For the first time in the 25- year history of hosting the WYMT Mountain Basketball Classic, the host Knott County Central Patriots took home the championship trophy.
The Patriots easily defeated Belfry in the opening round Jan. 10, rallied late to edge Hazard in overtime Friday, and then defeated Buckhorn in the championship Saturday.
Sheldon Clark, the top-ranked team in the 15th Region in this week’s Dave Cantrall poll which appears in the Lexington Herald- Leader, edged Letcher County Central in the opening round and then lost to Buckhorn in the semifinals Friday before defeating Hazard, 61-39, for third place Saturday.
The top two teams in the 13th Region battled it out for fifth place with Harlan County edging Clay County 74-72 in overtime.
The Cougars host 14th-ranked (13-4) Perry County Central tomorrow night, Jan. 19, before heading to Montgomery County to take on the Indians in the 9 p.m. nightcap of the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic.
The Cougars visit district foe Cordia on Jan. 24.
Sheldon Clark 43
Letcher Central 39
The Letcher County Central Cougars lost their opening round matchup Jan. 11 to the Sheldon Clark Cardinals after squandering an eight-point lead in the final quarter.
The teams were tied at 9-9 after the opening quarter but the Cougars, behind senior Kori Stewart’s efforts on both ends of the floor, moved in front 19-11 by the break.
Stewart finished with a careerhigh 20 rebounds and 12 points, with 11 rebounds and six points coming in the first half.
Senior Logan Johnson’s six third-quarter points keyed the Cougars’ offense and LCC increased its lead to 27-19 heading into the final quarter. Johnson finished with a game-high 16 points.
The Cougars, who had made only six turnovers through three quarters, rapidly self-destructed down the stretch by making eight turnovers — many unforced — against the Cardinals’ fourthquarter half-court defense.
Sophomore Justin Johnson’s layup gave the Cardinals the lead at 33-31 with 3:29 left to play — their first lead since midway of the opening quarter. Johnson led the Cardinals with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Despite the late unraveling, LCC managed to close to within 41-39 in the final seconds on Stewart’s layup but senior B.J. Moore’s pair of bonus free throws with eight seconds left iced the win for the Cardinals. Moore finished with 12 points — all in the second half.
Senior Kendall Ballou finished with seven points for the 10-7 Cougars. Cody Gregory added four points.
Clay County 78
Letcher Central 39
The Cougars were easily defeated 78-39 by Clay County in the consolation round of the tourney Jan. 12.