The Letcher Central Cougars, who have struggled to find success in a very competitive first half schedule, split a pair of games last week — losing at home 84-83 to Paintsville before going on the road the next evening for the win at Phelps — to raise their overall record to 4-12.
The Cougars visit Leslie County tomorrow evening, Jan. 18, and Estill County on Jan. 20, before hosting Knott County Central Jan 23.
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One night after losing a hard fought battle at home to Paintsville, the visiting Cougars rode the steady offensive play of junior guard Caleb Stidham to a hard fought 49-41 win at Phelps Jan. 10.
By winning, the Cougars snapped their seven-game losing streak and Phelps’ three-game winning streak.
The Cougars, 4-12, trailed 10-8 at the end of the opening quarter but led 22-19 at the break and 34- 30 after three quarters.
Stidham, who finished with a game-high 18 points, scored 14 in the second half — including 6 of 6 from the charity line to hold off the Hornets.
Trevor Hardin came off the bench to score seven second quarter points. Elijah Raglin finished with six points. Tyler Stacy and substitute Dalton Martin chipped in with five points each. Greg Kincer and Tyler Boggs wound up with four points each.
Keegan Bentley and Trey Francis led the 5-11 Hornets with 13 points each.
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The host Cougars closed a seven-point 79-72 deficit in the fi- nal minutes before tying the game at 81-81 on Elijah Raglin’s basket, and then had a chance to win in the final seconds on Raglin’s jumper, but the Paintsville Tigers survived for the 84-83 victory at Letcher Central Jan. 9.
Paintsville, now 12- 4 and ranked first in the 15th Region, was in command early — leading 27-12 after the opening quarter and 46-32 at the half mainly due to the Cougars’ mistakes.
The Cougars rallied in the second half, closing to within 64- 59 on Greg Kincer’s trey and free throws by Caleb Stidham late in the third quarter. LCCHS trailed 69-59 entering the fourth quarter.
Down the stretch, the Cougars’ defense forced Paintsville to finally miss some shots. The Cougars closed to within 81-79 on Stidham’s free throws and then tied the game at 81-81 on Elijah Raglin’s basket in the final minute. A three-point play by Mason Moore pushed Paintsville back on top 84-81 and Raglin’s basket cut the Tigers’ lead to 84-83. The Cougars received a final chance to win when the Tigers missed at the free throw line, setting up Raglin’s final shot.
Raglin led the 3-12 Cougars with 22 points. Kincer finished with 21 points and Stidham wound up with 15 points — including 8-8 at the charity line. Tyler Boggs chipped in with 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Tyler Stacy and Trevor Hardin finished with five and four points, respectively.
Mason Moore led the Tigers with a game-high 27 points. Seth Williams finished with 30 points and Colby Fugate wound up with 13 points.
Both teams shot the lights out. LCCHS made 29 of 47 field goal attempts for 62 percent while Paintsville made 31 of 54 attempts for 57 percent.