.
Clay County finishes the 13th Region portion of its schedule this week. The Tigers dropped their first home game of the season to Bell County on Monday. Now, the Tigers must regroup for Tuesday’s matchup with tenth-ranked Knox Central on Tuesday followed by the battle with Jackson County that got rescheduled to this Thursday. Clay County’s final 13th Region contest will also be their last against a 49th District team until the postseason as they host Red Bird on Saturday.
2. Somerset (19-4)
Last Week: lost to No. 6 North Laurel 62-55
This Week: at Wayne County, vs. No. 7 Pulaski County, vs. Green County
The Maroons had won back-to-back contest against Pulaski County and Anderson County but suffered just their second home loss of the season against North Laurel. After scoring 60 points or more in their last eight games, Somerset has scored 55 points or fewer in four of their last five contests. The Briar Jumpers had three double-figure scorers against the Jaguars including Kade Grundy. The junior had a team-high 22 points in the loss against North Laurel. Somerset continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the state as they are second in the 12th Region and 13th in the state in points allowed at 51.5 PPG. Only Lincoln County is giving up less in the 12th Region (48.2 PPG).
The Maroons will travel to Monticello for a tilt with Wayne County on Tuesday. The Briar Jumpers will also meet Pulaski County at home on Wednesday followed by a matchup with 5th Region foe Green County on Saturday. Jeron Dunbar’s team got the better of Pulaski County a couple of weeks ago in a 72-52 victory.
3. South Laurel (21-4)
Last Week: defeated Harlan County 64-57, defeated No. 7 North Laurel 72-60, defeated Pikeville 67-65 (overtime)
This Week: vs. Harlan, at No. 10 Knox Central
The Cardinals continue their hot streak as they have now won 10 in a row and 15 of their last 16 (the only loss coming to Clay County by a point in the Bobby Keith Classic). Senior Matthew Cromer was outstanding in the victory over the Black Bears, scoring a game-high 35 points on 11 of 18 from the field including 4 of 8 from the three-point line. Cromer duplicated his 35-point feat against North Laurel in the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week Presented by ARH. The guard also snagged 13 rebounds for his second double-double in the last three games. For as great as Cromer has been this season, South Laurel is not a one-man band. Senior Brett Norvell had a team-high 25 points on 8 of 12 shooting against the Panthers in the narrow escape.
Jeff Davis’ crew will meet Harlan on Tuesday. The Cardinals defeated the Green Dragons, 74-60 back on January 20th. South Laurel will also travel to Knox Central on Thursday for their final road game in the regular season.
4. Hazard (20-4)
Last Week: defeated No. 7 Knott Central 56-53 (overtime), defeated Buckhorn 61-51
This Week: vs. Cordia, vs. Wolfe County, at No. 7 North Laurel
The Bulldogs continue to keep finding ways to pull close games out. That is something that Al Holland’s team should be able to use to their advantage as the postseason inches closer. Hazard is 12-3 in games that have been decided by 10 points or less this season. Junior Wade Pelphrey willed Hazard to victory in their overtime slugfest against Knott Central, as the guard was the only double-figure scorer with 19 points. The Bulldogs were down for a majority of the game against Buckhorn but stormed back in the fourth quarter and used a late run to put the Wildcats away. Sophomore Andrew Ford and Junior Jarrett Napier joined Pelphrey in double-digits in the scoring column against Buckhorn.
Hazard faces two 14th Region opponents this week. The first contest will be on Tuesday against Cordia while Friday’s donnybrook will be against Wolfe County. The Bulldogs will end the week with a contest at North Laurel as they face the sixth-ranked Jaguars. The Bulldogs already own wins over the Lions and Wolves this season as both of those tilts were a part of the 14th Region All-A Classic.
5. Shelby Valley (19-5)
Last Week: defeated Pike Central 68-37, defeated Jenkins 72-36
This Week: at Martin County, vs. Floyd Central
The Wildcats are finding their groove as Jim Hicks’ team extended their win streak to five games last week with victories over Pike Central and Jenkins. Just as he has does all season long, Cody Potter continues to be “the man” for Shelby Valley. The senior scored 28 points on a scintillating 75% shooting night against Pike Central. The Rollins College commit also hauled in 13 rebounds. Three players scored in double digits in the victory over Jenkins including Potter and sophomore Elijah Sykes. Potter and Sykes were the team leaders in scoring with 16. In their last five victories, Valley’s margin of victory has been by at least 17 points or more in all of those except for Belfry. The Wildcats also continue to have the highest Ratings Percentage Index in the 15th Region.
Shelby Valley has five games remaining on their regular season schedule. Four of those are against 15th Region opponents including two this week. The Wildcats square off with Martin County on Tuesday while they duke it out with Floyd Central on Wednesday.
6. North Laurel (16-8)
Last Week: defeated No. 2 Somerset 62-55, lost to No. 3 South Laurel 72-60
This Week: vs. No. 8 Knott Central, at Corbin, vs. No. 4 Hazard
The Jaguars experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows last week. The week started with a tremendous win over the top-ranked Somerset Briar Jumpers on the road, but it ended roughly as Nate Valentine’s team dropped to 1-1 against archrival South Laurel at South Laurel. The Jaguars are 3-4 in their last seven games. North Laurel has won all of those games when they have given up fewer than 65 points. They have lost all of those contests when they have given up more than 70 points. The freshmen duo of Reed Sheppard and Ryan Davidson were fantastic in the win over Somerset. Sheppard had 22 points and four rebounds while Davidson tallied 16 points and seven rebounds.
Sheppard came up with another 20-plus point outing against South Laurel with 22 while senior Cole Kelley produced 17 points and eight rebounds.
The Jaguars will play their third straight Mountain Top 10 foe on Tuesday as No. 8 Knott Central travels westbound on the Hal Rogers Parkway to London. North Laurel will also battle 13th Region counterpart Corbin on Friday before facing off with another Mountain Top 10 team in fourth-ranked Hazard on Saturday.
7. Pulaski County (19-5)
Last Week: defeated Mercer County 68-58
This Week: at No. 2 Somerset, at Southwestern, vs. Danville
The Maroons got the upper-hand in their only contest last week over fellow 12th Region squad, Mercer County. The win over the Titans gave Pulaski County their 10th victory in region play, joining Lincoln County as the only two teams to have double-digit victories against 12th Region teams. Junior KJ Combs had a team-high 20 points against Mercer County while going 9 of 13 from the field. Combs also corralled six rebounds.
The Maroons will face second-ranked Somerset on Wednesday in a game that got rescheduled. Pulaski County will also link up with in-county rival Southwestern on Friday for their final road challenge of the regular season followed by a rare Sunday tilt with Danville. The Maroons have lost to Somerset once already but are 1-0 against the Warriors this season. That was a 69-64 victory for John Fraley’s team on January 17th.
8. Knott Central (17-5)
Last Week: lost to No. 4 Hazard 56-53 (OT), defeated Wolfe County 80-72
This Week: at No. 6 North Laurel, at George Rogers Clark, at Betsy Layne
The Patriots were able to force overtime against the Bulldogs at Memorial Gym but were unable to secure the victory. However, Bb King’s crew rebounded nicely with a victory against Wolfe County. Ironically, the win against the Wolves put Knott Central at 10-2 in the 14th Region, joining the aforementioned Bulldogs and Wolves as the only teams with 10 or more wins in 14th Region action. Colby Napier paced the Patriots in scoring against Hazard with 21 points. The junior also scored 21 points in the outing versus Wolfe County and even hit the 1,000-point milestone in the process. Junior Kent Damron led Knott Central in that contest with 29 points.
The Patriots' remaining schedule consists of teams with a combined record of 64-28. They start off traveling to sixth-seeded North Laurel on Tuesday followed by a tussle with 10th Region GRC in Winchester on Friday. The Patriots finish the week with their third consecutive road game against 15th Region enemy, Betsy Layne on Saturday.
9. Paintsville (12-10)
Last Week: defeated Belfry 83-68
This Week: vs. Floyd Central, at Martin County
Landon Slone’s team prevailed in their lone contest last week as the victory over the Pirates moved Paintsville to 10-1 in the 15th Region. The Tigers are one of three teams to have 10 or more victories in the 15th Region along with Shelby Valley and Lawrence County. Colby Fugate led Paintsville in scoring yet again as the sophomore had 25 points but it was Nick Keeton who put on a monster performance against Belfry as the senior had a double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds. The forward also had three blocks.
The Tigers have two contests this week, both coming against 15th Region foes. Floyd Central comes to Johnson County on Tuesday as Paintsville. The matchup with district opponent Martin County on Friday will take place in Inez. The Tigers downed the Cardinals 57-48 in Paintsville back on January 7th.
10. Knox Central (17-5)
Last Week: defeated Jackson County 88-69
This Week: defeated Pineville 75-64, vs. No.1 Clay County, vs. No. 3 South Laurel, at Cordia
Knox Central continues to hang around in the Mountain Top 10 as Tony Patterson’s crew occupies the final spot for the third week in a row. The Panthers sprinted their way past Jackson County in a track meet to improve to 6-0 in the 13th Region. In fact, Knox Central is the only team in the region that is undefeated in region play. The brotherly tandem of senior Kevionte Turner and junior Jevonte Turner both had 20-plus point displays against the Generals. Kevionte recorded a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds while Jevonte had 23 points on 10 of 13 from the field.
The Panthers are 1-for-1 this week as they handled Pineville on Monday night to move to 2-0 within the 51st District. Knox Central’s unbeaten region record will be put to the test, though as the top-ranked Clay County Tigers come to Barbourville on Tuesday while third-seeded South Laurel comes calling on Thursday. The Panthers will also face Cordia on Saturday.
Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 – Girls’ Week 10 Breakdown
The regular season is inching closer to its conclusion as just two weeks remain. Here’s the latest detailed look at the girls’ rankings.
1. South Laurel (18-5)
Last Week: lost to Scott County 94-84
This Week: at No. 10 Hazard
Despite the loss to the Georgetown-based Cardinals, the London-based (Lady) Cardinals remain in the top spot for another week. The ten-point defeat to Scott County was just the second time this season that South Laurel fell at home. Chris Souder’s team had four players hit the double figures mark in scoring including Amerah Steele. The senior scored 30 points and hauled in nine rebounds.
Steele is 24th in the state and fifth in the 13th Region in scoring at 20 PPG. The guard also converting foul shots at an outstanding rate, checking in as the sixth-best free-throw shooter in the state at 86.7%.
The Lady Cardinals have another one-game week this week as they journey eastbound on the Hal Rogers Parkway to Hazard to take on the tenth-ranked Lady Bulldogs on Thursday.
2. Southwestern (19-4)
Last Week: defeated Lincoln County 68-37, defeated Madison Southern 62-57
This Week: at Boyle County, vs. Pulaski County, at Simon Kenton
After a six-game stretch in which the Warriors went 3-3, Junior Molden’s ballclub seems to be back on track once again as Southwestern has taken four in a row. The Warriors have held their opponents to less than 40 points in three of their last four contests.
Regi Cundiff was one of two double-figure scorers in the game against Lincoln as the senior had a team-high 18 points. Junior Alexa Smiddy also pitched in with 13 points against the Lady Patriots. The tandem performed even better in the victory over the Lady Eagles as Smiddy had a game-high 28 points while Cundiff generated a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Southwestern has three games this week, starting with a tilt with in-region foe Boyle County on Tuesday. The Warriors will also see Pulaski County on Friday followed by a two and a half-hour drive to Independence to battle Simon Kenton out of the 8th Region on Saturday.
3. Pikeville (19-5)
Last Week: defeated East Ridge 61-44, defeated Belfry 62-58 (overtime), lost to Russell 62-53
This Week: vs. Letcher Central, vs. Perry Central
For the first time this season, the top three in the girls’ poll does not consist of “Southwestern-North Laurel-South Laurel," in no particular order. The Lady Panthers picked up their sixth win in district play against East Ridge while moving to 14-1 in the region with a close win over Belfry in OT. However, Kristy Orem’s team had their seven-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Russell.
Senior Kirsten Cole-Williamson produced another double-double in the victory against the Lady Warriors with 19 points and 13 boards. Senior Kelsey Jo Tackett had a team-high 17 points against Belfry while pacing the Lady Panthers in scoring again against the Red Devils with 20.
Pikeville concludes a four-game homestand with tilts against Letcher Central on Thursday and Perry Central on Saturday.
4. Shelby Valley (15-8)
Last Week: defeated East Ridge 70-32, defeated Jenkins 84-38
This Week: lost to Letcher Central 53-52, vs. Betsy Layne
The Lady Kats also moved up a spot this week with blowout victories over East Ridge and Jenkins. Shelby Valley has held its opponents to less than 40 points in four of their last six contests.
Senior Alyssa Newsom had a team-high 20 points against East Ridge while sophomore Cassidy Rowe produced her highest point total in a game this season with 21 against Jenkins. Rowe, who has been working her way back from a torn ACL, is starting to knock off the rust and should be a more valuable asset to Shelby Valley as the postseason approaches.
The Lady Kats fell to Letcher Central in a close battle on Monday night. They will look to bounce back against Betsy Layne on Wednesday.
5. North Laurel (21-4)
Last Week: defeated Madison Southern 52-49, lost to No. 10 Hazard 73-71
This Week: at No. 8 Knott Central
The Lady Jaguars rebounded from a loss to Casey County with a victory over Madison Southern but were upset by the newest member of the Mountain Top 10, Hazard. The defeat to the Lady Bulldogs was the first time this season that Eddie Mahan’s team has lost a true road game.
Seventh Grader Halle Collins had 19 points and nine rebounds for North Laurel in the win over the Lady Eagles. Collins also had a team-high 23 points in the battle with Hazard. North Laurel is averaging the third-most points per game in the state with 69.3 PPG. Only South Laurel is averaging more in the 13th Region.
The Lady Jaguars will go toe-to-toe with eighth-ranked Knott Central in a Mountain Top 10 showdown on Thursday.
6. Rockcastle County (19-6)
Last Week: defeated Clay County 60-28, defeated Jackson County 58-46
This Week: defeated Mercer County 62-58, at Madison Central
The Lady Rockets are firing on all cylinders at the moment as Chrysti Noble’s squad currently owns a seven-game win streak. Junior Casey Coleman had a team-high 23 points in the triumph over the Lady Generals while freshman Keelee King was the team’s other double-figure scorer with 18. The win against the Lady Titans moved Rockcastle County to 8-3 in 12th Region play.
The Lady Rockets are also 5-0 in games decided by eight points or less this season. Rockcastle County is second in the region in three-point shooting percentage at 33.3%. Only Southwestern is making their threes at a higher clip among region teams (33.4%).
Rockcastle County will go for their eighth consecutive victory on Thursday as they travel to Richmond to take on Madison Central.
7. Bell County (18-4)
Last Week: defeated Whitley County 73-66, lost to Knox Central 59-46
This Week: vs. Red Bird, vs. Middlesboro, vs. Washburn (TN)
The Lady Bobcats slid down one spot this week as David Teague’s squad was shocked by the Lady Panthers. The loss to Knox Central was Bell County’s first loss within the region this season. The Lady Bobcats have scored 60 points or more in four of their last six games. Senior Abby Harris was the team’s only double-digit scorer with 14 points. Harris has scored in double figures in six straight contests.
The Lady Bobcats meet Red Bird on Tuesday and Middlesboro on Wednesday for back-to-back 13th Region contests before taking on Washburn out of Tennessee or Thursday.
8. Knott Central (15-9)
Last Week: defeated Letcher Central 61-58, defeated Powell County 70-60
This Week: lost to Owsley County 50-46, vs. Cordia, vs. No. 5 North Laurel
The Lady Cougars gave the Lady Patriots all they could handle in their second meeting this season but ultimately, Jeff Honeycutt’s team was able to get enough stops on the defensive end to improve to 2-0 against Letcher Central. Freshman Abby Maggard had a game-high 20 points in that victory. Keara Mullins also made her presence felt against the Lady Cougars, putting up 16 points and nine rebounds. Mullins also had an 18-point outing in the win at Powell County as the guard eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career.
The Lady Patriots did have their three-game win streak come to a halt on Monday night at Owsley County. Knott Central will return home for two games later this week. They will play host to 53rd district foe Cordia on Wednesday while facing fifth-seeded North Laurel on Thursday.
9. Martin County (16-7)
Last Week: defeated Johnson Central 50-46
This Week: defeated Belfry 52-51, vs. Floyd Central
Martin County maintains the ninth spot in the polls for another week as Robin Newsome’s squad has won four straight. Madison Thompson paced the team in scoring in the win over the Lady Eagles with 21 points while also corralling 11 rebounds. Junior Lakyn Porter also had 14 points on five of six from the field including three triples. Thompson (17 points, 12 rebounds) and senior Kristen Isaac (14 points, 11 rebounds) recorded double-doubles in the one-point victory against Belfry on Monday night.
The Lady Cardinals will play their next to last home game against Floyd Central on Saturday.
10. Hazard (16-6)
Last Week: defeated Leslie County 64-56, defeated No. 5 North Laurel 73-71
This Week: defeated Jenkins 71-52, vs. No. 1 South Laurel, at Somerset
The Lady Bulldogs are back in the Mountain Top 10 for the first time since the third week of the high school basketball season. It appears as though that Larry Caudill’s team is hitting their rhythm at a good time as Hazard has won seven in a row including Monday night’s win against Jenkins.
Hayley Caudill led the team in scoring in the victories over Leslie County and North Laurel. The junior had 20 points against the Lady Eagles while tallying 29 points against the Lady Jaguars. The guard leads Hazard in scoring on the season with 16.7 PPG. Senior Desiree Sturgill paced the Lady Bulldogs against Jenkins with 17 points.
Hazard’s week continues on Thursday with a date against the top-ranked Lady Cardinals while making the journey to Somerset to face the Briar Jumpers on Saturday.