The Letcher County Central Cougars were in Hazard this past week participating in the WYMT Mountain Classic held at Perry Central High School. The field was loaded with individual talent and it also had some pretty good teams. Hazard was there along with Perry Central, Knott County, East Ridge, Letcher Central, Johnson Central, Clay County, and Allen Central.
On January 6, the Cougars took on the Clay County Tigers out of the 13th Region. The Tigers are no stranger to the tournament. They have more championships than most teams have appearances in the tournament. They entered the tournament with a record of 6-5 while the Cougars were 9-1.
The Cougars started slowly and fell behind quickly. They trailed after one, 17-8. A trey by Devon Blair just before the half gave the Cougars some life but they trailed 27-17 at the half.
Clay County would build on the lead as they owned the inside and extended the lead to 38-25 after three. After the lead grew to 15 in the fourth quarter, the Cougars rallied to make the final 55- 50 Clay County.
On Jan. 8, the Cougars were back in action against the Warriors of East Ridge. Having something to prove, the Cougars could not have played better against the 8- 5 Warriors. They dominated from the opening tip and led 40-15 at the half.
With Jordan Reynolds and Cole Cornett controlling the inside, East Ridge was no match for the Cougars on this night. The Cougars hit 25-56 shots for almost 45 percent for the game. Reynolds led the way with 14 points followed by Cornett with 13. Charlie Banks hit for 12 and Josh Proffitt hit 10. Devon Blair and Logan Johnson each had 5 and Eric Ison scored three as the Cougars improved to 10-2.
On Saturday, the Cougars took on Johnson Central in the first game of the day. This game was a tough and physical game. The two teams were pretty evenly matched. Johnson Central led 16-14 after one and 33- 31 at the half. The Cougars roared back in the third and led 54-49 after three quarters but Johnson Central rallied and outscored the Cougars 22-14 in the final quarter to pull out the 71-68 victory and drop the Cougars to 10-3 on the season. Johnson Central improved to 9-5 and took home fifth place in the tournament.
In the third-place game, Hazard blasted Clay County 71-57 and Perry Central beat Knott County 53-41 in the championship.
Against Johnson Central the Cougars were led by Josh Proffitt with 20 points followed by Charlie Banks with 19. Devon Blair and Jordan Reynolds each had 8 points and Eric Ison and Cole Cornett and Logan Johnson each had 4 followed by Ryan Brock with one point.
Now the Cougars will get ready to go on the road again to take on always tough Cordia and then they travel to Pippa Passes to take on June Buchanan.
In girls’ action, the Lady Cougars had been off a while and got back in action against the Cavaliers of Jenkins.
The Lady Cavaliers are struggling with a very young team and a new coach, Chris Tolliver, a graduate of Whitesburg High School and Morehead State. Tolliver most recently was an assistant at Rowan County. Chris played on the Whitesburg state tournament team in 2002 and if he brings the same work ethic that he played with in high school he will turn the Lady Cavaliers around. It will take time but Tolliver can get it done.
Against the Lady Cougars it was over pretty quickly for the Lady Cavaliers as they fell behind 21-4 after one and 39-13 at the half. The Lady Cougars went on to roll 71-36.