Previewing the first night of the WYMT Food City Mountain Classic

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 3:28 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 3:30 PM EST
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HINDMAN, Ky. (WYMT) - The 35th annual edition of the WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic presented by Kentucky Farm Bureau and sponsored by ARH has arrived. Let’s take a look at the two Girls’ matchups that are on tap for this evening.

Belfry (0-1) vs. Knott Central (1-0) - 6 PM

Belfry is coming off a season where they finished 18-5 in the region last season and 21-8 overall. The Lady Pirates won the 60th district title against Pike Central, 72-38 but lost to eventual 15th Region Champion Pikeville in the region semifinals, 53-38. Head Coach Kevin Deskins has returned to the sidelines for his 12th season at the helm as the Lady Pirates bring back five seniors including guard Cushi Fletcher. Fletcher was the team’s second leading scorer last season, averaging 14.1 PPG. Belfry averaged 55.5 PPG last season while giving up 43.7 PPG. The Lady Pirates come into this matchup having dropped their season opener against Leslie County last Tuesday, 71-47. Senior Baylei Howard had a team-high 11 points against the Lady Eagles while Fletcher was the team’s other double figure scorer with ten points. Sophomore Jenna Sparks led the Lady Pirates in rebounds against Leslie County with nine.

The Lady Patriots finished the 2021 season with a 20-8 record (15-3 in region play) as the defending 14th Region Champions fell to Sacred Heart in the opening round of the Girls’ Sweet Sixteen, 64-32. Like Belfry, Knott Central returns their second-leading scorer from last season in Abby Maggard as the junior averaged 12.0 PPG. This is Jeff Honeycutt’s 13th season as the Head Coach of the Lady Patriots. Knott Central notched a victory in their season opener against Harlan County, 57-32 last Monday. Sophomore Kylie Gayheart paced the team in scoring with 15 points. Senior Brooke Mason (11 points) and sophomore Presley Fletcher (10 points) were the other double-digit scorers for the Lady Patriots against the Lady Black Bears. Fletcher also led the team in rebounds with five.

Leslie County (2-0) vs. Shelby Valley (2-0) - 7:45 PM

Leslie County had a stellar 2021 campaign, finishing with a record of 17-9 and 9-5 in the region. The Lady Eagles were eliminated in the 14th Region quarterfinals by Owsley County, 51-44. It is year four under the guidance of Larry Sparks for the Lady Eagles. Leslie County returns their top two scorers from a season in junior Courtney Hoskins (15.9 PPG) and sophomore Iris Napier (12.2 PPG). The Lady Eagles also have their leading rebounder from last season back this season in Emma Napier as the junior averaged 8.0 RPG. Hoskins had a game-high 21 points in the win against Belfry. Senior Emily Bowling tallied 17

points while Emma Napier and Iris Napier generated 14 points and ten points, respectively. Iris Napier also led the way in rebounding with nine rebounds. Hoskins spearheaded the scoring once again in the win against Powell County with 16 points. Iris Napier (15 points) and Bowling (14 points) were the other double-figure scorers against the Lady Pirates. Emma Napier and junior Baylee Davidson had a team-high 12 rebounds apiece.

The Lady Kats finished with a 11-6 record in the region and 12-11 overall last season as they fell to Johnson Central in the region quarterfinals, 50-39. This is Lonnie Rowe’s fourth season leading the charge for Shelby Valley. The Lady Kats return all three of their top scorers from last season in seniors Alyssa Elswick (15.4 PPG) and Cassidy Rowe (12.9 PPG) and junior Kyra Looney (10.0 PPG). Elswick was also the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 6.5 RPG. Rowe and Elswick co-led the team in scoring against Hazard with 14 points each while Looney also pitched in with 11 points. Sophomore Zoee Johnson had a team-high seven rebounds. Rowe had a team-high 21 points while Elswick recorded a double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) in the victory against Pike Central. Looney had 10 points while Johnson was the team’s other double-digit rebounder with ten.

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