To quote the English folkrock duo Chad and Jeremy’s “A Summer Song” from the mid-‘60s, “All good things must end . . .” And so it is for the five superb Letcher County Central Lady Cougars after their opening round 56-52 loss March 14 to Marshall County in the Girls’ Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green.
In the school’s second trip to the Sweet Sixteen, effort and desire were just not enough in the end.
Sophomore Cheyanne Stidham scored five of her 15 total points in the game’s first minutes. Her jumper at the 6:22 mark gave LCCHS a 7-2 lead. Senior Kelah Eldridge’s jumper two minutes later pushed the Lady Cougars’ lead to 9-7, but despite the best efforts of senior Julie Cornett, LCCHS never led again in the first half.
Julie Cornett, who had nine points and eight rebounds in the first half, finished with a game-high 18 rebounds and 16 points.
Stidham’s trey right out of the box to start the second half brought the Lady Cougars to within 31-30, and Julie Cornett’s old fashioned three-point play gave LCC the lead at 33-31 with 4:25 left in the third quarter. Stidham’s second trey extended LCC’s lead to 36- 31 before Kelah Eldridge’s layup gave the Lady Cougars a 38-31 lead with 2:22 left on the clock. Another layup by Eldridge pushed LCCHS’s lead to 40-33 with just two minutes left in the third.
Taylor Meadows’ jumper brought Marshall County to within 40-35 at the end of three quarters.
After Tori Fehrenbacker’s free throw tied the game at 40-40 with 6:41 left to play, there were three lead changes with LCC’s last lead at 46-44 on a pair of free throws by Eldridge with 5:01 left to play.
Marshall County reclaimed the lead 48-46 with 3:52 left on Mariah McKenty’s jumper.
LCC closed to within 53- 52 on Eldridge’s layup with 31 seconds left, but Marshall County converted three-offour free throws in the final 17 seconds to preserve the victory.
Kelah Eldridge finished with a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. Senior Vannah Breeding and sophomore Kristina Bentley each finished with two points. Senior Keisha Collins as well as senior Emily Blair and junior Kelli Quillen played but did not score.
Letcher Central closed out an excellent season with a 29-6 mark — including a 17-game winning streak to reach the state tournament.
Game photos appear in Section B.