Paintsville sets their eyes on the 15th Region title

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Tigers were 20-10 last year and were in the conversation for the best team in the 15th region. However, Paintsville lost a heartbreaker to Pikeville by three points in the semifinal. But, the Tigers return everyone from last year's team.

"We're bringing everybody back. We didn't have any seniors last year, which is very exciting, to have a young team," says Junior Guard Nick Keeton. "Everybody's just stepping up, everybody's getting better every year."

The Tigers want revenge and a spot in the sweet sixteen, a spot they felt that they deserved last season.

"I think this year we're looking for revenge, hopefully. We're gonna come back, everybody's coming back, no seniors last year," says Jaxon Watts, a sophomore guard. "Hopefully we're even better this year. I think we could very well make it to Rupp arena and make a run."

The Tigers have a young team, but Head Coach Landon Slone is excited about the older guys coming back.

"The experience we're bringing back, I'm very, very excited about it, but at the same time, I think we'll have a very good mixture with our young talent," Slone says. "We've got some very talented freshmen coming in too."

Slone is in his 3rd year at the helm, and the players love the way he pushes them.

"Ever since my freshman year, Coach Slone's been here, and he's really helped everybody," Keeton says. "On the court, he's obviously serious and great coach. Off the court, he's all laughs all smiles. Really just coaches us in life, not just basketball."

"We're pushing these guys, trying to let them reach their full potential in everything they do, in the classroom," Slone added. "We give them a lot of responsibility, and we expect a lot out of them. They've lived up to the expectations as far as the effort goes."

Slone has tried to condition his team more this year in hopes that a fast pace will end in a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

"As far as a basketball standpoint, we want to get out and go. We've been pushing them," Slone says. "We've tried to condition them more this year in order to get them to the way we want to play, cause we're gonna really go. As far as our style of play, we're really excited with what we can do."

Paintsville comes in at No. 9 in the preseason boys' basketball Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10.

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