By: David Leveridge- Blogger for the 14th Regional Basketball Tournament.
Hazard, KY- The opening round’s of the Girls 14th Regional Tournament took place @ Hazard’s High School Memorial Gym. Two games were played tonight to open region competition. The first game featured the Breathitt County Lady Cats from Jackson, KY (the winner of the 55th District Tournament) taking on the Letcher County Central Lady Cougars (Runner up of the 53rd district tournament) From Whitesburg, KY.
The second game featured the Owsley County Lady Owls (winner of the 56th district) From Booneville, KY, taking on the Leslie County Lady Eagles (runner up of the 54th district) form Hyden, KY. Both games had exciting moments, but ultimately both games were decided by large margins. In the First game of the Region Letcher County Central advanced over the Breathitt County Lady Cats. The second game was won by the Leslie County Lady Eagles over the Owsley County Lady Owls. Both district champions went down in tonight’s opening round, and the 2 runner ups are one step closer to representing the 14th Region in the Girls KHSAA State Basketball Tournament , played next week in Bowling Green, KY.
Game 1 Recap: Letcher Central beats one of the Regional Favorite the Breathitt County Lady Cats.
Letcher Central was in control of the game from the opening tip of the Region. Letcher Central Scored the first 8 points of the game, Breathitt Come out flat and was unable to score the ball. Breathitt finally scored 2 points with 1:37 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Soon after the Lady Cats Scored, Letcher extended the lead to 9 points from a 3 point basket by Letcher Central. At the end of the first Quarter Letcher maintained a 10 point lead with a score of Letcher Central 14, Breathitt County 4. Letcher maintained a 10 point lead for most of the second quarter, the Breathitt Lady Cats couldn’t find there scoring in the first half. Letcher hit on several free throws. Breathitt County did mount a come back cutting the deficit to 8 with 1:15 remaining in the half. Breathitt was able to score another basket in transition off the Brewer made lay up , but Letcher Countered with a 3 point basket, right before time expired in the half.
The Second half in particular the third quarter was the most exciting of the game. Breathitt County come out of the half rejuvenated and picked up there intensity. The shots that wasn’t falling in the second half, started falling and Breathitt County was able to turn Letcher Central over and get in transition where they scored on several layups. Breathitt County cut the lead to 7 points with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter. Both fans bases were now into the game and supporting each schools student athlete’s . Letcher was forced to call several time outs, to settle down the Lady Cougars. With 2:55 remaining in the third quarter , Breathitt had cut into the lead even more, at this time it was only a 2 point game. Letcher Central 27- Breathitt County 25. The teams would then exchange baskets with neither team giving an inch. At the end of the third quarter Breathitt County had dwindled the Letcher lead down to 1 point. Letcher Central 38, Breathitt County 37. Breathitt girls did gain the lead for the first time in the third quarter with 1:13 remaining in the quarter. Starting the fourth quarter the game had the fell of a regional championship both teams continued to trade baskets, and the defensive intensity on Both sides picked up, with Both fan base’s cheering on their schools. Letcher went on an 8-0 run over a two minute span, this run left the Bobcats Gasped and searching for a way to come back with little time remaining in the game. The game turned into a free throw contest , with Breathitt County fouling to stop the clock. Letcher made the majority of their free throws and the game was put out of reach. Letcher Central Goes on to defeat the Breathitt County Lady Cats by 10 points Letcher Central 63- Breathitt County 53.
After the game Bluegrass Sports Nation interviewed Breathitt County Coach Wallace Bates. Coach Bates has been the Head Coach of the Breathitt County Lady Cats for the past 4 seasons. Coach Bates has had an outstanding career coaching the Breathitt County Lady Cats winning 4 straight district championships and always being competitive in Regional Competition. At the end of the interview Coach Bates relayed to Bluegrass Sports Nation that tonight was his final game. He is stepping down to spend more time with his son Wallace Caleb Bates who will be a freshmen at Breathitt County High School next year. Bluegrass Sports Nation was the first media source to break this story, and soon after the interview Coach Bates resignation hit social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Coach Bates has been a great coach and will leave a lasting impact for years to come to the youth of Breathitt County. Bluegrass Sports Nation would like to wish Coach Bates good luck on his future, endeavors. It has been great following you and watching you lead the Lady Cats.
Second game Recap : Leslie County Press wears down the Lady Owls,: Owsley County Gibson has 39 points but not enough to advance in the region.
Owsley County Lady Owls and the Leslie County Lady Eagles faced each other in the second game of the opening night of the Girls 14th Regional Tournament. The game was fast paced and both teams scored quick and often, Owsley County controlled the tip and was the first ones to get on the scoreboard. Owsley County is a very young team as they start 2 eighth grade students, Leslie is a more experienced team with most of the starters being either Juniors or Seniors. With 4:54 remaining in the quarter Owsley County was up to an early 6-2 lead over Leslie County. Leslie County was able to even the score with good shooting and forcing the Owls to turn the ball over. At the end of the first quarter Leslie County was leading Owsley County by 3 points, with a score of Leslie County 18- Owsley County 15. The second quarter consisted of each team trading baskets, but Leslie started making free throws and got out to an early 10 point lead with five minutes remaining in the half. Leslie County started pressing the Owls and played outstanding defense. The lead grew to 14 points with 3:32 remaining in the half. Owsley County’s Gibson was a force inside and when the Owls could break the press, Gibson was the primary scorer. At the half Leslie County was leading Owsley County by 14 points. Leslie County 46- Owsley County 32. Leslie County had 2 players already in double figure scoring Griffith 13 points, and Myers with 16 points. Owsley County Gibson had 20 points.
The second half resumed and Leslie County continued to impose its will, turning up the defensive pressure and forcing the Lady Owls to turn the ball over. Leslie county was able to get in transition and score on layups. With 2:51 remaining in the third Leslie County was up 16 points. Leslie County 61- Owsley County 45. With a large lead and a tired Owsley County team, Leslie slowed the ball down holding the ball for nearly a minute at a time. At the end of the third quarter Leslie County was up 13 points. Leslie County 63- Owsley County 50. Starting the fourth quarter the teams traded baskets and Owsley County attempted to make a comeback, however ever the Lady Owls would score Leslie County had an answer. With 5:45 remaining in the fourth quarter the game turned into a constant free throw contest on both ends. Owsley County’s Gibson continued to build on a great game. With 4:30 remaining in the game Gibson had scored 38 points in the game, she finished with 39 points. Owsley County was never able to cut back into the lead and the game, With 1:22 remaining in the game Leslie County maintained a 16 point comfortable lead . Leslie County 80- Owsley County 64. Leslie County scored 1 more free and won the game by 17 points. Leslie County 81- Owsley County 64. Leslie County Myers was MVP of the game finishing with 26 points, leading the team in scoring.
Scoring for the game :
Owsley County Lady Owls 64 Leslie County Lady Eagles 81
Gibson 39 points Griffith 21 points
McQueen 4 points Collet 2 points
Birch 3 points Mullins 10 points
Lynch 14 points Sparks 3 points
Murray 2 points Myers 26 points (MVP)
Johnson 2 points Simpson 8 points
- Mulliins 5 points
Johnson 2 points