Knott Central outlasts Letcher Central in four overtimes to take 14th Region crown
HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Every time Letcher Central and Knott Central get together, it’s a good game. Tuesday night’s game proved that, as the Lady Patriots needed four overtimes to down Letcher Central, 86-79 and win the girls’ 14th Region championship.
The four overtime game is the second-longest game in girls’ KHSAA postseason history, only behind the 1994 district tournament game between Lincoln County and Boyle County that went to five overtimes.
“They had it going in regulation, then we come back and we had it going in the first overtime. They come back and both teams had adversity in foul trouble and foul outs. It was just a heck of a ball game, I’m glad I was a part of it,” said Knott Central head coach, Jeff Honeycutt. “Coach Baker, hats off to them and the Lady Cougars.”
“Letcher Central deserves huge credit. They fought hard and they’re a great team, but we knew we had to come in here. We couldn’t give up, we couldn’t be lazy on any play. So we just gave it what we got and we got it,” Sophomore guard Abby Maggard added. Maggard was named tournament MVP. She had 29 points on 6/10 shooting from the field. Maggard was 2/3 from three and a perfect 11/11 from the free throw line.
These two are no stranger to overtime games in the region title, as they went to OT in 2015 (Letcher Central, 47-46 in OT) and 2019 (Knott Central, 54-49 in overtime).
After 44 hard fought minutes, Knott Central put the Lady Cougars away thanks to stops and made free throws down the stretch.
The win also gives Knott Central head coach Jeff Honeycutt his 400th career win.
After a low-scoring first half in which Knott Central led, 18-11, both teams picked it up in the second half. Letcher Central trailed by one heading into the fourth quarter. The two traded buckets throughout the fourth quarter, with Keira Couch’s bucket with less than a minute to go tying the game at 42 and sending it to overtime.
In the first overtime, Kaylee Banks kept Letcher Central in it with a three off the glass to tie the game at 54. Knott Central’s final shot went begging to send the game into a second overtime.
Once again, the teams traded baskets in the second overtime. Loren Boggs’ layup with less than 30 seconds left gave Letcher Central a two-point lead. However, the Lady Cougars fouled Presley Fletcher with 4.1 seconds left and Fletcher sank both free throws. Boggs had a shot to win it, but her floater hit the front iron.
In the third overtime, Letcher Central faced adversity as their three top scorers in Kaylee Banks, Brooke Bates and Loren Boggs all fouled out. Despite that and trailing by five late in the third OT, the Lady Cougars fought back to be within three. Freshman Heidi Bentley’s three bounced off the rim three times before falling at the end of the third overtime to tie things at 75 before Knott Central pulled away in the fourth overtime.
The win gives Knott Central its fourth region title in five years. The Lady Patriots move on the Sweet 16, where they will take on Sacred Heart in the first game of the tournament on Wednesday, April 7th at 11 a.m. The champions out of the 7th Region played in the last game of the season last year, falling to South Laurel at Rupp Arena, 58-57 before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
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