The Letcher County Central Cougars snapped out of their four-game losing streak against stellar competition with three straight victories last week to raise their record to 13-9.
Three of the nine losses have been to out-of-state competition and five losses have been to teams ranked either first or second in their respective regions or in the Dave Cantrell top 25 poll in the Lexington Herald- Leader.
This week, the next to last week of the regular season, the Cougars host Cordia Friday night, Feb. 3, play Oldham County (ranked second in the Eighth Region) Saturday night in the Riverside Christian Prep Showcase and then visit Pikeville Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Letcher Central 68
Estill County 54
The Cougars struggled early with the visiting Engineers Saturday afternoon, Jan. 28, before applying the defensive pressure in the second quarter and then maintaining their advantage throughout the second half.
Estill County, behind 6’4” junior forward Brandon Morris, led 13-12 at the end of the opening quarter. Morris, who wound up with a game-high 29 points, was held in check during the second quarter as the Cougars out-scored the 9-15 Engineers 22-8 to take a commanding 34-21 lead at the half.
Seniors Logan Johnson and Kori Stewart proved too much for Estill County after the first quarter. Johnson scored a team-high 20 and pulled down 10 rebounds. Stewart added 17 points and a game-high 18 rebounds.
Cody Gregory finished with 12 points and Kendall Ballou wound up with four points. Trenton Whitaker and Sam Robinson chipped in with five points each. Cody Sexton added three points and Dylan Kincer two points.
Letcher Central 56
Lee County 43
For the second straight game, the Cougars built an early commanding lead and then coasted to the easy win against the visiting Bobcats Friday night, Jan. 27.
Senior Kori Stewart’s offensive stick-back midway of the first quarter ended a 7-0 run for the Cougars and pushed their lead to 12-5.
The Cougars’ defense in the paint was outstanding with the smaller Bobcats either altering their shots or shooting air ball.
By pounding the ball inside to Stewart, Logan Johnson and Kendall Ballou, the Cougars increased their 17-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Backto back layups by Ballou pushed LCC’s lead to 33-18 with 1:40 left in the second quarter.
LCC continued to pound the ball inside in the third quarter to Stewart, Johnson and Ballou as a cruising LCC took a comfortable 48-34 lead into the final quarter.
Stewart and Johnson both finished with doubledoubles. Johnson finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds
— both game-highs. Stewart wound up with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Ballou wound up with 10 points and four rebounds.
Trenton Whitaker added eight points and Cody Gregory six points. Sam Robinson chipped in with three points.
Adam Marshall’s eight points led 8-13 Lee County.
LCC connected on 23- of- 47 from the floor for 48 percent while limiting Lee County to 33 percent shooting on 17-of-44 field goal attempts. The Cougars dominated the Bobcats 36- 19 on the boards, but 14 turnovers, nine of those in the second half, allowed the Bobcats to hang around until the fourth quarter.
Letcher Central 85
In notching their third district win, against one loss, the visiting Cougars took control early in winning easily at Cordia on Jan. 24. The Cougars placed three players in double figures.
LCC led 19-9 after the first quarter and 33-13 at the half and then steadily pulled away in the second half. Senior forward Kendall Ballou scored 18 of his game-high 30 points in the first half.
Senior Logan Johnson added 19 points and senior Kori Stewart finished with 11 points.
Cody Gregory scored six points and Cody Sexton chipped in with five points. Matt Boggs and Zane Blair added four points each. Trenton Whitaker, Chippy Frazier and Hunter Hall finished with two points each.
Chris Hudson’s gamehigh tying 30 points led 5-15 Cordia.