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Lady Cougars (4-0) face tough test Saturday



The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars ran their record to 4-0 with wins on the road at Pikeville and Cordia before coming home to turn back a determined Belfry team for their fourth consecutive win.

The Lady Cougars are expected to get their first real test of the season when they host highly regarded Scott County Saturday. The tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

LCCHS will then hit the road south for Florida where they will participate in the four-day KSA Disney Holiday Classic in Orlando beginning next Monday (Dec. 19).

Letcher Central 58

Belfry 45

The host Lady Cougars overcame cold shooting with offensive rebounding and overcame turnovers with defense in turning back upset-minded Belfry Saturday night in their home opener and keeping their record perfect at 4-0.

The Lady Cougars jumped in front 6-0 despite cold shooting but Belfry, on Brooke Williamson’s short jumper, took a 13-12 lead at the end of the opening quarter. Vannah Breeding’s trey, her only points of the game, pushed LCCHS back in front 15-13 but LCCHS’ shooting woes continued. Offensively, LCCHS was bailed out nearly all night at the free throw line. The Lady Cougars converted 15-of-22 from the charity line in the first half with Julie Cornett making nine-of-10. Cornett, who led everyone with 21 points, finished with 11- of- 17 from the charity line.

In the second half, LCCHS managed just two-of-eight from the charity line.

Ahead by just 21- 20 at the 3:21 mark of the second quarter, LCCHS ran off 10 straight points to build their lead to a comfortable 34-22 at the break.

In the first half, LCCHS shot 30% on nine-of-30 from the floor and were guilty of 10 turnovers.

With her outside shots not dropping, Kelah Eldridge, a 5’7” junior guard, combined with Cornett and hit the offensive boards hard. Eldridge, who finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds, scored 10 of LCCHS’ 14 third-quarter points to extend the Lady Cougars’ lead to 48-33 heading into the final quarter. Eldridge dished out five assists.

Four turnovers by LCCHS and Emily Baker’s trey, at the 6:26 mark of the final quarter, allowed Belfry to close to within 48-38. Cornett’s layup, with five minutes to play, were LCCHS’ first points of the final quarter. Despite four more turnovers over the final five minutes of the game, Cornett’s 3-point play with 2:25 left pushed LCCHS’ lead to 54-40 and ended Belfry’s chances of an upset.

For the game, LCCHS was guilty of 20 turnovers while forcing 18.

The Lady Cougars’ outside shooting improved in the second half as they converted 11-of-26 field goal opportunities — but no baskets from behind the arc — for 20-of-56 (36%) for the game.

Belfry managed to make 20- of-52 field goal attempts for 39%.

LCCHS’ rebounding won the game as the Lady Cougars pulled down 54 while Belfry collected just 28.

Cornett led everyone with 15 rebounds while Keisha Collins pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with four points. Haley Whitaker finished with nine rebounds, four steals and six points. Cheyanne Stidham came off the bench to score four points.

Bethany Tackett’s 14 points led 1-2 Belfry. Emily Baker finished with 11 points.

The visiting Lady Cougars’ defense shut down Cordia early Dec. 9 rolling to an easy district win. Twelve players scored for LCCHS with four players scoring in double figures.

LCCHS held Cordia scoreless in the first quarter and led 28-0. The Lady Cougars, substituting freely, pushed their margin to 52-4 by the intermission and to 74-16 after three quarters.

LCCHS converted 16- of- 19 from the free throw line. Substitutes Emily Blair and Courtney Brock each knocked down a pair of the team’s six total treys.

Keisha Collins led 3-0 LCCHS with a game-high 14 points. Kelah Eldridge added 12 points with Julie Cornett and Emily Blair finishing with 10 points each. Courtney Brock, Kelly Adams and Kim Meade wound up with eight points each. Vannah Breeding scored seven points and Haley Whitaker chipped in with six points. Kelli Quillen scored five points and Kristina Bentley added four points. Cheyanne Stidham added two points.

Tonya Taylor led Cordia with 12 points and Hannah Anthony finished with 10 points.

Letcher Central 72

Pikeville 43

Led by the trio of Julie Cornett, Kelah Eldridge and Haley Whitaker, the visiting Lady Cougars shook off a stubborn Pikeville team late for a convincing win Dec. 6.

LCCHS jumped to a 22-14 lead after the opening quarter and then pushed their margin out to 37-24 by the intermission.

Pikeville, which was ranked third in the 15th region preseason ranking, returned four starters from last year’s 16-9 team. Led by sophomore guard Rachel Potter and senior guard Lindsey Isner, the Lady Panthers kept hanging around and trailed 48-37 entering the final quarter but LCCHS then applied the defensive pressure, and Pikeville turnovers resulted in easy baskets as the Lady Cougars pulled away for the victory.

Cornett led everyone with 24 points. Eldridge scored 16 and Whitaker finished with 11. Vannah Breeding added eight points and Keisha Collins five. Kristina Bentley chipped in with four points. Cheyanne Stidham and Kelli Quillen wound up with two points each.

Potter’s 20 points led 1-1 Pikeville. Isner finished with 15.



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