The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars, now 13-5, have been “enjoying” some practice time in the gym since last Saturday’s big win over Harlan County.
LCCHS returns to action Friday in Jackson against Breathitt County before traveling on to East Jessamine High School to play Louisville Moore in the Coaches v. Cancer Classic on Saturday.
Next week will be a huge week for the Lady Cougars when they host two of the top three 14th Region teams. LCC will host top rater Perry County Central on January 22, with fourth-rated Knott County Central arriving on January 25.
In this week’s Lexington Herald Leader’s state ranking, LCC is a close second in the regional standings to Perry County Central. Powell County is rated fourth and Leslie County rounds out the top five regional rankings.
Letcher Central 47
Harlan County 41
The Lady Cougars finished off a tough week with an upset of visiting highly regarded Harlan County last Saturday afternoon.
A veteran Lady Black Bears team arrived in Ermine with a gaudy 18-1 mark, including a victory over 23rd-ranked Clay County, but ran into a determined bunch of Lady Cougars.
With the memory of a pair of tough losses last week at Knott County Central and to Shelby Valley in the WYMT Classic, LCCHS started slowly and trailed 10-7 after the first quarter.
With the Lady Cougars shaking off their first-quarter hesitancy early in the second quarter, and with Keisha Collins and Julie Cornett dominating the interior by challenging shots and pulling down rebounds, LCC began to push the ball up the floor, scoring on open transition baskets that fueled a 16-1 run that gave the team a 23-11 lead at the half.
“This was a good win for us,” said Coach Dickie Adams. “We played good defense and did a good job of getting out in transition and getting early shots. But the main thing was our holding them to the one point.”
Eldridge, who got a little banged up late in the first quarter, returned early in the second quarter and LCCHS took the lead for good at 11-10 on her 12-footer. Eldridge followed that basket with a trey and then a pair of medium jumpers before missing on her fifth field goal attempt. Eldridge, who was 4-6 shooting in the first half for nine points, finished with a game-high 15.
While Eldridge was dominating the offense, Coach Adams was quick to point out that Eldridge’s teammates were shutting down the Lady Black Bears. “We played very good defense during that (offensive spurt) to hold them to just one point. Our inside physical play had been a real problem, but tonight we played physical and didn’t give up easy baskets.”
In the third quarter, Harlan County would never make a strong offensive run and still trailed 35-25 after three quarters.
Harlan County’s Lauren Lee cut LCC’s lead to 42-35, with a trey with 3:06 left to play. A pair of free throws by Eldridge, with 1:55 left, pushed LCC’s lead to 44-37. Poor free throw shooting (2 of 6) the rest of the way kept LCC’s winning margin from being greater.
In a breakout game against a very good, physical opponent, Keisha Collins avoided foul trouble and stayed on the floor, played defense, rebounded and scored points.
Collins finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal. Julie Cornett wound up with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Vannah Breeding turned in an excellent floor game with seven rebounds and four points, as well as two assists and two steals. Kristina Bentley and Cheyanne Stidham second quarter, Owens scored seven straight points in LCC’s run of 11 unanswered points. Another Owens basket, this an offensive stick-back with 2:15 left in the first half, gave LCCHS a 29-19 lead and led to another run of eight unanswered points that finished out the half and gave the Cougars a 37-19 advantage. LCC’s lead was 55-37 after three quarters.
In the first half, Owens scored 14 points on 6/9 shooting and pulled down five rebounds. He wound up playing just 17 minutes, but finished with a double/double of 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting and 10 rebounds.
Zane Blair had a big second half and finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Chippy Frazier chipped in with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists. Cody Gregory contributed eight points and eight assists as well as four rebounds and two steals.
Sam Robinson added seven points and Dylan Kincer scored five points. Max Hall chipped in with four points while Hunter Hall, Aaron Tackett and Jordan Gregory scored two points each.
The Cougars limited JBS to 30 percent field goal shooting on 17 of 57 while out-rebounding the Crusaders 47-29.
LCC forced JBS into 19 turnovers which resulted in 27 points after turnovers, which contributed greatly to the Cougars’ 53 percent (31/59) field goal accuracy.