The Letcher County Central High School Cougars (12-4) are scheduled to host region-leading Perry Central tomorrow evening (Thursday) in a showdown between the top two teams in the 14th Region.
The Cougars visit Estill County Saturday afternoon, with the tipoff at 2:30 p.m. The Cougars will have a rematch with Knott County Central next Tuesday (January 26) in Hindman.
Letcher Central 59 June Buchanan 49
The “Mighty Mites” of Letcher Central fatally swarmed the June Buchanan Crusaders 59-49 January 18 in a matchup for the top spot in the 53rd District standings.
JBS, with four starters over 6-3 including twin towers 6-8 Prince Anosike and 6-6 Idris Akinyemi, struggled all evening against the Cougars’ relentless defensive pressure which forced the Crusaders into numerous turnovers and hurried field goal attempts.
There were four early lead changes before junior guard Torell Carter’s trey broke a 9-9 tie inside the final minute of the first quarter and the Cougars never trailed again.
LCC led 14-9 after the first quarter, 31-22 at the half and 42-33 after three quarters.
The Crusaders began their comeback early in the fourth quarter by hitting the offensive glass hard. Akinyemi’s layup allowed
JBS to close to within 46-43 with 5:12 left. Akinyemi led JBS with 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Torell Carter stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws followed by a layup, and after a JBS turnover, he then muscled in another layup and LCC had pushed its lead out to 52-44 with 1:50 left to play. Carter then sealed the victory by converting 7/8 free throws in the final minute.
Senior guard Steven Silvers, the Crusaders’ leading scorer with a 17 points-per-game average, was held to 12 points on 5/14 shooting. Prince Anosike finished with 11 points but claimed a game-high 15 rebounds and 11 blocked shots — eight coming in the second half — when LCC refused to be intimidated and kept taking the ball to the basket.
JBS, now 12-5, outrebounded LCC 45-27, but the Cougars made up the difference by forcing the Crusaders into 21 turnovers and holding them to 38 percent field goal accuracy on 20/53 attempts.
LCC committed only 10 turnovers — six in the critical second half .
Carter’s game-high 35 points came on 12/24 shooting and 9/12 from the charity line. He also had team highs of nine rebounds and four assists.
Jordan Gregory scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds for the 12-4 Cougars. Elijah Raglin scored four points while Austin Banks and Gregory Kincer chipped in with three points each. Tyler Collins and Austin Caudill finished with two points each.
Letcher Central 58 Knott Central 46
On a night when leading scorer and rebounder junior Torell Carter was sidelined by health issues, the host Letcher Central Cougars defeated Knott Central 58-46 to snap a four-year losing streak to the Patriots.
Knott Central, the four-time defending regional champ, never led but managed a run late to close within 49-46 on sophomore Isaac Caudill’s free throws with 1:19 left to play.
The Cougars met the challenge by shutting down the Patriots the rest of the game and by converting nine of 10 free throws down the stretch.
Carter, who entered the game averaging nearly 28 ppg, was limited to just 21 minutes but still managed eight points and a teamleading five rebounds.
Senior guard Jordan Gregory took over in Carter’s absence. His back-to-back treys with 2:12 left in the first quarter pushed the Cougars to a 15-4 lead.
LCC came out ready to play from the start and, defensively, the Cougars forced the Patriots into nine first quarter turnovers which resulted in the Cougars building an 18-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Patriots’ struggles against the Cougars’ defensive pressure continued in the second quarter and resulted in Knott Centrail trailing 29-18 at the half.
The Patriots mounted a comeback in the third quarter by pounding the boards against the much smaller Cougars. Landon Noble’s trey with 1:34 left in the third quarter cut LCC’s lead to 40-32, but the Patriots still trailed 43-34 entering the final quarter.
LCC spread the floor offensively in the final quarter with Jordan Gregory taking over. Gregory, who had seven points in the first half, finished with a game-high 20 points, five assists and four rebounds. He was 3/5 from behind the arc and, as a team, LCC connected on 7/14 from three-point range.
The Patriots were 5/15 from three point range and 14/41 overall for 34 percent.
LCC was 18/43 for 42 percent.
Isaac Caudill’s 15 points led the 7-6 Patriots. Gannon Couch finished with 10 points and Landon Noble wound up with nine. Cameron Jones chipped in with five points and a game-high eight rebounds as the Patriots outrebounded the Cougars 30-28.
Austin Caudill scored 16 for the 11-4 Cougars, including 3/4 from behind the arc. Elijah Raglin finished with six points and Austin Banks with five. Jonathon Potter and Gregory Kincer came off the bench and added two points and one point, respectively.