The Letcher County Central Cougars host dangerous Breathitt County this Friday night before departing for Florida for next week’s four-day holiday tournament in the KSA Disney Basketball Tournament in Orlando. The Cougars’ first game will be Sunday, Dec. 18.
Letcher Central 78
Australian Nationals 67
The much traveled team from Down Under rolled into Ermine last Friday night and played nothing like a team that was playing its third game in five days.
After a slow start, the Aussies battled back much of the second half to keep the game competitive.
LCCHS used balanced scoring and a solid defensive effort that forced 24 turnovers, to defeat a talented and athletic squad.
The Cougars built a 21-12 advantage by the end of the first quarter and then expanded their margin to 40-26 by the intermission.
Both teams shot very well in the first half with LCCHS making 17-of-35 field goal attempts (49%). The ANT managed to connect on 11-of-24 (46%) from the floor.
For the game, the Cougars finished with 30-of-63 from the floor for 48%. The ANT wound up making 29-of-52 for 56%.
LCCHS continued to hold the Aussies at bay through the 3rd quarter and extended their lead to 60-44 heading into the final period. The Cougars’ lead was extended to 70-50 midway of the final quarter.
The Australian Nationals were led by a game- high 31 points and eight rebounds from Siatua Solaese. Callan Grima finished with 25 points and seven rebounds.
Kendall Ballou led LCCHS with 18 points. Cody Gregory chipped in with 15 points and four assists. Logan Johnson finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kory Steward added 12 points, six steals and a game-high eight rebounds.
Senior Trenton Whitaker and sophomore Sam Robinson came off the bench and contributed 8 and 5 points, respectively.
Chippy Frazier, Max Hall and Dylan Kincer added two points each.
East Ridge 60
Letcher Central 57
Visiting Letcher Central saw its two-game winning streak snapped at surprising East Ridge on Dec. 8.
Despite losing their coach and their top two scorers from last year’s 16-9 squad, the Warriors have formed a squad that is surprising the 15th Region. East Ridge’s new coach is Preston LeMaster, who played at the University of Kentucky under Tubby Smith. The team is now led on offense by power forward Raynold Kasongo and point guard Tony Wolter. Both are junior transfers from Canada and both are expected to play Division 1 college basketball.
Wolter scored 23 points and Kasongo added 15 points to help the Warriors improve to 3-1.
The Cougars led 17-15 early in the second quarter but trailed 24-22 at the half and 42-39 after 3 quarters as the Warriors hung on down the stretch for the victory.
Kory Stewart’s 19 points led 2-1 LCCHS. Cody Gregory added 12 points while Logan Johnson and Matt Boggs chipped in with 10 points each. Kendall Ballou wound up with 6 points.