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Archives 01-15-2003

Sports

 



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!'" he said.

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 halftime.

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 2 points.

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 opened arms."

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 School.

"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 offensively.

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 easy shots."

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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