By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
We are barely even a moment into the high school basketball season and the 13th Region is getting very interesting.
One of the preseason favorites, Jackson County, fell in its opening game against Corbin. The Redhounds were supposed to be a work in progress this season, but might be ahead of schedule. Eighth grader Andrew Taylor scored 19 points and hit the game-winner for the Redhounds.
On the same night you had Whitley County traveling to Log Mountain and knocking off Bell County, another 13th Region contender.
It’s not common for these kinds of matchups to happen so early in the season. We have many more in the near future. Although a December loss has little bearing on the season, the early returns show an interesting year.
Clay County has yet to play as this is being written. The preseason favorite Tigers will meet South Laurel, North Laurel, Corbin, and Harlan County before Christmas break so we should at least get a feel for them soon.
When South Laurel travels to Clay County it will be the Cardinals second straight game against a defending region champion. Wayne County edged South Laurel 68-64 in the season opener, but it was still a strong showing in a tough road game.
North Laurel lost to a good Harlan team in its opener, but should have a few games in the win column when they travel to Clay County next week. It’s hard to put much stock in the Harlan game when fouls dictated much of the game. The meat of the Jaguars schedule comes in the final weeks when they will face Bell County, South Laurel, Clay County, East Jessamine, Pulaski County, and Knox Central in that order.
It is shaping up to be a battle royal and we haven’t even mentioned quality teams like Knox Central and Williamsburg that will have a say in how things play out.
There might be a team that rolls through the schedule without many blemishes. That’s not what I see this season. There is more depth in the 13th Region and the team that wins it could be whoever gets hot.