Whitesburg KY

Lady Cougars struggle after injury leaves bench shorter

Since winning their own Christmas tournament two weeks ago, the Letcher Central Lady Cougars have fallen upon hard times — losing four of their last five games including a tough one, 58-56, in overtime January 3 at Knott County Central.

LCCHS, which has struggled with a “short” bench all season, found itself with an even “shorter” bench when senior forward Kim Meade went down to a knee injury in practice the day before the loss at Knott County Central.

The Lady Cougars led the Lady Patriots 7-2 early, but then struggled with turnovers. KCCHS closed to within 11-10 by the end of the first quarter and then was able to hang on to a 24-23 lead at the half.

Senior forward Kelly Adams filled in for Meade and scored eight points in the first half and finished with 12.

Heather Slone’s layup with 3:44 left in the third gave KCCHS a 32- 27 lead, but Cheyanne Stidham answered for the Lady Cougars. Stidham scored seven of LCCHS’s next nine points as the Lady Cougars rallied to tie the game at 36-36 going into the final quarter.

Back-to-back turnovers by the Lady Cougars in the early minutes of the final quarter allowed the Lady Patriots to take their largest lead of the game at 47-40 midway of the final quarter, but the Lady Cougars refused to quit. Layups by Kelly Adams and Courtney Brock, sandwiched around a pair of free throws and a layup by Stidham, brought the Lady Cougars to within 50-48 with 58 seconds left to play. Brock’s pair of free throws with 29 seconds left tied the game at 50-50 and forced the overtime.

After Stidham’s layup with 2:31 left in overtime gave LCCHS a 53-51 lead, the Lady Cougars and Lady Patriots matched turnovers before Lexie Slone’s free throws tied the game. Kristina Bentley’s layup with 35 second left gave LCCHS a 56-54 lead. Jada Higgins made one free throw to cut LCCHS’s lead to 56-55 with 30 seconds left. LCCHS then turned the ball over and Kristen Waugh’s free throws with 17 second left gave the Lady Patriots the lead at 57-56. LCCHS then committed another turnover and Jada Higgins’s free throw with just three seconds left gave the Lady Patriots the 58- 56 win and first place in the 53rd District standings.

Waugh’s game-high 20 points led the 9-3 Lady Patriots. Stacy Stamper added 12 points and Higgins finished with 10.

Stidham’s 17 points led 8-7 LCCHS. Kristina Bentley finished with 16 and Courtney Brock with 11.

LCCHS visits 8-4 East Ridge Saturday afternoon, Jan. 10, with a 4:30 p.m. tip-off. The Lady Cougars travel to Breathitt County on Monday, Jan. 12. LCCHS hammered the 12-3 Lady Kats in the ARH Christmas Tourney.

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