With one regular season game remaining for both Barbourville and Knox Central, their annual rivalry is renewed on the Panthers’ senior night, as they play host to the Tigers. The two teams played a closely contested regular season game last season that saw Knox Central emerge with a 70-63 victory. The Tigers got a second shot at the Panthers in the 51st district championship, but fell short of exacting their revenge by a sizable margin, 82-51.
On the season, Knox Central sits at 19-7 on the season, good for fourth place in the 13th Region standings. Barbourville currently bolsters a record of 11-13, which leaves them sitting in 12th position in the regional standings.
With the district tournament just around the corner, both teams hope for strong finishes to the regular season to help propel them into the district tournament with momentum. In district play this season, both teams are undefeated, with each team holding two wins and zero losses.
The Panthers are led by Javonte Turner, who is averaging 23.2 points-per-game. He has a well-rounded supporting cast of teammates as well, with three other players averaging double figures in scoring. Zach Patterson is averaging 13.4 points-per-game, Isaac Mills is averaging 12 and Kevionte Turner is averaging 11.6 points-per-game. Mills leads the team in rebounding, with 6.9 boards averaged per outing. J. Turner is a close second, averaging 6.3 rebounds per contest.
The Tigers are led by Shawn Vaughn and Matthew Gray respectively. Vaughn averages 16.8 points-per-game and also leads the team in rebounding with 6.3 rebounds per contest. Gray averages 15.7 points-per-game and is second on the team in rebounding with 4.1 rebounds per game.
The Panthers appear in multiple categories in state wide statistical leaders. J. Turner currently sits at 17th in the state in points-per-game. Mills holds the ninth spot in the state for field goal percentage, connecting on almost 65% of his field goals. As a whole, the Panthers are ranked eighth in the state in scoring, averaging 73 points-per-game.
Although the Tigers don’t appear in any of the state wide leaders statistically, they are coming off of an important win against Williamsburg at home on Feb. 18, in overtime. Gray carried the Tigers to victory with an explosive offense performance, tallying 34 points. Jordan Collins aided the effort, followed by Vaughn with 16 and Dylan Bingham with 10.
With only one regular season game remaining after this, the clash between these two in-county rivals should be a good one. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 at Knox Central High School.