Whitesburg KY

Lady Cougars will take court Saturday

After shaking off the school’s first losing record in 2008 — just two seasons after winning the school’s first regional championship — the Letcher County Central Lady Cougars came roaring back last year, thanks to a blend of talented youth and hard-working experienced role players.

With perhaps the best overall young talent in the 14th Region last year, LCCHS rebounded with a surprising 28-5 mark. However, the Lady Cougars were unable to prevent Breathitt County from winning its third consecutive regional title, losing 56-42 to the Lady Bobcats in the regional championship last March in Hazard.

Coach Dickie Adams will have to replace three of last year’s top eight players in Sharaye Kincer, a 5-8 senior all-everything forward, and Chloe Wynn, a junior who decided to give up playing, as well as Tierra Baker, a 5-8 forward.

Kincer, in particular will be very difficult to replace, according to Adams. “We’ll probably be able to replace her points and rebounds, but we’ll be unable to replace Sharaye’s tough rebounds and tough points and her leadership. That’ll be the biggest job I’ve got to do and, so far, we’ve not done it.”

Last season’s 13-player roster, which included four eighth graders, two freshmen and four sophmores, was indictive of that team’s youth. However, that group won the state AAU title in June 2008 and successfully defended that title this past summer.

As expected, with the returning talent and with the fantastic season this group had last year, fan expectations are at a high level again this season.

“That’s a fair expectation,” said Adams. “Many are picking us to be Breathitt County’s main competition this year. We battled them almost even last year until that last game and a return to the Sweet Sixteen r uns thr ough Br eathitt.”

Breathitt County, picked to win the region again this season, was 23-8 last year and is again led by All-Stater Kendall Noble, a 5′-10″ sophomore guard who averaged a double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds) last year. Eden Keeton, a 5′-10″ senior center, and senior guard Brianna Deaton also return. Both scored in double figures last year.

According to Adams, this season’s Lady Cougar team will be more guard oriented and with the talent he has returning in sophomores Haley Whitaker and Erica Meade and freshman Kelah Eldridge, he has the luxury of moving 5′-10″ Brittany Sexton, a threeyear starter at guard, inside to cre- ate all sorts of problems for slower baseline defenders.

Sexton, along with Noble and Keeton, were named to this season’s pre-season 14th Region Top 10 Players.

“Most of our returning experience is in our guards and moving Brittany (Sexton) inside is an effort to try and replace Sharaye’s points and rebounds,: said Adams. “We’re going to make every attempt to have our best athletes on the floor — regardless of positions they play.”

LCCHS’ last Sweet Sixteen trip was in 2006, but it has been Breathitt County ever since.

“It’s a long season and we’ll have to replace some (graduation) losses inside in order to compete for a regional title,” said Adams, “and a regional title requires that we learn to get the tough rebounds and the tough points. The road to a regional title will have to go through Breathitt County and we don’t want to leave that job to anyone else.”

The Lady Cougars will host their annual “panarama” this Saturday afternoon, November 21, at the LCC Gymnasium.

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