Breaking down the Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10: Week 8

Published: Jan. 28, 2020 at 5:49 PM EST
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Boys’ Mountain Top 10 – Week 8 Breakdown

Here is the latest review of the Mountain Top 10 on the Boys’ side of things. (Note: Games in asterisks may be rescheduled or canceled).

1. Hazard (16-3)

Last Week: defeated Louisville Collegiate 42-39, defeated Paintsville 48-39, lost to St. Henry 55-41

This Week: at Breathitt County, vs. Perry Central, vs. Leslie County

The Bulldogs finally lost their first game in the state of Kentucky last week in the All-A Classic. Al Holland’s squad pulled out the victory over Louisville Collegiate with some last-second heroics from Jarrett Napier followed by a victory over fellow Mountain Top 10 representative, Paintsville in which Hazard was in control by and large. The Bulldogs even led at halftime against St. Henry, but the Crusaders switched up their game-plan on defense in the second half as they got Hazard out of rhythm offensively and rallied to take the victory. Point guard Wade Pelphrey led Hazard in scoring during the All-A Classic as the junior averaged 15 PPG.

The Bulldogs now get back into 14th Region action this week as they travel to Breathitt County on Tuesday followed by two consecutive 54th District contests against Perry Central and Leslie County on Friday and Saturday.

2. Clay County (13-6)

Last Week: lost to No. 6 Pulaski County 78-73

This Week: defeated Red Bird 87-63, vs. No. 8 North Laurel, vs. Oneida Baptist Institute, at Henry Clay

The Tigers lost the only game that they played last week against Pulaski County. In spite of that, Glenn Gray’s team did not drop any spots in the Top 10. Clay County ranks among the top 50 in the state and fifth in the 13th Region in scoring at 68.5 PPG. In fact, the Tigers have only lost once this season when having scored 70 points or more in a game. Clay County has four players that average double figures in scoring. Junior Connor Robinson leads the team in that department with 18.4 PPG and has been the leading scorer in two of the last three games.

The 1987 state champions have started this week off with a dominant victory over Red Bird. However, Tuesday’s matchup with number eight North Laurel should be an interesting one. The Tigers defeated the Jaguars a couple weeks ago in London in a thriller, 75-73. Clay County will take on OBI on Thursday and are scheduled to meet Henry Clay on Saturday in Lexington.

3. Somerset (17-3)

Last Week: defeated Gallatin County 46-37, lost to St. Henry 51-50

This Week: at No. 6 Pulaski County, vs. Anderson County

Somerset made it past the first round of last week’s All-A Classic against Gallatin County but fell to eventual champion, St. Henry in the quarterfinals by a point. The loss to the Crusaders was the first one of the calendar year for the Briar Jumpers. With the exception of their victory over Danville, Jeron Dunbar’s team has been great defensively as they have allowed 52 points or less in seven of their last eight games. Somerset is allowing 51.2 PPG, good enough for second-best in the 12th Region behind Lincoln County.

The Briar Jumpers will go up against in-county opponent and No. 6 Pulaski County on Tuesday in Mountain Top 10 showdown followed by a home tilt versus Anderson County on Friday. The Bearcats lead the state in points allowed 43.9 PPG.

4. South Laurel (16-4)

Last Week: defeated Harlan 74-60, defeated Whitley County 51-38, defeated Bell County 57-52

This Week: at Corbin, vs. Williamsburg

Jeff Davis’ unit is now a roll after knocking off Bell County on Log Mountain in the Pride of the Mountains Basketball Showcase that was part of the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week Presented by ARH. It was not exactly a thing of beauty as the Cardinals trailed for most of the game, but the 2005 state champions found a way to grind one out against the Bobcats. South Laurel also had good performances against Harlan and Whitley County that has allowed them to win five in a row and 10 of their last 11. Brett Norvell has been solid as the senior has scored double digits in seven straight games.

The Cardinals will now go head-to-head with two district foes this week. Tuesday’s battle with Corbin will be their second against the Redhounds as the number four team in the Mountain Top 10 got the upper-hand in game one, 74-61. South Laurel will also play host to Williamsburg on Friday. That is another rematch that was won by the Cardinals the first time around, 77-49.

5. Shelby Valley (15-5)

Last Week: defeated Pikeville 67-42

This Week: at Belfry, vs. East Ridge

The Wildcats fell just short of playing in the All-A Tournament but rebounded with a commanding victory over Pikeville in the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week Presented by ARH. Cody Potter had a nice outing as the senior scored 17 points to go along with 9 rebounds against the Panthers. However, Kaden Robinson paced Shelby Valley in scoring in that contest. The junior knocked down four threes and scored a game-high 27 points. The win over Pikeville also allowed Shelby Valley to become the first team in the 15th Region to get ten region victories.

The Wildcats will visit Belfry in another 15th Region meeting on Friday followed by a date with fellow 59th District member East Ridge on Saturday.

6. Pulaski County (17-3)

Last Week: defeated No. 2 Clay County 78-73, defeated Casey County 82-51, defeated Russell County 79-43

This Week: vs. No. 3 Somerset, vs. Rockcastle County, vs. East Jessamine (North/South Shootout Classic)

The Maroons are another team that seems to be unstoppable right now as John Fraley’s ball club has won seven straight. The Maroons also remain unbeaten inside the 12th Region (8-0). Pulaski County continues to put the ball through the hoop at an outstanding rate as the Maroons have put up 69 points or more in six of their last seven outings. Senior Colton Fraley continues to put up some good numbers in the scoring column (14.1 PPG) but what has really made Pulaski County dangerous is the different options they have offensively. Sophomore Zach Travis (13.3 PPG), junior KJ Combs (13.2 PPG), sophomore Caleb Sloan (10.3 PPG) and senior Grant Oaks (10.2 PPG) all average double figures in scoring.

The Briar Jumpers face No. 3 Somerset in a Mountain Top 10 tussle on Tuesday followed by another home contest against Rockcastle County on Friday and a neutral site game against East Jessamine in the North/South Shootout Classic on Saturday. The matchup between the Maroons and Jaguars will take place at West Jessamine High School.

7. Paintsville (10-9)

Last Week: defeated Harlan 67-60, lost to No. 1 Hazard 48-39

This Week: vs. Magoffin County, at Johnson Central

The Tigers had their seven-game win streak come to an end last Friday against Hazard but continue their ascension in the Mountain Top 10. Head Coach Landon Slone scheduled a tough slate in the beginning, but his team is now starting to reap the benefits of that as Paintsville has shown that it has become battle-tested. Senior Colby Fugate has been the primary option for the Tigers (21.9 PPG) but senior Nick Keaton (12.9 PPG, 11.2 RPG) and junior Braxton Tharp (10.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG) have been key contributors as well.

Paintsville returns home on Wednesday to face Magoffin County. The Tigers will also meet in-district adversary Johnson Central on Saturday as well. Paintsville has won their first game against both of these teams by a combined three points.

8. North Laurel (14-6)

Last Week: lost to Middlesboro 73-68, defeated Oneida Baptist Institute 77-64

This Week: at No. 2 Clay County, at Jackson County

It has been somewhat of a tough stretch lately for the Jaguars as Nate Valentine’s program has dropped two of their last three. North Laurel did bounce back against district opponent OBI on Saturday with a double-digit victory. The Jaguars continue to score the basketball at a high rate as they rank third in the 13th Region and 17th overall in the state in scoring at 70.9 PPG. Freshman Reed Sheppard continues his hot run, as last week's WYMT Player of the Week is averaging 25 PPG including back-to-back 30-point performances against the Commodores and the Yellow Jackets.

The Jaguars will make two road trips against district foes this week. On Tuesday, North Laurel will head to Manchester to battle the second-ranked Tigers. The Jaguars will also make the trek to McKee on Friday to face Jackson County. North Laurel dismantled the Generals the first time in an 82-34 rout but fell to Clay County in a nail-biter, 75-73.

9. Knott Central (16-4)

Last Week: defeated Floyd Central 59-54, defeated Letcher Central 65-56, defeated Belfry 68-54

This Week: vs. Powell County, vs. Perry Central

Even though the Patriots are just ninth in the Mountain Top 10, Bb King’s team continues to go about their business quietly. Knott Central has won four straight and 10 of their last 11. Junior Colby Napier leads the team in scoring (19.1 PPG) and had 20 in their last contest against Belfry. However, junior Josh McGuire was doing Yeoman’s work in the paint as the big man had 16 points to go along with 11 rebounds against the Pirates. Senior Jason Williams also corralled his fair share of boards as well with 10 rebounds.

Two home games are on the docket for Knott Central this week, both coming against 14th Region squads. Powell County will make the drive to Hindman on Thursday while Perry Central will come to town on Saturday.

10. Knox Central (15-4)

Last Week: defeated Lynn Camp 65-58

This Week: vs. Wayne County, vs. Barbourville

Knox Central rounds out the Boys’ Mountain Top 10 for the second consecutive week. Tony Patterson has done a great job in keeping the Panthers competitive and relevant after the losses of Dane Imel, Nick Martin and Jaylen Adams. A big reason for that has been the play of junior Jevonte Turner. Turner sits 15th in the state and third in the 13th Region in scoring at 23.7 PPG. Only South Laurel’s Matthew Cromer and Harlan’s Jordan Akal are averaging more among region players. In their last game against Lynn Camp, Turner put up a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The Panthers will welcome in Wayne County on Tuesday while linking up with 51th district rival Barbourville on Friday.

Girls’ Mountain Top 10 – Week 8 Breakdown

Here is the latest review of the Girls’ Mountain Top 10. (Note: Games in asterisks may be rescheduled or canceled).

1. Southwestern (15-4)

Last Week: lost to No. 3 South Laurel 52-48

This Week: vs. McCreary Central, at West Jessamine (North/South Shootout Classic)

After having lost just once in their first 13 games, the Warriors have now dropped three of their last six. Southwestern has failed to eclipse 50 points in two of their last three losses. Their defense continues to be stellar as they lead the 12th Region in points allowed among teams that have played at least 15 games (45.1 PPG). The Warriors are ranked 16th in the state and third in the 12th Region in free throw percentage at 70%. Only Rockcastle County and Casey County are making their free throws at a higher rate in the region. Junior Alexa Smiddy has led the team in scoring in two of the last three games and has reached double digits in six of the last seven.

The Warriors will play host to McCreary Central followed by a matchup with West Jessamine in the North/South Shootout Classic on Saturday at West Jessamine High School.

2. North Laurel (18-2)

Last Week: defeated Madison Southern 69-60, defeated Whitley County 93-52, defeated Oneida Baptist Institute 74-32

This Week: at Clay County, at Jackson County, vs. Casey County

The Lady Jaguars continue to overwhelm the opposition. Even though the contest against the Lady Eagles was within single digits, North Laurel hammered Whitley County and OBI with back-to-back 40-point victories. Hailee Valentine had made into double figures in scoring in six straight games but that streak ended against OBI. The sophomore continues to lead the team in scoring 13.4 PPG. Valentine also sits in a tie for eighth in the state in free throw percentage at 85.5%.

Eddie Mahan’s squad has a date with Clay County on Tuesday along with games against Jackson County on Friday and Casey County on Saturday.

3. South Laurel (16-4)

Last Week: defeated No. 1 Southwestern 52-48, defeated Madison Southern 65-57

This Week: defeated Wayne County 74-67, vs. Corbin, vs. Williamsburg

Any thoughts of South Laurel taking a swoon with senior Ally Collett being sidelined seems to have dissipated. The Lady Cardinals have won six in a row including a victory at top-ranked Southwestern last week. South Laurel has now scored 70 points or more in four of their last six games. Amerah Steele had a fantastic performance against the Warriors as the senior poured in a game-high 22 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds. The guard remains second in scoring at 18.1 PPG and is leading the team in rebounding at 8.3 RPG.

Chris Souder’s team opened up the week with a victory over Wayne County. They will now duel with fellow 50th District opponents Corbin and Williamsburg on Tuesday and Friday.

4. Shelby Valley (13-6)

Last Week: defeated Holy Cross-Louisville 64-30, lost to Walton-Verona 37-31

This Week: vs. No. 5 Pikeville

The Lady Kats continue to hold the fourth spot in the Mountain Top 10 as Lonnie Rowe’s team manhandled Holy Cross out of Louisville in the first round of the All-A Classic. However, Shelby Valley could not climb out of the hole against Walton-Verona in the quarterfinals. Senior Alyssa Elswick led way against the Cougars, producing 23 points on 11 of 16 from the field to go along with nine rebounds. Senior Alyssa Newsom had 15 points including 3 of 6 from beyond the arc against the Bearcats. The game against Walton-Verona was the first time since December 13th that Shelby Valley failed to score at least 40 points.

The Lady Kats look to get back into the win column Thursday against number five Pikeville in a Mountain Top 10 battle. This will be the third time already that these two have met as Pikeville won the first meeting 54-53 but Shelby Valley got the better of the Lady Panthers in the first rematch. That was a 58-48 victory for the Lady Kats in the 15th Region All-A semifinals.

5. Pikeville (16-4)

Last Week: defeated Ashland Blazer 43-40

This Week: defeated Lawrence County 63-54, at No. 4 Pikeville

The Lady Panthers have put together a great stretch of late as Kristy Orem’s team has won four in a row. Pikeville has also been victorious in 11 of their last 12 games. Kristen Cole-Williamson recorded a double-double against Ashland Blazer with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The senior backed up that performance with another strong one against Lawrence County with 19 points and 9 rebounds. After the victory on Monday, Pikeville moved to 11-1 within the 15th Region. Defensively, the Lady Panthers have been tremendous as they have allowed more than 50 points only twice in the last nine games.

Pikeville will meet Shelby Valley for the third time this season on Thursday in a Mountain Top 10 showcase (see Shelby Valley for results in the first two games).

6. Bell County (15-3)

Last Week: defeated Harlan County 84-73, defeated Corbin 55-49

This Week: at Barbourville, vs. Harlan

David Teague’s ball club had lost back-to-back games to Leslie County and Christian Academy-Louisville but returned to form with victories over 13th Region counterparts Harlan County and Corbin. Bell County produced their biggest point output in a game this season against the Lady Black Bears. Abby Harris was fabulous in that game as the senior scored a season-high 34 points to go along with six rebounds. Harris also led the team with 17 points against Corbin (freshman Talyah McQueen had 17 points as well against the Lady Redhounds).

The Lady Bobcats will duke it out with two more 13th Region opponents this week. The first game will be on Tuesday at Barbourville while Friday’s contest will be at home against Harlan. The first meeting between these two saw the Lady Bobcats cruise to a 62-31 victory over the Lady Dragons back on December 17th.

7. Knott Central (12-8)

Last Week: lost Murray to Murray 49-39

This Week: vs. Leslie County, vs. Perry Central, vs. Cordia, vs. No. 10 Letcher Central

The Lady Patriots fell in their only contest last week. That was a first-round matchup against the Murray Lady Tigers in the All-A Classic. Knott Central has lost two of their last three after having won five in a row previously. Keara Mullins was the team’s only double-figure scorer as the junior tallied 21 points while corralling a team-high eight rebounds. The Lady Patriots rank 23rd in the state and fourth in the 14th Region in scoring at 60.9 PPG.

The Lady Patriots have four straight home games this week, starting with Leslie County on Tuesday. Jeff Honeycutt’s crew won their first game against the Lady Eagles to take the 14th Region All-A Tournament title, 66-46. Knott Central will also see Perry Central on Thursday, Cordia on Friday and tenth-ranked Letcher Central on Saturday. The Lady Patriots handled Cordia with ease in the first matchup, 57-19 back in mid-December. Knott Central also defeated Letcher Central in an overtime dandy, 70-60 back on January 17th.

8. Rockcastle County (15-6)

Last Week: defeated Wayne County 66-61, defeated McCreary Central 56-37

This Week: at Pulaski County

Rockcastle County has been up and down in their last nine games as the Lady Rockets had won three straight then lost three in a row. Now, Chrysti Noble’s squad is on another three-game win streak. Rockcastle County put away the Lady Cardinals with balanced scoring. Freshmen Keelee King and Hallie Brown both led the team in scoring with 14 points but senior McKenzi Himes (13 points) and freshman Casey Coleman (11 points) got into double figures as well. Coleman also paced the Lady Rockets against the Raiders with 19 points. Himes also recorded a double-double against McCreary Central with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Rockcastle County heads to Pulaski County to take on the Lady Maroons on Friday. The Lady Rockets lost their first game against Pulaski County back on January 10th, 56-47.

9. Martin County (12-7)

Last Week: lost to Floyd Central 54-32, defeated Johnson Central 47-34, lost to No. 10 Letcher Central 63-43

This Week: vs. Pike Central, at Magoffin County

After starting the season 5-0, The Lady Cardinals have gone .500 in their last 14 games. Martin County had won three straight games but have now dropped two of their last three. Robin Newsome’s team has been outstanding defensively but have struggled to put points on the board. The Lady Cardinals are averaging 47 PPG and have only surpassed the 50-point mark once in the last five games.

Martin County will be on their home court against Pike Central Tuesday while traveling to Salyersville to battle Magoffin County on Friday. The Lady Cardinals defeated the Lady Hawks to open the season, 53-48. They are also 1-0 this season against the Lady Hornets. That was a 50-26 victory back on December 10th.

10. Letcher Central (16-7)

Last Week: defeated Central (Norton, VA) 63-56, lost to Perry Central 72-64, defeated June Buchanan 72-15, defeated No. 9 Martin County 63-43

This Week: at Hazard, at No. 7 Knott Central

Keith Baker’s Lady Cougars have won four of their last five and eight of their last ten. Letcher Central handled June Buchanan with ease as three players reached double figures in scoring. However, Kaylee Banks decided to bring her ‘A’ game for Martin County as the guard generated 21 points and had nine rebounds against the Lady Cardinals. Brooke Bates did her part as well, scoring 17 points including five threes. The Lady Cougars lead the 14th Region and are eighth in scoring 67.3 PPG.

Letcher Central will hit the road for both of their matchups this week. The first game will be at Hazard on Thursday. The second game will be on Saturday at number seven Knott Central for a Mountain Top 10 contest (see Knott Central for results of the first game).