Teams in the 54th District teams have been busy preparing for the 2020/2021 girls’ high school basketball season.

Hazard is the reigning 54th District girls’ basketball champion. The Lady Bulldogs knocked off Leslie County in the 2019/2020 54th District girls’ basketball title game.

A look at the 54th District girls’ basketball teams follows.

Leslie County: Perennial 54th District title contender Leslie County finished runner-up to Hazard during the 2019/2020 girls’ high school basketball season. Following the district runner-up finish, Leslie County fell in the opening round of the 14th Region Girls’ Basketball Tournament.

Leslie County will have to replace leading scorer Lexy Meyers (25.1 ppg), one of the state’s top players who moved on via graduation. However, Leslie County added Courtney Hoskins (16.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg), a sophomore guard who transferred from 54th District rival Perry Central.

Leslie County compiled a 19-13 record during the 2019-20 girls’ high school basketball season.

Senior forward Emily Bowling (11.0 ppg) as well as sophomores Iris Napier (G, 8.2 ppg), Baylee Davidson (F, 7.5 ppg), Emma Napier (C, 5.2 ppg) and Emily Napier (F, 4.1 ppg) return for the Lady Eagles.

Head coach Larry Sparks guides the Leslie County girls’ basketball team.

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Hazard’s Haley Caudill

Hazard: Reigning 54th District champion Hazard is reloading for the 2020/2021 girls’ high school basketball season.

Under the direction of head coach Josh Hurt, Hazard compiled a 19-11 record during the 2019/2020 hoops season, reaching the 14th Region Girls’ Basketball Tournament Semifinals.

Leading scorer Hayley Caudill (G, 16.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) is back for the Lady Bulldogs. Heading into her senior season, Caudill is among the top girls’ basketball players in the 14th Region.

In addition to Caudill, Hazard will feature senior Libby Danner (5.3 ppg) and junior Joanna Hagans (2.3 ppg).

Graduation didn’t spare the defending 54th District girls’ basketball champion. Hazard lost experienced players Hailee Mullins (12.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Desiree Sturgill (9.8 ppg) Tayler Riley (7.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg) to graduation.

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Perry Central’s Chelsey Napier

Perry Central: Former perennial 14th Region title contender Perry Central is still expected to show improvement under head coach Misty McAlarnis.

However, Perry Central must replace Hoskins, its leading scorer from the 2019/2020 girls’ high school basketball season.

Chelsey Napier (Sr., 9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Katie Dunnigan (Sr., 7.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg) and Emmalee Neace (So., 6.0 ppg) are back for the Lady Commodores.

A challenging regular season schedule awaits tradition-rich Perry Central in the upcoming campaign.

Perry Central compiled a 10-14 record during the 2019/2020 girls’ high school basketball season.

Buckhorn: Finishing near the .500 mark, Buckhorn ended the 2019/2020 girls’ high school basketball season 14-16. Buckhorn suffered a season-ending loss to Hazard in the 2019/2020 54th District Girls’ Basketball Tournament Semifinals.

Buckhorn finished winless versus 54th District opponents in the 2019/2020 girls’ high school basketball season.

Junior guard Kaitlyn Bowling (9.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is back for the Lady Wildcats. Bowling led Buckhorn in both scoring and rebounding as a sophomore during the 2019/2020 hoops season.

Along with Bowling, sophomore guard Cassidy Adams (8.4 ppg), sophomore forward Sheridan Combs (8.0 ppg), junior forward Brooklyn Riley (7.2 ppg) and junior center Brittany Daniel (7.2 ppg) are back for Andrew Blank-coached Buckhorn.

Sports Editor’s Note: The KHSAA Board of Control was meeting Wednesday November 18 to decide the start time of winter sports including basketball. The meeting was ongoing at press time, but the start of pushing basketball season back to a January 4 start date was something being discussed. We will update the KHSAA’s decision on our Facebook Page and in next week’s edition of the Hazard Herald.