Whitesburg KY
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Lady Cougars on road for 4

The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars’ participation in the prestigious Beech Holiday Tournament, in Hendersonville, Tenn., the weekend following Christmas provided his young team with a valuable learning and growing experience, said coach Dickie Adams.

“We got to see some really talented teams with several Division 1 players and we think we learned some things that will help up in the future. We lost to a couple of good teams (Brentwood and Upperman) who were ranked in the top 10 in the state of Tennessee. Both losses were to teams with good man-toman defenses that forced us into mistakes and then punished us some. We wanted to see how our team would respond and we never quit; we kept on competing and I liked that”

Following their back-to-back losses to Brentwood (61-29) and Upperman (80-51) on Dec. 27 and 28, respectively, the Lady Cougars rebounded to swamp Whites Creek (Tenn.) 79-44 on Dec. 29 with four players scoring in double figures — led by senior forward Sharaye Kincer’s game-high 22 points. Freshman Erica Meade added 14 points and eighth-grader Kelah Eldridge finished with 12 points. Junior forward Brittany Sexton wound up with 10 points.

The 9-3 Lady Cougars are on the road for their next four games — starting with district rival Jenkins this Saturday night, Jan. 9.

“We handled them handily in our holiday tournament (64-14 on Dec. 18) but we expect them to be better this time because they’ll be at full strength,” said coach Adams, “with the return of two of their best players — Nicole Reavis and Heather Bowling.” Reavis is a 6-1 senior and Bowling is a 5-10 senior.

LCCHS then travels to Betsy Layne on Jan. 12, and visits June Buchanan on Jan. 15, before a huge rematch in Jackson with defending regional champion Breathitt County on Jan. 17. The Lady ‘Cats edged host LCCHS 49-45 on Dec. 13.

“(Breathitt County) is a nice team and they’re having a good season,” said coach Adams, “and they’ve won some big games and we’re looking forward to playing them again.”

Letcher Central 75

Leslie County 48

Senior forward Sharaye Kincer’s efforts on both ends of the floor —18 points and 17 rebounds — led the Lady Cougars to a surprisingly easy victory over visiting Leslie County on Jan. 2.

Letcher County Central, with inside scoring from Kincer and junior forward Shannon Bays and outside help from junior Brittany Sexton and super-sub eighth-grader Kelah Eldridge, completely dominated a solid Lady Eagles team.

Leslie County, a team picked in the top four in the regional preseason coaches’ poll, struggled against the Lady Cougars’ defense all night. Kincer’s rebounding, defense and scoring — her lay-up at the 4:34 mark of the first quarter gave LCCHS an 11- 0 lead — led LCCHS to a commanding 21-8 lead by the end of the opening quarter and to a 41- 22 advantage by the break. LCCHS led 56-31 after three quarters.

LCCHS’s first-half defense limited Leslie County to just seven-for-31 shooting with 17 turnovers.

The Lady Cougars whipped the Lady Eagles on the boards on both end of the court, and coach Adams said he and his coaches had been talking before the game that more work on rebounding was needed in future practices. “We really haven’t done a lot of rebounding drills in practice for individuals but, as a team, we really rebound well. Sharaye (Kincer) and (Tierra) Baker make us a good rebounding team because they will go and get the ball out of their areas. No one has really hurt us rebounding this year.”

In addition to their harassing and disruptive defensive pressure, the Lady Cougars used great passing (17 assists) to produce 19-of-30 made field goal attempts in the first half before cooling off in the second half with a lot of substitutes in the game.

“I like it when we get lots of assists,” said coach Adams, “because you get to shoot a lot of lay-ups. We really moved the ball and we’ll improve even more as we get better and more comfortable playing together.”

Eldridge finished with 17 points and Sexton with 15 while Bays wound up with 11 points. Chloe Wynn and Haley Whitaker scored four points each while Lauren Thomas, Erica Meade and Tierra Baker chipped in with two points each.

Junior center Kayla Helton’s 14 points led 5-6 Leslie County. Sophomore guard Hillary Moore tossed in 10 points and freshman Tamara Crawford finished with nine points.

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