The Letcher Central Cougars boys’ basketball team participated in some big-time district play last week, starting with a trip to Pippa Passes to take on defending 14th Region champion June Buchanan.
Already been battle tested by some of the best teams in the state, June Buchanan has taken on the likes of Lexington Catholic and Mason County, as well as Louisville Desales. It lost to Catholic 69- 58 and to Mason County and its star player, University of Kentucky signee Darius Miller, 68-58. The Crusaders beat Desales 53-43 in a tournament in Lexington. Back again are the Stepp brothers, Clint and Clark, as well as Tate Cox. Also back is 6’8″ Garrison Collins of Thornton to man the inside.
The Crusaders look primed to battle for another 14th Region title and the Cougars were ready to see how they would match up with the region’s top team. The Cougars were coming off three straight wins as they won the East Kentucky Physical Therapy Holiday Classic and beat Bellevue, Prestonsburg, and Leslie County in the process. They improved to 6-5 on the season. The Crusaders were 7-3 and, besides losing to Lexington Catholic and Mason County, they lost to a team from Berkmar, Ga.
The Cougars always seem to play well on the Crusaders’ floor and this game would be no exception. Letcher Central played a very solid half of basketball and led at the break 36- 30. The Crusaders stormed back in the third and tied the score at 53 going into the final quarter.
The Cougars played their hearts out, but in the end the Crusaders pulled out the win 73-66. The Cougars led by as much as 10 at one point, but June Buchanan did not fold and was able to pull out the win.
It was the Stepp brothers’ night as Clark led the way with 25 followed by brother Clint with 18. Tate Cox finished with 12 and Garrison Collins had 8.
The Cougars got solid games from their starters much as they have all season. They were led by sharpshooter Josh Profitt with 18, followed by runningmate Devon Blair with 15. Charlie Banks had 13 and Jordon Reynolds had 12. Malachi Longworth created havoc on defense and finished with 4. Eric Ison was the only other Cougar to hit the scoring column as he also tossed in 4.
Letcher Central 58
The Cougars also played the Lions of Cordia last week on the road at the Lions’ Den. The Lions were 7-4 and could be a dark horse in the region. They already have a win over Perry Central. The Cougars were 6-6 and would see that fall to 6-7 as the Lions pulled out a 66-58 win over the Cougars.
These were both good game for the Cougars. They just need a little more depth so they can rest their starters. If they can get some production from the bench down the stretch, they can shock some people.
The Cougars will look to go back over the 500 mark this week as they will host Powell Valley, Va., and Jenkins at Ermine.
drop four straight
After beating Hazard and Jenkins, the Lady Cougars have dropped four in a row as they lost to Corbin and Middlesboro in the First Priority Tri-State Holiday Classic at Middlesboro and most recently to East Ridge 49-44 to fall to 3-8 on the season.
The Lady Cougars failed to get back in the win column at home Monday night against Betsy Layne, falling 49-46.
Shannon Bays led Letcher County Central with 18 points, followed by Brittney Sexton with 16, Sharaye Kincer with 9 and Chloe Wynn with 3.
The Lady Cougars’ next game will be Friday night (January 11) at Jenkins