For the first time since 2012, the Letcher Central High School Cougars are the regular season 53rd District champions.
The Cougars (15-5) earned the number one seed in the boys’ district tournament by defeating district rivals Knott Central and Jenkins last week.
The Cougars, who are unbeaten at 5-0 in district play, visit June Buchanan tomorrow night (Thursday), but the outcome of that game has no bearing on the Cougars’ top district seed.
June Buchanan, despite having the winningest record in the 14th Region at 16-6, will be the number two seed with a 3-2 mark in the district.
Knott Central, 7-11 overall and 3-3 in district play, will be the third seed. Jenkins, 1-20, is the fourth seed.
Cordia, which won the All “A” State Championship on January 31, is not eligible to compete in any of the KHSAA’s post-season tournaments this season.
Entering the final two weeks of the regular season, Perry Central (15-3) is the top-ranked team in the 14th Region and 24th in the current Cantrell Ratings published by the Lexington Herald-Leader. The Cougars are ranked second in the 14th Region and will host the Commodores on Sunday, February 14.
The Cougars visit Union (Virginia) this Friday evening will play at Allen Central (9-11) on February 9. The Cougars visit Breathitt County (14-11) on February 11.
Letcher Central 80 Powell County 54
The host Cougars used a stout defense and balanced scoring to down Powell County 80-54 January 30.
The Cougars broke away from a 7-7 tie midway of the opening quarter to lead 14-9 after the first quarter, 34-18 at the half and 51-35 after three quarters.
Junior guard Austin Banks, who led all scorers with 21 points, scored 14 of LCC’s first 21 points. He was 7/21 in field goal attempts — including 4/6 from behind the arc.
The Cougars’ defense set the tone early. LCC forced the Pirates into nine first-half turnovers, which the Cougars turned into 17 points the easy way. For the game, the Pirates were guilty of 17 turnovers while LCC made just 11, but only three in the second half.
When the Pirates could get a shot at the basket, they made a good percentage — 23/50 for 46 percent. LCCHS shot even better — 28/52 field goal attempts for 54 percent. The Cougars were 8/14 from behind the arc while Powell County was 4/12.
Austin Napier’s 17 points led the Pirates (8-11). Max Hernandez finished with 12.
Junior guard Torell Carter let the Cougars with eight rebounds and 19 points. Senior forward Tyler Collins wound up with 10 points and six rebounds.
Gregory Kincer scored six points and Nick Sergent added four. Elijah Raglin wound up with three points.
Jordan Gregory, Colton Yonts and Jonathon Potter chipped in with two points each.
Letcher Central 75 Jenkins 26
Host Letcher Central was able to rest All-Stater Torell Carter in its 75-26 win over Jenkins January 29.
LCC led 27-6 after the first quarter, 47-16 at the half and 62-18 after three quarters.
The Cougars forced Jenkins into 30 turnovers, which accounted for 52 of their total points.
Hayden Fleming’s 10 points led the Cavaliers. Justin Phipps scored nine points and Colton Bowling added three. Chad Fleming and Matthew Jessey scored two points each.
Jordan Gregory’s game-high 15 points led LCC. Austin Caudill and Tyler Stacy added eight points each. Trevor Hardin scored seven points while Nick Sergent and Colton Yonts finished with six points each. Skyler Yonts, Jonathon Potter, Tyler Collins and Dawson Seals scored four points each. Elijah Raglin tossed in three points. Gregory Kincer, Dalton Morton and Caleb Stidham wound up with two points each.
Letcher Central 60 Knott Central 47
Visiting Letcher Central withstood a late Knott Central rally to win 60-47 in Hindman January 27.
With 89 seconds left in a game that would decide whether or not Letcher Central would be the regular season 53rd District or would have to wait until its visit to June Buchanan on February 4, junior guard Austin nailed a trey after Knott Central had closed to within 50-44 and the Cougars never looked back.
LCC led 15-12 after the first quarter, 28-19 at the half and 39-34 after three quarters.
Senior forward Tyler Collins was selected the Alice Lloyd College/ Hometown 24 Player of the Game based upon his double/ double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Collins’s board work helped LCC outrebound the Patriots 39-24.
Torell Carter, who started slow, finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Gregory chipped in with 13 points and five rebounds.
With 5:20 left in the game and LCC up 48-34, the Patriots stormed back to close to within 50-44 and appeared to have all the momentum on their side. Austin Caudill, who was 0/2 from behind the arc, hit the trey that stunned the Patriots and allowed LCCHS to catch its breath and go on for the victory. Caudill finished with just the three points, but they were the three biggest points of his young career.
Austin Banks tossed in seven points and Elijah Raglin finished with four points and Gregory Kincer chipped in with two points.
Sophomore guard Isaac Caudill’s 15 points led 7-11 Knott Central. Kolton Hofsess wound up with 11points and seven rebounds.