The 2-5 Letcher County Central High School Cougars travel to Knott County Central for a district game tonight, Dec. 20, before travelling to Morehead this weekend for a pair of games in the two-day, 12-team Kentucky Bank Challenge, hosted by Rowan County High School. LCCHS will play Eastern High School at 9 p.m. on Friday night, Dec. 22, and Floyd Central at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23.
After Christmas, the Cougars will travel to Lexington for a 6:15 p.m. game on Wednesday, Dec. 27, against Lexington Christian Academy as part of the three-day, five-team Central Bank Classic.
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The visiting Letcher Central Cougars ended a three-game losing streak with their 65-44 victory last Friday night at neighboring Jenkins to raise their record to 2-5. The winless 0-9 Cavaliers transferred from the 14th Region at the beginning of this season and have been struggling with a difficult early season schedule.
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The Cordia Lions rallied from a one-point deficit in the final seconds of the third quarter to hand the Letcher Central Cougars their third straight loss, 70-63, in a 53rd District matchup Dec. 14 at Cordia.
The Cougars, who were behind 33-27 at the half, trailed 44-33 midway of the third quarter before a 7-0 run cut their deficit to 44-40 with 3:21 left in the third quarter. Junior guard Caleb Stidham’s layup, with eight seconds left in the third quarter, gave the Cougars a 48-47 lead but Cordia’s Kalil Harris’s 30-foot trey, banked in from straight away, pushed the Lions back on top 50-48. Harris finished with seven points.
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars’ mistakes and missed shots allowed the Lions to pull away to a 59-50 lead with 4:37 left to play. The Cougars trailed 62-52 with 1:47 left to play but never quit and rallied to 64-61 with just over a minute left.
Cordia’s Kareem McDonald, a 6-2 senior guard, made a deep trey and effectively ended the Cougars’ threat. McDonald had a huge night for the 3-3 Lions. He was 10 of 23 from the floor — including 4 of 8 from behind the arc — for a game-high 33 points. He also pulled down five rebounds. Darryen Pringle added 18 points and six rebounds for the Lions, who were out-rebounded 42-28 by the Cougars.
Cordia converted 23 of 56, including 7 of 19 from behind the arc, for 41 percent. LCCHS made 25 of 62 field goal attempts for 40 percent but were just 1 of 10 from behind the arc. The Lions made 17 of 24 from the charity line while the Cougars made only 10 of 22 opportunities.
Junior forward Greg Kincer led the 1-5 Cougars with 19 points. He pulled down seven rebounds. Senior Elijah Raglin, despite go- ing just 6 of 19 from the floor, finished with 14 points and four rebounds. Senior Tyler Boggs and junior Trevor Hardin finished with 10 points each. Boggs pulled down eight rebounds. Junior guard Caleb Shepherd led the Cougars with a game-high nine rebounds and finished with six points. Sophomore Dakota Shepherd chipped in with one point and four rebounds.
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The visiting Letcher Central Cougars’ mistakes and missed free throws were costly down the stretch in their 65-56 loss at Belfry Dec. 12.
The Cougars managed to make 23 of 51 field goal attempts for 45 percent — including 5 of 14 from behind the arc. The host Pirates made 26 of 59 field goal attempts for 46 percent but managed just 3 of 15 from behind the arc. Neither team shot very well from the charity line. The Cougars made 5 of 12 opportunities while the Pirates made 10 of 20 shots.
The 1-4 Cougars were led in scoring by junior Greg Kincer’s game-high 21 points. He also claimed five rebounds to help the Cougars win the rebound battle 35-28.
Senior Elijah Raglin chipped in with 17 points and six rebounds. Junior Caleb Stidham wound up with nine points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Dakota Shepherd added seven points and four rebounds. Senior Tyler Boggs finished with two points and six rebounds.
Dezon Roblee led the 1-1 Belfry Pirates with 15 points. Koleston Blankenship and Wilson Harris chipped in with 10 points each.