It’s round ball time again in the mountains and the Letcher Central Cougar girls’ team as well as the boys’ already have some games under their belts.
The girls are off to a 4-1 start, thanks in part to the new faces on the team as well as the returning players from last year. The girls were in action last Saturday at home against the defending 14th Region champions, the Lady Bobcats of Breathitt County. The Lady Bobcats were also off to a 4-0 start and are the pre-season favorite to repeat as champions of the region.
The Lady Cougars have not just won games, they have dominated teams including Belfry 72- 40 in their last outing. They are extremely young with two seniors, a junior, five sophomores, two freshmen and three eighthgraders including sharpshooter Kelah Eldridge. The Lady Cougars really struggled last season but this is a different team from last year and they look like they can make some noise in the 14th Region.
The game against the Lady Bobcats was an early game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Neither team was really into the game because of the early start, but the Lady Bobcats jumped out to a 12-8 lead early in the second quarter. After Breathitt increased the lead to 18-14, LCC Coach Dickie Adams inserted Tierra Baker for the first time this season. She was a key player on last year’s team and has been missed early on. She quickly scored inside to make it 18-16 Lady Bobcats.
Each time the Lady Cougars made a run the Lady Bobcats answered. The Lady Bobcats led 25-18 at the half and built on that to start the third. They moved out by nine as the Lady Cougars were ice cold from the field. The lead grew to 11, but eighthgrader Kelah Eldridge hit a trey at the end of the third quarter to cut the lead to 35-27.
The Lady Cougars were 9-55 from the field entering the fourth quarter. The Lady Bobcats moved out to a 12-point lead at 39-27, but the Lady Cougars would not quit. They scored the next six points to pull within six at 39-33. But Bobcat star player Kendra Noble took over and scored four points and the lead was back to 10.
After another free throw, the Lady Bobcats were in control. Kelah Eldridge nailed two huge treys to pull the Lady Cougars within five and then Brittany Sexton scored inside to make the score 48-45, but they were not be able to get over the hump as time ran out and fell for the first time this season, 49-45.
This was a big test for the young Lady Cougars, but they showed that they can play with the region’s best. The Lady Cougars were led by Kelah Eldridge with 11 points followed by Sharaye Kincer and Tierra Baker with 10 each.
Knott County 70
Letcher County Central 60
The Cougar boys team played twice last week. They hosted the Patriots of Knott County in a big district match-up in the first game of the week and then hosted the Cavaliers of Jenkins on Saturday night.
The Cougars were 1-0 after beating East Ridge to start the season. The Patriots were off to a 3-0 start. Knott County is a new look team this year with Tate Cox transferring in from June Buchanan to play in the back court with Stamper. They should be the best back court in the region if they can play together or if they can each get off about 20 shots a game because they both can light it up.
The Cougars started five seniors against the Patriots, Charlie Banks (Class 5A Player of the Year in football), Jordon Reynolds, Eric Ison, Devon Blair, and Josh Profitt. Both teams opened hot to start out. They traded baskets and the Cougars moved out 11-8.
Cox was unstoppable as he put in 11 in the first quarter. The Cougars got 6 from Eric Ison. Knott County led 17-13 after one. It maintained the four-point lead at the half 32-28.
Cox had 16 at the break and the Cougars were led by Charlie Banks with 12 and Eric Ison and Devin Blair with 8 each. The Patriots dominated the boards 20-10 at the half and their defense shut down sharpshooter Josh Profitt as he was held scoreless in the half.
Jordon Reynolds opened the third quarter scoring for the Cougars and, after Devin Blair was fouled on a trey, he gave the Cougars the lead at 33-32 early in the third. Tate Cox scored again and the lead changed hands again.
Cole Cornett would score a quick five points to give the Cougars a lead at 44-42 later in the third, but the Patriots still led 49- 48 at the end of three.
The fourth quarter started with a flurry. The Cougars tied the score at 50 but the Patriots hit two treys to go up 56-50. The Cougars had no answer for Cox as he torched the nets for 34 points and his backcourt mate (Stamper) hit for 19. They would build on the lead and pull out the victory 70-60.
The Cougars fell to 1-1 and the Patriots improved to 4-0. Charlie Banks led the Cougars in scoring with 20 as he was really a force inside. Devon Blair tacked on 15 and Eric Ison had a big game with 10.
The Cougars can play with anyone in the region and they played well against Knott County. The Patriots just hit the shots down the stretch and pulled out the win.
Letcher Central 93
On Saturday night the Cougars took on Jenkins in a county match-up that was over pretty quickly as the Cougars placed 13 players in the scoring column and led 48-13 at the half. The Cougars would roll 93-25 to improve to 2-1.
Josh Proffitt led the Cougars with 18.