After having a 14-game winning streak broken with a midseason three-game losing streak to regional powers Perry County Central and Knott County Central on the road and at home to 18thranked Breathitt County, the Lady Cougars have recovered to close out their regular season with a sixgame winning streak, including key victories over Knott County Central at home 10 days ago and in Jackson, over Breathitt County, last Wednesday night.
Letcher County Central High School enters 53rd District Tournament play this week with a region-best 22-4 mark.
Letcher Central 78
Pike Central 47
Freshman Kelah Eldridge’s game-high 25 points and senior Brittany Sexton’s 21 points and a game-high nine rebounds led the Lady Cougars to an easy win over visiting Pike County Central Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Hawks had been playing well late in this season and entered the game with a five-game winning streak.
The Lady Cougars’ defense and offensive rebounding were the early keys to the LCCHS victory. Senior forward Shannon Bays’s post-up jumper gave LCCHS an 8-0 lead with 6:23 left in the first quarter. Eldridge, who scored 11 first-quarter points, hit a running one-hander at the 4:07 mark to push LCCHS’s lead to 18-4.
PCCHS refused to quit and battled back to close within 23-15 before Eldridge’s second trey of the quarter gave LCCHS a 26-15 lead heading into the second quarter.
PCCHS hung around in the second quarter, thanks to excellent long range bombing (four-of-eight treys) and trailed just 43-30 at the break. The Lady Hawks were 11-0f-23 field goal attempts for 48 percent while LCCHS was 17- of-35 for 49 percent — including three-of-eight from behind the arc. LCCHS forced 11 turnovers while making just four.
LCCHS began to pull away in the third quarter. Sophomore guard Erica Meade’s 12-footer at the 4:58 mark pushed LCCHS’s lead to 56-35 and Sexton’s offensive stick-back at just over minute left in the third quarter gave LCCHS a 64-42 advantage heading into the final quarter.
LCCHS then ran off 12 unanswered points to open the fourth quarter to lead 76-42 with 3:49 left to play and coach Adams began wholesale substitution.
Pike County Central, now 11- 11, was led in scoring by senior guards Hannah Thompson’s 15 points and Holly Harris’s 13 points.
For the game, LCCHS was fiveof 12 from behind the arc to finish with 30-of-66 field goal attempts for 46 percent. PCCHS, sevenof 13 from three-point range, wound up making 17-of-43 field goals for 40 percent. LCCHS dominated the boards 43-23 and forced the Lady Hawks into 21 turnovers while making just 12.
Shannon Bays finished with 10 points and three rebounds while sophomore guard Haley Whitaker chipped in with six points and eight rebounds. Erica Meade and freshman Julie Cornett finished with seven points each. Freshman Keisha Collins added two points.
Letcher Central 77
The visiting Lady Cougars had little trouble winning at Hazard on Friday as 12 players contributed to the scoring — led by senior forward Brittany Sexton’s gamehigh 19 points. Freshman Kelah Eldridge chipped in with 15 and senior forward Shannon Bays added 11.
The Lady Bulldogs were unable to handle LCCHS’s defensive pressure nor could they keep the Lady Cougars off the boards. LCCHS jumped to a huge 29-7 advantage by the end of the opening quarter and then coasted the rest of the game — leading 42-16 at the half and 63-30 heading into the final quarter.
Vannah Breeding scored seven points for 21-4 LCCHS and Haley Whitaker added six points. Micca Boggs and Nicole Banks chipped in with four points each. Erica Meade, Julie Cornett, Lauren Thomas and Kaitlyn Collier finished with two points each. Keisha Collins scored one point.
Letcher Central 54
Breathitt County 45
This victory by the Lady Cougars over the 18th-ranked Lady ‘Cats, in front of a huge traveling LCCHS fan turnout at Jackson on Feb. 17, returned LCCHS to the upper echelon of the teams who could win a trip to the girls’ Sweet Sixteen that begins on March 10 in Bowling Green.
With their upset victory, the Lady Cougars broke a string of nine straight losses to the Lady ‘Cats that stretched back to LCCHS’ victory in March 2006 in the finals of the 14th Region tournament in Hyden. LCCHS’s victory also broke Breathitt County’s string of 60 consecutive victories against regional opponents.