The 53rd District boys’ and girls’ tournaments are underway at Knott County Central High School in Hindman.
Both tournaments began Monday night with the Jenkins Cavaliers defeating June Buchanan, 62-52, to advance to a meeting Wednesday night with the topseeded boys’ team, Knott Central. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
In the girls’ tourney, June Buchanan easily defeated Cordia, 71-30, to earn a spot in Wednesday night’s 7:30 p.m. bracket against the top-seeded Letcher County Central Lady Cougars. The Jenkins Lady Cavaliers were defeated by Knott Central on Tuesday, 67-48, just before Letcher Central’s boys played second-seeded Cordia.
The boys’ championship game will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday while the girls’ title game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
With only one starter returning this year, the LCC boys surprised many by posting a 16-11 record. In recognition of the success of this season’s team, the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches (KABC) honored Cougar coach Robert Hammonds with the 14th Region Coach of the Year award.
Two LCC basketball players, seniors Cody Gregory and Kelah Eldridge, were named the KABC boys’ and girls’ 14th Region Players of the Year, respectively. Both players are now eligible to try out for the Kentucky All-Star squads that will compete against the In diana boys’ and girls’ All-Stars in this summer’s annual Kentucky Indiana All-Star Classic.
Letcher Central 70
Breathitt County 32
The visiting Lady Cougars closed out their regular season Feb. 8 with a convincing win over the Lady Bobcats. With the victory, LCCHS finished its season with a remarkable 24-5 record — including winning its final 12 regular season games — and the top ranking in the 14th Region heading into the district tournament next week.
The Lady Cougars, who defeated Breathitt County 70-46 just over a month ago, lost little time in taking control of this second matchup. Led by the early scoring of Kelah Eldridge and sophomore guard Cheyanne Stidham, LCCHS ran out to a 21-12 advantage by the end of the opening quarter. With seniors Vannah Breeding and Julie Cornett getting in on the fireworks, the Lady Cougars never let up, building their margin to 46-22 by the half.
In the third quarter, LCCHS’s defense limited Breathitt County to just six points and Cornett finished with 10. Senior center Keisha Collins added nine points. Kristina Bentley and Kelli Quillen scored two points each and Emily Blair finished with one point.