Breaking down the final Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10

Published: Feb. 25, 2020 at 5:17 PM EST
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The postseason is here! Here’s the latest breakdown of the final Girls’ Mountain Top 10 as District Tournament action gets going. (Note: These rankings will not change for the remainder of the season).
1. South Laurel (22-6)

Last Week: defeated Clay County 71-32, defeated No. 7 Rockcastle County 83-44, lost to Butler 52-39

This Week: 50th District Tournament (at Whitley County)

Even though the Lady Cardinals finished up the regular season with a loss at Butler on Saturday, Chris Souder’s team remains at the top of the field in the final installment of the Mountain Top 10. South Laurel continues to play at a high level as they have won 11 of their last 13 and are one of only two 13th Region teams that have not lost in region play (7-0).

Three players made it into double figures against Clay County including senior Ally Collett, who led the Lady Cardinals with 19. The guard also broke into the 2,500-point club against the Lady Tigers. Amerah Steele paced the team in scoring against Rockcastle County as the EKU commit showed out on Senior Night, scoring 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore Rachel Presley recorded a team-high 15 points at Butler.

The Lady Cardinals begin their postseason journey on Monday as they cruised past Williamsburg by a final score of 95-71 in the 50th District Tournament. South Laurel will meet Whitley County in the championship game on Thursday.

2. Southwestern (23-5)

Last Week: defeated Washington County 70-21, defeated Mercer County 67-64

This Week: 48th District Tournament (at Southwestern)

The Warriors continue to follow in South Laurel’s tracks as they went 2-0 last week. Junior Molden’s squad obliterated Washington County to start the week but finished the week holding off a tough Mercer County squad. Southwestern seems primed to make a deep postseason run once again, hoping to make one similar to last year as they fell to Ryle in the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Finals.

Regi Cundiff led a Southwestern team that had 14 players in the scoring column against Washington County as the senior had 12 points. Senior Kennedy Harris paced the Warriors with 17 points against the Titans.

Southwestern looks to defend their home court in the 48th District Tournament as they will face Wayne County on Thursday in the championship game.

3. North Laurel (24-4)

Last Week: defeated Knox Central 85-48, defeated Scott County 88-68

This Week: 49th District Tournament (at Jackson County)

The Lady Jaguars are the other team that has not suffered a loss inside the 13th Region (10-0). North Laurel enters the last week of February with a three-game win streak and has won nine of their last 11.

Eddie Mahan’s team won big against the Lady Panthers and crushed a Scott County team that won at South Laurel. The Lady Jaguars finished off the Lady Cardinals with a 29-9 extended run and went 36 of 43 from the free-throw line (83.7%). In the victory against Knox Central, sophomore Haille Valentine and seventh-grader Halle co-led the team in scoring with 22 points. Collins also gathered 11 boards for a double-double. Collins also had 23 points and eight rebounds against Scott County.

The Lady Jaguars have a bye for the first round of the 49th District Tournament, meaning they will take on the winner of Red Bird and Oneida Baptist Institute on Wednesday. If North Laurel wins that contest, they will see either Clay County or Jackson County on Friday in the championship round.

4. Pikeville (23-6)

Last Week: lost to Belfry 62-42, defeated Hazard 59-45

This Week: 59th District Tournament (at Jenkins)

The Lady Panthers are the highest-ranked team in the 15th Region as Kristy Orem’s crew have won 10 of their last 12. Pikeville owns the best record against 15th Region teams with a 14-2 record.

In the loss against Belfry, two players reached double figures. Senior Kirsten Cole-Williamson led the team with 12 points and eight rebounds while fellow senior Kelsey Jo Tackett tallied 10 points. The two were instrumental in dispatching Hazard as well as Cole-Williamson had game-highs in scoring (24 points) and rebounding (10 rebounds). Tackett also pitched in with 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Panthers defeated Jenkins on Monday night, 84-66 to move on the 59th District Tournament Championship Game. Pikeville will do battle against either Shelby Valley or East Ridge on Friday.

5. Shelby Valley (18-8)

Last Week: defeated Knott Central 62-37, defeated Menifee County 72-55

This Week: 59th District Tournament (at Jenkins)

The Lady Kats slot in right behind Pikeville as Lonnie Rowe’s ball club finished the regular season on a three-game win streak and taking five of their final six. Shelby Valley finished with the second-best record against 15th Region teams at 12-3.

Sophomore Alyssa Elswick had a great game against Knott Central as the forward nearly generated a double-double with 24 points and nine rebounds. Elswick was able to get a double-double against Menifee County as she came up with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Elswick also reached the mark of 500 rebounds in her career against the Lady Cats. Senior Tori Hampton also scored nine points in that game and eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in the process.

Shelby Valley will also travel to Jenkins for a showdown with East Ridge on Tuesday. If the Lady Kats win that tilt, they will go toe-to-toe with Pikeville on Friday for the 59th District Title.

6. Bell County (23-4)

Last Week: defeated Whitley County 67-53

This Week: 52nd District Tournament (at Harlan County)

The Lady Bobcats finished the regular season (22-4) with their best record since the 2014-15 season. That team, which included Miss Kentucky Basketball recipient and former Kentucky Wildcat Maci Morris on it, finished the regular season with a 24-2 record.

As for the current version of Bell County, David Teague’s team brings a streak of four victories in a row to the 52nd District Tournament. Four players reached double figures in the outing against Whitley County including Abby Harris. The senior had a team-high 22 points and also snagged nine rebounds. Harris continues to lead the team in scoring at 15.8 PPG.

Bell County made the trek to Harlan County for a tussle with in-county rival Middlesboro on Monday and defeated the Lady Jackets, 61-36. The Lady Bobcats will now square off against Harlan County on Thursday for the 52nd District title.

7. Rockcastle County (22-7)

Last Week: defeated Great Crossing 78-68, defeated Garrard County 70-41, lost to No. 1 South Laurel 83-44

This Week: 47th District Tournament (at Rockcastle County)

Rockcastle County had a great start to the week with wins against Great Crossing and Garrard County but the Lady Rockets came back down to Earth as they had their 10-game win streak snapped at the hands of South Laurel.

The Lady Rockets did finish with the third-highest Ratings Percentage Index in the 12th Region behind Casey County and Southwestern. Freshman Keelee King had a team-high 23 points in the victory against Great Crossing. The 83 points that Rockcastle County surrendered to South Laurel was the most points given up by Chrysti Noble’s squad in a game this season.

The Lady Rockets look to win their first district title since the 2010-11 season as they host the 47th District Tournament. Rockcastle County barely escaped with a victory against the Lady Maroons on Monday night, 41-39. The Lady Rockets will meet Casey County on Wednesday in the district final.

8. Wolfe County (24-5)

Last Week: defeated Estill County 65-44, defeated Powell County 64-24

This Week: 55th District Tournament (at Breathitt County)

Wolfe County checks in as this week’s highest-seeded 14th Region team as they continue to rack up victories. Gary Brown’s team carries a 12-game winning streak into the postseason. It’s the biggest win streak that the Lady Wolves have had since the 2005-06 season when that team won nine in a row.

It was another phenomenal game from Hailey Smith as the senior had another 30-point game for Wolfe County. Smith scored 36 points on 14 of 18 shooting and hauled in 10 rebounds for a double-double against Estill County. The outing against Powell County was not quite as spectacular for Smith but it was still pretty solid as she produced a double-double again with 22 points and 10 boards. Madison Neely also made it into double figures against the Lady Pirates as the senior tallied 18 points on 6 of 10 from the field. Neely also corralled eight rebounds.

The Lady Wolves kept their winning streak alive and extended it to 13 games with a big victory over Breathitt County on Monday night. Wolfe County will either see Jackson City or Riverside Christian on Thursday in the championship contest.

9. Hazard (17-10)

Last Week: lost to Letcher Central 54-41, lost to No. 4 Pikeville 59-45

This Week: 54th District Tournament (at Leslie County)

It has been a tough stretch as of late for the Lady Bulldogs as they carry a four-game losing streak into the postseason. Hazard had won seven in a row before the loss to South Laurel. Two players got into double figures in the loss to Letcher Central as junior Hayley Caudill scored 10 points while senior Hailee Mullins also recorded 10 points while snagging five rebounds. Desiree Sturgill paced the team in points against Pikeville as the senior tallied 14 points while Mullins reached double figures again with 10.

The Lady Bulldogs are gunning for their third straight 54th District Tournament title as Larry Caudill’s team faced Buckhorn at Leslie County on Monday. The Lady Bulldogs did snap their four-game losing skid by beating the Lady Wildcats in that contest, 41-25. Hazard will now meet Leslie County on Thursday for the 54th District Championship.

10. Floyd Central (19-7)

Last Week: defeated Paintsville 55-37, defeated East Ridge 82-49

This Week: 58th District Tournament (at Prestonsburg)

There is one new entry into the final Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 on the Girls’ side and it is the Floyd Central Lady Jaguars. Justin Triplett’s team is starting to pop up on the radar as the Lady Jaguars have won seven in a row and 12 of their last 14.

During their seven-game win streak, Floyd Central’s defense has been fantastic as they have allowed more than 50 points just twice. Three players got into double figures for the Lady Jaguars in the victory against Paintsville including Katie Moore. The junior, who joined the 2,000-point club in the contest against Martin County, produced a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against the Lady Tigers. The Lady Jaguars also scored their second-most points in a game this season against East Ridge.

Floyd Central got past the first obstacle in Betsy Layne on Monday in the 58th District Tournament, 58-26. The Lady Jaguars look to take home some hardware on Thursday as the Lawrence County Lady Bulldogs stand in their way.

Here’s the breakdown of the final Boys’ Mountain Top 10 as district action starts on Monday. (Note: These rankings will not change for the remainder of the season).
1. South Laurel (25-4)

Last Week: defeated Madison Central 66-50, defeated Rockcastle County 72-56

This Week: 50th District Tournament (at Whitley County)

South Laurel comes into the postseason as the hottest team in the rankings as Jeff Davis’ team continues to surge. The Cardinals are winners of 14 in a row and 19 of their last 20. In those last 14 games, only four of them have been decided by 10 points or less.

Matthew Cromer continues to put the ball in the basket at an alarming rate as the senior racked up another 30-point game against Madison Central with 33 points. Cromer also corralled 13 rebounds for a double-double while senior Brett Norvell generated 20 points against the Indians. Cromer had another double-double performance against the Rockets with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Norvell enjoyed another solid game with 17 points.

South Laurel’s postseason adventure begins on Tuesday in the 50th District Tournament with a tilt against hosting Whitley County. A win would vault the Cardinals into Friday’s championship match against either Corbin or Williamsburg.

2. North Laurel (21-8)

Last Week: defeated Harlan 83-67, defeated No. 9 Knox Central 84-78

This Week: 49th District Tournament (at Jackson County)

The Jaguars check into the second spot in the final Mountain Top 10 rankings as Nate Valentine’s team has won five in a row. Things have been clicking for North Laurel on the offensive end as they have scored 80 points or more in four of their last five victories.

Four players entered double figures in scoring against Harlan including leading scorer Isaiah Alexander. The senior had 23 points, connecting on nine field goals out of 13 attempts. Freshman Ryan Davidson (17 points), senior Cole Kelley (16 points) and freshman Reed Sheppard (15 points) also scored double-digits against the Green Dragons. Sheppard paced the team in scoring against the Panthers, tallying 24 points while sophomore Clay Sizemore scored 21 points including 6 of 11 from three-point range.

North Laurel’s first contest in the 49th District Tournament will be on Tuesday against Jackson County. The Jaguars will meet the Red Bird/Clay County winner in Friday’s championship game if they get past the Generals.

3. Somerset (23-5)

Last Week: defeated Garrard County 62-52, defeated Danville 82-59

This Week: 47th District Tournament (at Rockcastle County)

The Briar Jumpers are the highest-ranked 12th Region team in the final rendition of the Mountain Top 10. It was a great week for Jeron Dunbar’s team as they went 2-0 and team manager Macon Wilson got to start on Senior Night against Danville. Wilson even scored in that contest against the Admirals.

In the victory against Garrard County, junior Kade Grundy led the way with 25 points while junior Dakota Acey (12 points, nine rebounds) and senior Jase Bruner (12 points, eight rebounds) just missed out on double-doubles. Grundy was the team leader in scoring again against Danville, tallying 20 points. Junior Kaiya Sheron recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds against the Admirals.

Somerset looks to take home their first district championship since the 2001-02 season. That year, the Briar Jumpers took down Pulaski County to win the 48th District Title. As for this season, Somerset takes on Casey County in the first game of the 47 District Tournament on Tuesday. A victory would advance the Briar Jumpers to Thursday’s district final against the Rockcastle County/Pulaski County winner.

4. PulaskI County (23-5)

Last Week: defeated Boyle County 71-39

This Week: 47th District Tournament (at Rockcastle County)

The Maroons continue to play at a high level as John Fraley’s team heads into the postseason with a four-game win streak. After coming off of a victory against Danville in which Pulaski County scored their most points in a game this season with 92, the Maroons held the Rebels to a season-low 39 points. Five players got into double figures against Boyle County including leading scorer Zach Travis. The sophomore scored a game-high 26 points on 11 of 15 from the field to go along with six rebounds. Junior KJ Combs scored 18 points while sophomore Caleb Sloan tallied 15 points. Freshman Barek Williams pitched in with 13 points while senior Colton Fraley had 10.

Pulaski County’s first game in the 47th District Tournament will be against Rockcastle County on Tuesday. If the Maroons defeat the Rockets, they will either take on Somerset or Casey County in the championship round on Thursday.

5. Clay County (20-9)

Last Week: defeated Perry Central 83-61, lost to Boyle County 65-48

This Week: 49th District Tournament (at Jackson County)

Glenn Gray’s team started off last week with a romp of Perry Central, extending their win streak to four games. However, the Tigers fell to Boyle County in the regular season finale. The 48 points were the lowest output in a game by Clay County since their loss to South Laurel back on January 4th in the Raymond Reed Classic. Still, the Tigers boast one of the better records in region play in the 13th Region (13-2) and have reason to believe that they can make a long run in the

postseason once everyone is healthy. Four players scored double figures for the Tigers against Perry Central including seniors Jacob Curry and Evan Langdon. The guard scored 26 points and hauled in six rebounds while the big man recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds as the tandem played their final game inside Bobby Keith Gymnasium. The same duo led the team in scoring against Boyle County as they scored 15 points each.

The Tigers look to win their first district championship since the 2016-17 season as they will face Red Bird on Wednesday night. A win against the Cardinals would put Clay County in the championship game on Friday against either North Laurel or Jackson County.

6. Shelby Valley (24-5)

Last Week: defeated Huntington Regional Prep 77-52, defeated Magoffin County 73-62, defeated Johnson Central 88-87 (overtime)

This Week: 59th District Tournament (at Jenkins)

This is the time of the year where a team wants to be playing at their best and the Wildcats seem to be doing just that as Jim Hicks’ crew has won four in a row and nine of their last 10. Shelby Valley has scored 65 points or more in nine of their last nine contests and 70 points in their last four matchups.

As he has for most of this season, Cody Potter led the team in scoring with 37 points against Huntington Regional Prep. The senior also had game-highs in points (22 points) and rebounds (13 rebounds) against Magoffin County but the supporting cast pulled a little more weight against the Hornets as junior Kaden Robinson had a strong outing with 20 points and five rebounds. Keian Worrix shot the basketball at an efficient clip as the junior had 16 points on six of eight from the field. The Wildcats got their revenge against the Golden Eagles as Worrix was the go-to-man in that contest. The junior was tremendous in that game as he had a season-high 27 points and knocked down 13 free throws out of the 14 that he attempted. Junior Kaden Robinson poured in 20 and Potter recorded another double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

The Wildcats were the only team in the top 10 that began their postseason run on Monday as they scored more than 80 points for the second straight game, beating Jenkins by a final score of 86-33. Shelby Valley looks to bring home the 59th District Championship for the first time since 2014-15 as they will meet the winner of East Ridge and Pikeville on Thursday.

7. Hazard (24-5)

Last Week: defeated Letcher Central 63-39, defeated Estill County 41-40

This Week: 54th District Tournament (at Leslie County)

In the final version of the Mountain Top 10, the Bulldogs fall to the lowest spot that they have been in all season long. In spite of that, Al Holland’s team continues to find ways to come out on top as they have won seven of their last eight games. Hazard has shown that it can win in high-scoring track meets or in low-scoring rock fights.

The Bulldogs struggled in the first half against Letcher Central but ended up pulling away in the second half to drub the Cougars. Three players led the way in scoring against Letcher. Junior Wade Pelphrey, senior Jacob Johnson and senior Reece Fletcher all had 11 points while Fletcher picked up 10 rebounds for a double-double. The Bulldogs nearly collapsed against Estill County but found a way to pull out the victory as Pelphrey hit the game-winning free throw with no time left on the game clock to secure the team’s 24th victory of the season. Hazard finished with a region-best 14-1 record in the 14th Region.

The Bulldogs begin their postseason journey on Tuesday against the Leslie County Eagles in the 54th District Tournament. A win would secure a berth to Friday’s championship game against the winner of the Buckhorn/Perry Central contest.

8. Martin County (17-12)

Last Week: defeated Betsy Layne 68-51, defeated Prestonsburg 82-49, defeated Pikeville 50-49

This Week: 57th District Tournament (at Martin County)

The Cardinals have now positioned themselves as a team to keep an eye on in the 15th Region as Jason James’ team is playing winning basketball at a critical time. Martin County comes into the postseason winners of eight in a row and 10 of their last 11. In the previous eight victories, five of those have been decided by 10 points or less. This is something that the Cardinals can look to as a plus in their favor as the possessions in postseason basketball tend to bog down and the games are apt to be played at a slower pace.

Trey James generated a double-double against the Bobcats as the junior scored 29 points and snagged 13 rebounds. Both senior Ethan Smith-Mills and sophomore Brady Dingess scored 13 points against Betsy Layne. James paced the Cardinals again in the victory over the Black Cats as the Wake Forest commit tallied another double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Dingess pitched in with 18 points. James was not quite as productive in the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week Presented by ARH as he only scored 13 points and hauled in seven rebounds against Pikeville. However, the big man broke the KHSAA record for most blocks in a career against the Panthers, eclipsing the previous mark set by Madison Central's Isaiah Cozart. Dingess was the team’s leading scorer against Pikeville with 15.

The 57th District Tournament begins on Tuesday for the hosting Cardinals as they will go head-to-head with Magoffin County in the first game. If Martin County gets the better of the Hornets, the Cardinals will meet either Johnson Central or Paintsville in the district final on Friday.

9. Knox Central (20-8)

Last Week: defeated Knott Central 76-67, defeated Barbourville 74-61, lost to North Laurel 84-78

This Week: 51th District Tournament (at Lynn Camp)

The Panthers have followed up last year’s 13th Region Championship with another solid regular season, finishing 7-3 in region play and going undefeated in 51st District action (3-0). After having lost back-to-back contests to Clay County and South Laurel, Knox Central has come down the home stretch on a mostly positive note, winning three of their last four. Four players reached double figures against the Patriots including sophomore Isaac Mills and senior Kevionte Turner.

Mills had a team-high 22 points on an outstanding 11 of 12 from the field and tallied six rebounds while Turner mustered up a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. It was Zach Patterson’s turn to take center stage as the senior put up 32 points and five rebounds against the Tigers. Junior Jevonte Turner was the other double digit scorer with 24 points against Barbourville. Patterson led the way again at North Laurel with 24 points while Mills had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Panthers return to action against Pineville on Tuesday in the 51st District Tournament. A win would secure a bid to the championship round against either Barbourville or Lynn Camp on Friday.

10. Middlesboro (20-9)

Last Week: defeated Jackson County 60-51, defeated Lynn Camp 64-50

This Week: 52nd District Tournament (at Harlan County)

There’s a new team in the final installment of the Mountain Top 10 as Middlesboro makes their season debut. The Yellow Jackets are the fifth 13th Region team in this week’s poll. Lewis Morris’ unit has won four straight matchups and 11 of their last 13. Four of the last six games for the Yellow Jackets have been decided by four points or less. They are 3-1 in those games.

Senior Jabari Kyle leads the team in scoring with just less than 16 points per game (15.9) while senior Trey Brock is not far behind at 15 PPG. In the game against Jackson County, Brock led the way with 20 points and also corralled six rebounds while Kyle produced 18 points. Senior TJ Patterson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against the Generals. Kyle paced the Yellow Jackets against the Wildcats with 22 points while Patterson turned in another solid outing with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Middlesboro’s first opponent in the 52nd District Tournament will be Harlan on Tuesday. If the Yellow Jackets come out on top, they will see either Harlan County or Bell County in the district finals on Friday.