Cats hold on to defeat Blue Devils 70-69
Lady Wildcats bedeviled by Jackson County
Cats hold on to defeat
Blue Devils 70-69
Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Brandon Matthews, #20, watches his 3-point attempt fall through
for a big LA score. Matthew hit seven from long range on his way
to scoring 27 points against Gainesboro.
By KEVIN BURMEISTER, OCN staff
As a precursor to an oncoming four-game road trip for the Livingston
Academy boys basketball team, the Wildcats took on the Jackson County
Blue Devils on Friday, Jan. 10 in the last home game before starting
off on the extended road trip.
The game was riveting from start to finish, with Jackson County
possessing the ball with 4 seconds to play in the game and down
by a single point. As the Blue Devil fired up an offering to the
basketball deities, LA Head Coach Danny McCoin did all that was
in his power to will the shot out of the basket.
"I was thinking, ‘Don't go in! Miss it, miss it, miss it!'"
McCoin's efforts proved not to be in vain, with the attempt drawing
iron, handing Livingston an emotional win.
"We got a little lucky," McCoin said of the 70-69 victory.
"He got a good shot and it just rimmed in and out."
McCoin believes the win has an incredibly positive effect on his
entire team. But specifically, he believes his younger players have
benefited the most from the victorious nail-biter.
"If we had lost that one, I don't know what we would have
done,” he said. "But now that we've won it, it just doubles
our confidence. Now they know they can win them, and they're not
gonna let it slip away at the end.
"It's gonna do nothing but help us."
The first period was a near even match, with LA leading 19-17
going into the second frame. Jackson County pulled ahead 30-28 before
The Cats retook the lead with a 22-15 third period to lead 50-45
going into the final round. Then the Blue Devils outscored LA 24-20,
but fell a point shy.
Freshman Brandon Matthews stepped up with 27 points, including
seven 3-pointers, to lead LA in scoring. Kyle Copeland scored 13
points, including a 3-pointer, and Wilson Cates also scored in double
figures with 11 points.
Dustin Ferrell scored 9 points, Cody Sells and Wesley Puckett each
scored 4 points, both including a 3-pointer, and Luke Eldridge scored
The win gave the Wildcats an 8-7 record midway through the season,
and with Livingston posting all of 11 total wins in the last two
seasons combined, history shows that the 8 wins is a drastic improvement
from past efforts.
"That is awesome," McCoin said of his team's record.
"Kids are playing well together, kids are getting after it.
"We have some good kids playing. Our young kids, we all knew
they were gonna be pretty good, and they are. We have some sophomores,
and throw in some seniors and some freshmen here and there.
"We just have some good talent, kids that play hard."
After an incident following the Papa John's Classic playing in
Kentucky in December, a number of players were suspended. They will
return to the LA lineup Friday, Jan. 17 at Cannon County.
"It's a mistake, kids are going to make mistakes," Coach
McCoin said, "and that's why adults are here, to teach them
and supposedly put them down the right path. And that's what we're
doing. When their punishment is over, they'll be welcomed back with
On Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Carthage against the Smith County Owls,
Livingston began a road trip that features three district games.
The Wildcats will then put their nerves to the test in the hostile
environments of district rivals Cannon County and Upperman High
"It's going to be interesting to see how we can play on the
road in the district," Coach McCoin said. "We're 4-0 in
the district, but all four have been at home, and that's a big advantage.
But we're not going to do anything different."
The road trip goes to Cannon County to face the Lions on Friday,
Jan. 17, then the Cats encounter the Buffaloes once again when they
visit Clarkrange for a non-district game Saturday, Jan. 18. Afterward,
they round out the road run with a district game at Upperman against
the Bees on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Lady Wildcats bedeviled
by Jackson County
Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
LA's Katrina Beechboard, #3, fires in 2 of her team-leading 19
points against Jackson County in Friday's home loss to the defending
state champion Lady Blue Devils.
By ASHLEY HUNTER, OCN staff
A hot Blue Devil first half was too much for the Livingston Academy
girls basketball team to overcome in their match at home versus
longtime adversary and current Class AA state champion Jackson County
on Friday, Jan. 10.
The game began with Jackson County putting on a shooting show.
It seemed as though everything they threw up anywhere near the basket
went in. If the game were a carnival, Jackson County would have
made enough shots to win the big teddy bear.
The Gainesboro team started the game on a 13-3 scoring run. LA
then took a time out, came back in, and sank a few buckets; however,
those few buckets only cut the Jackson County lead down to 17, 28-11,
to end the first quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same as the Lady Blue Devils
continued to shoot well and the Lady Wildcats continued to struggle
The Jackson County team outscored Livingston 21-13 in the second
quarter to take a 25-point halftime advantage, 49-24.
Lady Wildcats Coach Lesley Smith said of the first half, "They
started hot. They shot 71 percent in the first quarter. We didn't
play good defense and gave them easy shots. Any time that we would
come back and try to make a run, they would come back and make more
The second half was a little bit brighter for the Lady Cats. They
came back to outscore Jackson County 17-12 in the third quarter
and cut the lead down to 20 points. The Livingston Academy defense
seemed to have their heads on a little more straight and were not
letting Jackson County win any more carnival prizes.
The LA team continued to do the same in the fourth quarter, trying
to cut the lead down in any way they could. The Cats even outscored
the Blue Devils 14-9 in the final frame. It was just too little,
too late and the Devils took the big district win, 70-55.
Jackson County was led in scoring by Alyssa Bowman, with 18 points.
She was followed by Deanna Apple and Marissa Hensley with 14 apiece.
Courtney Childress scored 11 points, Ashley Hopkins scored 8, and
Amanda Napp scored 5 points in the win.
LA was led in scoring by Katrina Beechboard with 19 points. She
was followed by Christen Cates with 13 points, and Kellie Thurman
with 10 points. Megan Thompson scored 5 points, Kasey Baltimore
scored 3 points, Haley Mullins and Whitney Sells each scored 2 points,
and April Handy scored one point to round out LA scoring.
In review of the game, Coach Smith said, "We played a lot
better defense in the second half. We made them miss a lot of the
shots that they had been making in the first half.
"Our offense managed to calm down a bit and found some easy
shots for themselves. Katrina Beechboard and Christen Cates played
really well both offensively and defensively."
The Lady Wildcats began a road schedule Tuesday, Jan. 14 in a
district game at Carthage against the Owlettes.
LA goes on to travel to Cannon County on Friday, Jan. 17 to play
the Lady Lions in another district game, then travels to Clarkrange
the next day for a non-district game. Then the Lady Cats travel
on to Baxter to face perennial district foe Upperman Lady Bees on
Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Coach Smith said of the upcoming schedule, "We've got four
tough road games coming up, with three of them being district contests.
"We are going to spend some time working on defense. We can't
give up a lot of easy shots if we want to win."
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Overton County News
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P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570