Tigers return to Mountain Classic

December 04, 2023

If, and you say that with a mighty big if, this week’s WYMT Mountain Classic plays out like a Hollywood movie script, you may see the top two teams in the 13th region in the championship.

If, there’s that word again, that’s not enough for you, it could be the top two teams and two brothers coaching against one another for the first time ever.

That’s a lot to digest as Harlan County and Clay County are the top two seeds for this year’s tournament at Knott County Central High School.

New Tiger coach Michael Jones is the former coach of Harlan, where his brother Kyle took over last season. But let’s not get the cart ahead of horse, both teams have to win a few games to advance.

Clay opens play on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. against Floyd Central from the 15th region.

The Jaguars finished last season at 19-9 and lost in the first round of the 58th district tournament to Lawrence County.

The Jags return their top two leading scorers in Ronnie Sammons (18ppg.) and Braden Moore (14ppg.). The core group from last year’s team returns as they only lost one starter.

Tiger coach Michael Jones says his team needs to come prepared for a battle.

“Floyd returns four starters and are senior led,” he said. “They’re well-coached and I expect this to be a battle from start to finish.”

If the Tigers win, they advance to the semi-finals Friday night where they’d face the winner of Perry Central and Harlan. Clay is set to play Harlan on Friday, December 2nd for their home opener.

The upper bracket of play starts Monday with Harlan Co. vs. Letcher County at 6 p.m. followed by Martin County vs. Knott County.

The championship game is Saturday, December 9th.