The surprising Letcher County Central Cougars kept their seasonopening winning streak intact with victories last week at home against South Floyd and Wolfe County.
On Tuesday night, the Cougars took their six-game winning streak into Hazard to tangle with a very good Perry County Central. The once-beaten (5-1) Commodores, even without highly regarded 6-7 junior transfer Justin Johnson, have plenty of talent on hand in freshman point guard Braxton Beverly and massive Dalton Cornett, a 6’6” senior center.
The Commodores lost their season opener at Scott County before winning the next five.
Tuesday’s away game was the first of as many as possibly the next eight games that LCCHS will play on the road over the next two weeks. Beginning this Friday night, LCCHS will be in Berea for the Peoples Bank Classic. The Cougars are scheduled to play Lexington Sayre at 3:15 p.m., and then come back at 6:45 Friday evening to play host Madison Southern. The Cougars’ opponent and game time on December 22 won’t be known until after Friday’s games.
After Christmas, the Cougars will be participating in the threeday Alpha Classic Holiday Tournament at the University of Virginia’s College of Wise in Wise, Va., beginning on December 27 against Central (Va.).
Entering action this week, only three 14th Region teams — Hazard (7-0), Knott County Central (6-0), and LCC — remained unbeaten. Knott County Central hosts Hazard tomorrow night (Dec. 20).
Letcher Central 47
Wolfe County 46
Despite making just two shots from the perimeter, the Cougars used the steady play of point guard Cody Gregory, the hustle of guard Chippy Frazier and the rebounding of Josh Owens on December 14 to hold off a good Wolfe County team that is struggling in the early part of this season.
Wolfe County, the preseason pick by region coaches as the fifth best returning team — two spots ahead of LCC — took an early lead but a 9-0 run by the Cougars gave LCC a 11-5 lead with 3:16 left in the opening quarter. LCC then made four turnovers in seven possessions and the Wolves took advantage to tie the game 13-13 at the end of the opening quarter. Wolfe County then went on a 7-0 run to take a 20-13 lead with 4:50 left in the second quarter. Junior Josh Owens came off the bench and rallied the Cougars with three offensive stick-backs, to allow LCCHS to close within 27- 26. Cody Gregory’s free throw tied the game at 27-27 at the half.
Free throw shooting was big in the first half for LCCHS, making 9/11 and 11/15 for the game.
Owens, who had six points and six rebounds in the second quarter, finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Gregory, who had a monster game on his own, scored 12 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 18 points and six rebounds. His trey, with 53 seconds left, rallied the Cougars to a 47-44 lead, and then Frazier’s defense on Wolfe County’s John Toomer forced him into an air-ball in the final seconds that was rebounded by Owens.
Frazier, a 5’10” junior, finished with nine points and a couple of assists and two big offensive rebounds down the stretch to keep the Cougar offense moving.
Junior Sam Robinson struggled with his perimeter shooting (1/5) and finished with three points. Robinson’s trey gave LCCHS a 39- 38 lead after three quarters.
Sophomore center Zane Blair wound up with five points and six rebounds.
Junior Corey Conway led the 3-4 Wolves with 13 points and John Toomer finished with 10 points.
While the Wolves blistered the nets making 19/39 (49 percent) field goal attempts, the Cougars offset their 42 percent field goals shooting (17/41) by winning the battle on the boards — out-rebounding the Wolves 31-19.
Letcher Central 60
South Floyd 32
The host Cougars jumped on the Raiders early and never let up until the subs took over in the fourth quarter in winning their fifth straight on December 11.
LCC, with four players in double figure scoring, led the Raiders 27-5 after the opening quarter, 46-17 at the half and 58-22 after three quarters.
In all, 20 players saw at least two minutes of play with eight breaking into the scoring column led by Chippy Frazier’s game-high 15 points. Sam Robinson added 11 points and Cody Gregory finished with 10 points. Zane Blair wound up with eight points and six rebounds, and Dylan Kincer chipped in with six points and four rebounds. Josh Owens finished with four points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Sophomore Austin Bailey led the Raiders with eight points.
The Cougars shot 40 percent from the floor (21/52) while limiting the Raiders to 12/52 for 23 percent.