The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars have posted a 2-3 mark after the opening two weeks of this season against teams with a combined 14-4 mark.
The Lady Cougars still have a long path with a steep learning curve to navigate before they can expect to successfully defend their 2015 14th Regional title.
This Friday night, the Lady Cougars visit unbeaten Breathitt and then return home to host 4-1 East Ridge on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
The Lady Cougars then take off Christmas week before returning to action in the four-day First Trust Bank Holiday Classic in Hazard beginning on Sunday, December 27.
Letcher Central 57
Owsley County 51
Letcher Central used full court defensive pressure the entire game to beat the visiting Lady Owls, 57-51, Saturday afternoon to raise their record to 2-3.
The Lady Cougars did not win against a much larger and more experienced team by playing gracefully and with great athleticism. Instead, the Lady Cougars won by diving on the floor for every loose ball and by scrambling for rebounds.
“We played hard and we won ugly,” said coach Dickie Adams, “and I much prefer to win ugly than lose pretty. Our defense really caused them a lot of problems.”
LCC forced Owsley County into a lot of mistakes — 17 in the first half and 36 for the game. In reality, as inexperienced and offensively challenged as the Lady Cougars are at this time, the team needs all the opponents’ turnovers it can force to offset its ineffective offense.
Despite their 36 turnovers, the Owls, when they could get the ball to their end of the court, made 14 of 30 field goal attempts for 47 percent. The Lady Cougars were outrebounded 47-30 so LCCHS needed every loose ball and every turnover to win this game. LCC made just 21 of 66 field goal attempts for 32 percent.
The Lady Cougars, who trailed 11-10, after the first quarter, picked up their defensive intensity in the second and battled back from a 15-10 deficit to reclaim the lead at 24-23 on back-to-back treys by junior guard Cameron Kincer. Kincer finished with eight points.
LCC trailed for most of the third quarter before using an 8-0 run to close the third quarter and take a 40-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
LCC never trailed in the final eight minutes, leading 50-41 on junior guard Paige Caudill’s 12-footer with 4:51 left to play. Caudill soon fouled out with 13 points and six rebounds.
Both teams struggled at the charity line — LCC made just 13 of 32 while Owsley County made 20 of 30 free throw attempts.
Believe it or not, LCC won the game by making four of eight free throws in the final minutes to hang on to the win.
Senior center Samantha Tubbs led the Lady Cougars with 14 points. Junior guard Alyssa Adams scored 10 points. Junior guard Shelby Hall wound up with 7 points — including 3/6 from the free throw line in the final 90 seconds. Junior guard Grayson Collier chipped in with three points and junior forward Destiny Hall finished with two points, six rebounds and four assists.
Forward Alyssa McIntosh led the 1-2 Lady Owls with a gamehigh 20 points. Forward Macie Gibson wound up with 19.
Harlan 58 Letcher Central 27
The visiting Letcher County Central Lady Cougars lost 58-27 to the unbeaten and highly regarded Harlan Lady Green Dragons last Friday to drop their record to 1-3.
Inexperienced Letcher Central battled and stayed close through the first half against the topranked team in the 13th Region but just could not make enough baskets to keep up in the second half.
LCC trailed 15-6 after the first quarter, 31-15 at the half and 48-20 after three quarters.
Alyssa Adams led LCCHS with 11 points. Grayson Collier chipped in with four points. Samantha Tubbs, Paige Caudill, Destiny Hall and Emma Maggard finished with three points each.
All-Stater Brooklyn Massingill led 4-0 Harlan with 19 points. Emma Bianchi finished with 11 and McKenzie King added seven.
Letcher Central 46 Betsy Layne 37
The visiting Lady Cougars defeated host Betsy Layne 46-37 December 7 for their first victory of the season against two losses.
The Lady Cougars withstood an early offensive blitz before rallying in the second quarter to take a lead that they never relinquished.
With the Lady Cougars shooting blanks early, Betsy Layne scored the game’s first 13 points and LCCHS trailed 15-6 after the first quarter.
The Lady Cougars’ defense began to produce turnovers and junior Destiny Hall made some shots and Letcher Central forged ahead 22-16 at the half. Destiny Hall finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Betsy Layne closed to within 33-30 at the end of the third quarter, but again the Lady Cougars responded. Junior guards Alyssa Adams, Cameron Kincer and Shelby Hall made free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory.