Whitesburg KY
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LCC boys take district crown

The only thing more exciting than tournament time in high school basketball is — well, nothing is more exciting. And tournament time is here for the Letcher Central Cougars.

With a record of 19-7 the Cougars traveled to Hindman to take on the Crusaders of June Buchanan in the first round of the 53rd District Tournament. The Crusaders are a solid 18-9 team with one of the Stepp brothers still hanging around and Garrison Collins still holding down the middle. The Cougars own two victories over the Crusaders this season and you know what they say about how hard it is to win three times against the same team. And that is especially true during a tournament as important as this one.

The Cougars came out of the gate flat and seemed to be in trouble as the Crusaders jumped out early 6-4. A trey by Stepp increased the lead to 9-4. After two free throws by Ryan Brock, the Crusaders scored five in a row including another trey by Stepp to increase the lead to 14-6. Garrison Collins got two of his many blocks on the night in the quarter, and the Crusaders led after one, 21-10.

The lead grew to 13 in the second quarter but the Cougars would get it back to 11 at the break 31-20. The half was highlighted by five blocks from Collins for the Crusaders and 10 turnovers by the Cougars.

The Cougars woke up big time in the third as they usually do, and with the loser going home it was all or nothing. Cole Cornett opened the scoring for the Cougars on a little inside shot. Then Josh Proffitt came alive. He nailed a trey to make it 31-25 and then on the next possession he nailed another one and quickly it was a 8-0 run and the score was 31-28 Crusaders.

The teams traded buckets and, after another block by Collins, it was Eric Ison getting a block of his own. Devon Blair hit a trey and then on a steal he pulled up and hit a 10-footer to make it 35-33. Cole Cornett was fouled and made both of his free throws to tie the score at 35. Cornett scored again to give the Cougars a 37-36 lead.

What a quarter for the Cougars as they went on a 17-5 run and, fittingly, Josh Proffitt nailed another trey at the end of the quarter to give the Cougars a 40-36 with only a few seconds left in the quarter. But with Clint Stepp on the opposing team, you know he is taking the final shot of the quarter and he did just that and made the long range trey to pull the Crusaders within one at 40-39 after three.

Stepp open the fourth with another trey and June Buchanan was back in the lead 42-40. Devon Blair answered for the Cougars with a trey of his own and the Cougars led 43-42. After Garrison Collins scored inside for the Crusaders, the Cougars got on a roll. They forced the Crusaders into several turnovers and converted them into points. Blair hit two free throws and Charlie Banks, Logan Johnson, and Eric Ison each

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