The 5-1 Letcher County Central High School Cougars boys’ basketball team flew south Sunday to participate in this week’s four-day KSA Disney Holiday Tournament in Orlando, Fla.
LCCHS will be participating in the three-day, eight-team Alpha Classic next week beginning on Dec. 27, at the new University of Virginia’s College at Wise Convocation Center.
LCCHS, Johnson Central and Bell County will be joined by five teams from Virginia: Central, Union, Abingdon, Daniel Boone and St. Francis DeSales.
Letcher Central 63
Breathitt County 60 (OT)
The host Cougars used teamwork and hot shooting to turn back upset minded Breathitt County in overtime Friday night, Dec. 9, for the Cougars’ third straight win that raised their record to 5-1.
The Cougars struggled early against Breathitt County’s zone. The Cougars committed three unforced turnovers in their first five possessions and trailed 16-7 after the first five minutes. LCCHS trailed 16- 9 after one quarter mainly because of four turnovers and only three-of-nine shooting.
Things changed offensively after that as LCCHS shot 18-for- 33 from the floor the rest of the way. The Cougars wound up at 50 percent shooting on 21-of-42 from the floor — including five-of-seven from behind the arc.
The Bobcats shot 47 percent on 24-of-51 from the floor and made 7-of-12 from behind the arc.
LCCHS still trailed 18-11 early in the second quarter when senior guard Trenton Whitaker came off the bench and hit back-to-back treys to give the Cougars a huge lift and their first lead of the night at 19-18. Whitaker added a lay-up and a short runner in the final seconds to push LCCHS in front 27-24 by the half.
Whitaker, who suffered a head injury and played just six minutes in the second half, finished with 10 points.
After the intermission, senior Logan Johnson picked up where Whitaker left off by nailing a couple of treys to give LCCHS its largest lead of the game at 33-24, with 6:15 left in the third quarter. Johnson finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
The Bobcats rallied and closed to within 33-31 before back-toback baskets by junior guard Cody Gregory gave LCCHS some breathing room at 37-33 with 1:50 left in the third. Gregory finished with 13 points and five assists.
Senior Kendall Ballou’s free throws gave LCCHS a 41-34 lead heading into the final quarter. Ballou finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
LCCHS, which committed six turnovers in the first half and only one in the third quarter, made four in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter and Breathitt County took advantage — tying the score at 45-45 on sophomore Wesley Noble’s trey with 4:57 left in regulation.
From that point on, there were six lead changes. Sophomore Sam Robinson’s trey, with 20 seconds left, gave LCCHS a 56-54 lead, but junior guard Alex Hamilton’s short jumper tied the score. LCCHS had a chance to win in regulation but Cody Gregory missed the front end of the bonus with less that a second remaining on the clock.
At the 2:22 mark in overtime, LCCHS took the lead 58-56 on Kendall Ballou’s short jumper in traffic. Senior Jordan Bellamy’s tip-in tied the score 58-58 with 1:49 left. Sam Robinson’s pressure-packed free throws put LCCHS back in front seconds later, but Breathitt County’s Wesley Noble tied the game 60-60 with 1:38 left. Senior Koree Stewart’s strong post-up basket put the Cougars back in front 62- 60 with 1: 27 left and Cody Gregory redeemed himself by making the second of two free throws to extend LCCHS’s lead to 63- 60 with 40 seconds left. The Cougars’ defensive pressure forced the Bobcats into a long possession that forced them to settle for a contested shot from behind the arc in the final seconds.
Koree Steward finished with nine points and seven rebounds and Sam Robinson wound up with five points. Senior Matt Boggs scored two points.
Wesley Noble led 3- 2 Breathitt County with a game-high 19 points. Alex Hamilton scored 12 points and Jordan Bellamy finished with 11 points and a gamehigh 10 rebounds. LCCHS out-rebounded the Bobcats 29-26 and converted 16- of-23 charity opportunities. BCHS made 5-of-9 free throws.
Letcher Central 52
South Floyd 43
The Cougars needed some late offensive punch by senior Logan Johnson and some pressure-packed free throw shooting by sophomore Sam Robinson to rally for the win at South Floyd Dec. 13.
The Raiders, led by senior guard Brandon Marson, led for most of the first three quarters before the Cougars’ defense and foul trouble shut him down in the fourth quarter. Marson led everyone with 21 points — including 18 in the first three quarters.
Marson’s 11 points led South Floyd to a 15-14 lead after the first quarter. Coldshooting LCCHS managed just four points in the second quarter and trailed 25- 18 at the intermission.
Senior Kendal Ballou, who scored all six of his points in the third quarter, combined with junior guard Cody Gregory to help LCCHS close to within 37- 35 heading into the fourth quarter when Logan Johnson took over, scoring eight of his team high 12 points to push the Cougars in front for the victory. Senior Koree Stewart and Matt Boggs finished with eight points each. Gregory and senior Trenton Whitaker wound up with seven points each. Sam Robinson added four points.