The Letcher County Central Cougars continued to struggle in close games against quality opponents last week with a hard-earned victory at Pikeville before a tough loss at Hazard.
LCC won at Pikeville on Feb 7 against a 16-10 Panthers team ranked second in the 15th Region. The Cougars then lost in overtime at Hazard on Feb. 11 against a 15-9 Bulldogs squad ranked fourth in the 14th Region — one notch ahead of the 16-12 Cougars.
Perry County Central, now ranked seventh in the state, continues to lead the 14th Region. Highly regarded Knott County Central remains second in the region.
The Cougars will wrap up their regular season at home Thursday night against Pike County Central.
The Jenkins Cavaliers will host next week’s 53rd District Tournament with top seed Knott Central meeting Jenkins in the opening round on Monday. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.
Second seeded LCC will take on third seed Cordia next Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The district championship is scheduled for 7 p.m. next Saturday (Feb. 25).
Letcher Central 43(OT)
The visiting Cougars were unable to protect a two-point lead in the final seconds of regulation and fell in over-time at Hazard.
LCC led 8- 4 after the first quarter, but went cold and trailed 20- 17 at the half. In the third quarter, LCC’s defense nearly shut down the Bulldogs as the Cougars reclaimed the lead 28-23 heading into the final quarter.
The Bulldogs rallied in the final minutes but still trailed 38-36 with just seconds left. However, sophomore guard Matt Thompson hit a pull-up 15-footer at the buzzer to tie the score at 38- 38. Thompson finished with eight points.
In the overtime, Tyler Triplett led the Bulldogs to the victory by scoring six of his 12 points. Sophomore Josh Hollon led the 15-9 Bulldogs with a team-high 13.
Senior Kori Stewart led the 16- 12 Cougars with a game- high 17 points. Cody Gregory added 12 points and Sam Robinson chipped in with five points. Trenton Whitaker added three points. Logan Johnson, Kendall Ballou and Matt Boggs finished with two points each.
Letcher Central 58
The visiting Cougars used the inside strength of seniors Logan Johnson, Kori Stewart and Kendall Ballou to rally down the stretch to win at Pikeville.
LCC took a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and still led 24-19 at the half before Pikeville, behind the hot hand of senior guard Will Branham, rallied in the third quarter for a 42- 37 lead.
Logan Johnson’s gamehigh 26 points led the 16- 11 Cougars. Kori Stewart added 15 points and Kendall Ballou finished with 12. Cody Gregory chipped in with four points and Matt Boggs added one point.