The Letcher County Central Cougars wrapped up the opening week of the season by splitting a pair of games at home — losing to Harlan County and then defeating Jackson City — before going on the road to Manchester last Friday night and losing to the Corbin Redhounds.
The Cougars will host Phelps tomorrow (Thursday) night, then visit Belfry Saturday night and South Floyd on Tuesday.
During the pre-Christmas holiday break, the Cougars will be in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Dec. 19-21 for three games in the Smokey Mountain Classic.
After Christmas, the Cougars will participate in the three-day Pikeville Invitational on Dec. 26, 27 and 28.
Harlan County 61
Letcher Central 57
The visiting Harlan County Black Bears rallied from five points down in the final quarter to edge host Letcher County Central 61- 57 in the season opener for both teams in Ermine on Dec. 3.
The Cougars, led by hot-shooting senior guard Skippy Frazier, rallied from a 16-14 deficit to start the second quarter and take a 31- 27 lead at the break.
A layup by Frazier with 3:21 left in the third quarter gave LCCHS its largest lead of the game at 38-31.
Harlan County closed to within 45-40 to start the last quarter and then took the lead at 51-50 on Zack Caldwell’s layup with 3:19 left to play. Caldwell led HCHS with 17 points. Cameron Carmichael added 13.
LCCHS’s last lead, 56-55, came with 1:14 left on a pair of Frazier free throws.
An offensive stick-back by Fred Massey with 18 seconds left sealed the victory of the Black Bears.
Frazier led all scorers with 23 points. Senior Josh Owens added 12 points and sophomore Tyler Collins came off the bench to score eight points. Freshman Torell Carter and junior Jordan Morrow finished with two points each.
Letcher Central 69
Jackson City 58
The host Cougars rode the one-two scoring punch of seniors Josh Owens and Chippy Frazier and the rebounding of freshman Torell Carter to a hard fought 69- 58 win over visiting Jackson City on Dec. 5.
LCCHS used a very effective 1-3-1 zone defense to limit Jackson City’s dribble drive offense enroute to 15-8 lead by then end of the first quarter.
Frazier’s pull-up jumper extended LCCHS’s lead to 23-12 with 6:01 left in the first half. However, Jackson City then rallied against LCCHS’s porous man- to- man and to close to within 31-29 by the break.
Jackson City tied the game 34- 34 on John Turner’s trey with 6:21 left in the third quarter.
With more defensive intensity and eight straight points by Frazier, LCCHS pushed back to 47- 40 lead with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
After Frazier’s trey with 7:40 left to play extended LCCHS’s lead to 54-45, the Cougars went back to their 1-3-1 defense and the Tigers went nearly three minutes without scoring.
The Tigers closed to within 62- 56, with 2:29 left on a Sherman Collins trey. Collins finished with 11 points. John Turner led the 1-1 Tigers with 13.
Frazier teamed up with Owens down the stretch to extend the Cougars’ lead to 66-56 with just over a minute left to play.
Owens led the 1-1 Cougars with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds. Frazier wound up with 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Carter, a 6’1” freshman forward, scored six points but pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds — 12 in the first half. Sophomores Jordan Gregory and Tyler Collins came off the bench to lift the Cougars with eight and six points, respectively. Collins also chipped in with five rebounds as the Cougars out-rebounded the Tigers 39-33.