The Letcher County Central High School Cougars’ eight-game winning streak was snapped last week by Mountain Mission (Va.) in the opening round of the Coalfield Clash Holiday Classic in Wise, Va.
The Cougars defeated John I. Burton (Va.) in the second round on December 29 before losing to Eastside (Va.) in the final round December 30.
The 9-3 Cougars played South Laurel Tuesday evening in the opening round of the annual eight-team week-long WYMT Classic at Knott County Central High School. The semi-finals and finals will be this weekend.
The Cougars begin a four-game home stand next week with critical district games against 7-5 Knott Central on January 12 and 10-2 June Buchanan on January 15. Buckhorn (6-8) visits LCCHS on January 19 and 10-2 Perry Central follows on January 21.
Eastside (Va.) 76 Letcher Central 73
Eastside avenged an earlier 71-37 thumping at Letcher Central on December 7 by outlasting the Cougars 76-73 in the final round of the Coalfield Classic. Eastside pulled off the upset by making shots — from both the free throw line (28/36) and from the floor (22/37 field goal attempts).
LCC led 12-9 after the first quarter but the Cougars’ shooting woes allowed Eastside to tie the game at 22-22 at the half. The Cougars’ shooting woes continued in the third quarter and Eastside pushed out to a 45-28 lead going into the final quarter. Eastside withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally by the Cougars, who trailed 70-61 with 1:37 left to play. LCCHS had a final shot to tie, but junior Torell Carter’s shot from behind the arc failed to connect.
LCC’s gambling defense forced 20 turnovers and came up with 11 steals, but Eastside took advantage of the Cougars’ gambling to dish off 16 assists which fueled their 60 percent shooting (22/37 field goal attempts). LCC shot just 41 percent on 27/56 field goal attempts. LCCHS was guilty of just nine turnovers.
Eastside, now 6-3, was led in scoring by Derrick Cusano’s 31 points and 13 rebounds. Boles and Counts added 13 points each.
Torell Carter led the 9-3 Cougars with a game-high 45 points. He also claimed 12 rebounds. Jordan Gregory added 10 points and Austin Caudill finished with seven. Tyler Collins scored six points and pulled down six rebounds. Austin Banks and Elijah Raglin chipped in with two points each. Gregory Kincer added one point.
Letcher Central 65 John I. Burton (Va.) 50
This game was much closer than the final score as the Letcher Central Cougars outscored John I. Burton 18-10 down the stretch to pull away for the 65-50 win in the second round of the Coalfield Classic.
LCC trailed early but led 20- 19 after the opening quarter and 31-28 at the half. The Cougars led just 35-32 early in the third quarter but a 9-0 run, with eight points by Torell Carter, pushed LCC’s lead to 44-32 with 3:52 left in the third. LCC was nursing a 51-46 lead midway of the fourth quarter before a 10-0 run extended the Cougars’ lead to 61-46 with 2:27 left to play.
LCC forced John I. Burton into 12 turnovers while limiting them to 41 percent shooting on 18/44 field goal attempts. LCCHS shot 44 percent on 26/59 field goal attempts.
Tate Adams led 3-3 John I. Burton with 21 points.
LCC’s scoring was more balanced with Torell Carter’s 21 points offset by 14 points from Tyler Collins and 10 from Elijah Raglin. Jordan Gregory tossed in nine points and Austin Caudill finished with eight points. Gregory Kincer scored three points. Carter and Collins claimed eight rebounds each as LCC outrebounded John I. Burton 42-27.
Mountain Mission 76 Letcher Central 65
The Letcher Central Cougars saw their eight-game winning streak snapped 76-65 by Mountain Mission in the opening round of the Coalfield Classic in Wise, Va., on December 28.
The Cougars led 12-9 early on senior Jordan Gregory’s trey but then fell behind 21-16 after the first quarter and 45-35 at the break. LCC trailed 59-53 with 1:40 left in the third quarter, but a pair of turnovers and missed free throws allowed Mountain Mission to extend its lead to 63-53 going into the final quarter.
The Cougars battled back and closed to within 66-61 with 2:39 left to play on Austin Banks’s trey, but three turnovers and three missed shots down the stretch allowed Mountain Mission to hang on for the win.
Dmytro Zdor’s 32 points (12/14 field goals) led 7-2 Mountain Mission. Oscar Tshiebwe added 17 points and 17 rebounds.
LCC’s defense came up with 11 steals and forced Mountain Mission into 24 turnovers, but the Cougars could not offset their 36-17 rebounding disadvantage.
Torell Carter led 8-2 LCC with a game-high 36 points and a team-high five rebounds. Tyler Collins chipped in with 12 points and four rebounds. Austin Banks and Jordan Gregory scored six and five points, respectively, and dished off four assists each. Austin Caudill and Elijah Raglin finished with three points.