The Letcher County Central High School Lady Cougars stretched their winning streak to 11 straight and improved their overall record to 13-1 with Saturday night’s victory over visiting regional rival Leslie County.
“At times, we’ve played really well this year,” said Lady Cougar coach Dickie Adams, “but we expected to play this year but we just haven’t been consistent for an entire 32 minutes. We played our worse at times against the worse teams and we take spells where we can’t shoot. We need to get better — especially with some big games coming up in the next few weeks at Henry Clay at Montgomery County and Knott County and Breathitt County.”
A visit by district rival Knott County Central was postponed due to bad weather.
The Lady Cougars, who were ranked 26th in this week’s first Lexington
poll, host Jenkins Friday night before traveling to Lexington to play Henry Clay Saturday night in the Martin Luther King Classic.
Letcher Central 81
Leslie County 64
In Saturday night’s early season showdown between two of the top four teams in the 14th Region, the Lady Cougars, behind the scoring and rebounding of seniors Brittany Sexton and Shannon Bays and 24 points from freshman Kelah Eldridge, defeated the visiting Lady Eagles in impressive fashion and establish their claim as the top team in the 14th Region right now.
LCCHS used early defensive pressure to fuel a 9-0 run for an 11- 2 lead midway of the first quarter and led 20-12 heading into the second quarter. LCCHS led 41-28 at the half but then used another 14-0 offensive spurt for a 55-28 lead with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
With that big lead, coach Adams said it appeared his players lost their intensity and were content to coast for much of the rest of the game. “We were really good for about 24 minutes in tonight’s game but not the whole game,” said he said. “We played well in the first half and to start the third, and then we built the big lead and then we let them have a couple of scoring flurries and let them creep back into the game. I just wish we’d been more consistent.”
The Lady Cougars’ defense was unable to shut down Leslie County’s Hillary Moore. Moore, a 5-7 junior guard, entered the game averaging nearly 31 points per game and finished with a gamehigh 34 points on 14-of-14 from the charity line and nine-of-16 from the floor. Moore also led her team with nine rebounds and nine turnovers. Whitney Caldwell chipped in with 10 points.
Leslie County came into the game after having won the Lady Pirates’ Christmas Classic at Belfry. However, the Lady Eagles never consistently handled the Lady Cougars’ defensive pressure and committed 21 turnovers.
Both teams shot the ball very well with Leslie County making 21-of-47 for 45 percent, however, with LCCHS’s domination on the boards, Leslie County was limited to one and done most of the time.
On the other hand, by out-rebounding Leslie County 49-28 overall and 30-9 on the offensive boards, the Lady Cougars’ 42 percent field goal shooting on 32-of- 77 became insignificant because the offensive board work resulted in 25 of the Lady Cougars’ 81 points coming on second chance opportunities. This kind of cleanup on missed shots will beat a lot of teams, acknowledged coach Adams.
“We had good scoring balance tonight with three girls in double figures and two with doubledoubles, which shows we hit the boards and that is something we stress. Scoring balance has been one of the things we’ve done very well this year. We’ve had five different players score 20 or more (individual) points in at least one game this season.”
Sexton led LCCHS with a game-high 14 rebounds while scoring 23 points. Bays also had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Erica Meade chipped in with eight points, five rebounds and five assists while Haley Whitaker wound up with six points, four rebounds and nine assists.
Julie Cornett added three points and Colleen Goodsen scored two points.