The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars stretched their current winning streak to seven with victories over Jenkins (Feb. 6) and Perry County Central (Feb. 9) at home sandwiched around a win at Estill County last Saturday afternoon to raise their overall record to 19-4.
With just four regular season games remaining, LCCHS coach Dickie Adams admitted overall he is pleased with his team’s development to date. “I’m not really happy that our two in-state losses are both to regional rival Breathitt County, but I am happy that we competed twice (in losing) to the two-time defending regional champions.”
The other two LCCHS losses this season were in a holiday tournament back in December to a pair of highly ranked teams in Tennessee.
“Our record is fine,” said coach Adams, “and I do have to admit that I’m pleasantly surprised by how quickly we developed and began playing together this season. I knew we had some good talent coming back who gained valuable experience last year, but two of our biggest surprises have been the development of Kelah (Eldridge) and Tierra (Baker). The way (eighth-grader) Kelah has developed and been able to play at the varsity level was a big surprise. I didn’t really expect her to be able to compete at the level she has. The other surprise has been the return of (senior) Tierra who quit playing after the 2007 season. She basically missed last year and the last two summers. Her return could have been destructive but it has not. She’s done a real good job blending in with the other girls and giving us valuable playing time off the bench.”
The Lady Cougars wrap up the regular season by hosting Knott County Central tomorrow night (Thursday) before visiting Hazard Saturday night.
“It is absolutely important that we win these final games because you always want to be playing well at the end of the season. Besides, Knott County beat us three times last year,” said Adams.
LCCHS beat Knott County Central 58-49 in Hindman on Jan. 24.
The Lady Cougars’ final home game will be against Wolfe County on Feb. 16, and the season finale will be at rugged Pike County Central on Feb. 20, a team that beat Knott County Central recently.
The girls’ 53rd District tournament will begin on Feb. 23 at Knott County Central. Hazard hosts this year’s regional tournament which begins the first week of March. The girls’ Sweet Sixteen will be hosted again by Western Kentucky University.
Letcher Central 67
Perry Central 37
Revenge is sweet and the Lady Cougars, led by the duo of Brittany Sexton and Tierra Baker, jumped on the visiting Lady Commodores early and never let up in beating Perry County Central for the first time since 2004.
Back-to-back treys by Sexton to open the game and Haley Whitaker’s 10- foot runner gave LCCHS an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes. Baker came in off the bench midway of the opening quarter and her steal and lay-up pushed the Lady Cougars’ lead to 15-4 at the 2:14 mark. LCCHS led 21-8 at the end of the first quarter.
LCCHS’s half-court defensive pressure handcuffed the Lady ‘Dores into 26 percent shooting in the first half as the Lady Cougars expanded their lead to 35-13 at the half. LCCHS led 56-18 after three quarters.
“I thought we played very well at times,” said coach Adams. “We had good defensive pressure on them in the second and third quarters. Erica Meade shut down their leading scorer (D.J. Shepherd was limited to just two points). We were very aggressive.”
LCCHS’s largest lead, 63- 24, came on Kelah Eldridge’s short jumper with 5:10 left to play.
Despite PCCHS’s 8-15 record this year, coach Adams said it is always nice to beat them. “The road to the Sweet Sixteen seems to have always been through them and even though they’re down this year, they’re still PCCHS.”
LCCHS had five players score seven or more points — led by Sexton’s gamehigh 14 points. Sharaye Kincer chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Baker finished with eight points and seven rebounds and three assists. Shannon Bays added three points and 11 rebounds. Haley Whitaker finished with seven points and five assists. Chloe Wynn wound up with nine points and three assists. Erica Meade finished with six points, Kelah Eldridge with five and Lauren Thomas with four.
Whitney Back’s seven points led PCCHS.
Letcher Central 70
Estill County 45 Junior guard Brittany Sexton’s early hot hand allowed the visiting Lady Cougars to take control from the opening tip in winning easily last Saturday afternoon at Estill County.
Sexton hit a pair of treys early and another field goal to push LCCHS to a comfortable 24-11 lead by the end of the first quarter. Sexton, who had four of LCCHS’s eight treys, finished with a game-high 18 points.
LCCHS, with junior forward Shannon Bays and freshman guard Haley Whitaker picking up the scoring slack, led 39-23 at the break and 53-35 after three quarters and then broke the game open down the stretch.
Bays and Whitaker scored 10 points each while senior forward Sharaye Kincer wound up with nine points. Tierra Baker and Kelah Eldridge chipped in with nine and seven points, respectively. Erica Meade finished with six points and sophomore Lauren Thomas added two points.
Letcher Central 72
The Lady Cougars had little trouble with Jenkins last Friday night. With 10 players breaking into the scoring column, LCCHS defeated Jenkins for the third time this season.
LCCHS led 21-1 after the opening quarter and then cruised the rest of the way. The Lady Cougars led 37-6 at the half and 56-21 after three quarters.
Kelah Eldridge’s gamehigh 15 points led LCCHS. Shannon Bays added 11 points and Haley Whitaker 10. Sharaye Kincer and Tierra Baker finished with eight points each. Lauren Thomas and Brittany Sexton wound up with five points each, while Chloe Wynn and Erica Meade chipped in with four points each. Eighth-grader Julie Cornett scored two points.
Freshman Kayla Stambaugh’s 14 points led Jenkins. Senior Nicole Revis scored 13 points while Katelyn Sexton and Mercedes Boggs chipped in with two points each. Heather Revis finished with one point.