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80 Years Ago

Archives 02-19-2003



Cats defeat Blue Devils in their own pit
Lady Cats torch Lady Blue Devils



Cats defeat Blue Devils in their own pit

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff

Wilson Cates cuts through the Upperman defensive alignment in Friday's win. Cates scored 10 points in the game.



This time last season, few envisioned that the 2002-2003 Wildcats would be threatening to defeat their seventh straight opponent in the midst of a late-season spurt.

But despite last year's rockiness, the Cats had scratched and clawed their way to a 16-8 overall record entering their contest against district rival Jackson County on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

With the struggling Blue Devils (6-13) hosting the District 7-AA match-up, common sense pointed to an easy victory for LA. But considering the fierce history between these two rivals, one could safely bet that no lead would prove to be insurmountable.

In the first quarter, Jackson County mounted a sizable lead, digging Livingston an early 21-15 hole. After lending the Devils the first bucket of the second frame, the Cats surged to a 10-0 run, stealing a slim, 25-23 advantage before extending it to a 9 point lead before the break.

After being outscored 29-14, Jackson County fought back in the second half, trimming the LA lead down to 5 by the end of the third quarter.

"We played pretty well," Livingston Head Coach Danny McCoin said. "I thought Jackson County played pretty well also. We had were kind of ready to run them out of the building in the third quarter, and we were playing real well. But then, all the sudden, they came roaring back."

Livingston continued to hold the comeback door open for the feisty Blue Devils in the final frame, with the netherworldly squad whittling the shaky Wildcats lead down to a single point in the fourth. After building it back up to a 5-point lead, Livingston seemed in control of their district destiny with only 4 minutes to play.

But Jackson County would not be denied, as they tied the game at 78 via an 8-2 run in the final 2 minutes. After gaining possession of the coveted last shot, the Wildcats milked the clock down to 4.4 seconds before Jamie Gurley was fouled, offering a chance for his team to claim a wild victory on the road.

After missing the first attempt from the charity stripe, Gurley found the net on his second shot, handing Livingston a crucial 79-78 road win in a devilish environment.

"We were lucky to hang on, basically," McCoin said. "But I was proud of our kids for hanging on, doing some good things late in the game, making some big shots, big free throws, things of that nature. It was a good ball game."

While Gurley's final point was the most important, his additional 34 points helped the Cats along to the district win. Gurley hit four 3-pointers, as did Brandon Matthews, who scored 19 points in the game. Matt Reeder netted 10 points in the winning cause.

Wilson Cates scored 8 points, Kyle Copeland scored 5, including a 3-pointer, and Brian Colson scored 2 points.

Coach McCoin believed that a late-season confidence boost was exactly what his team needed heading into the playoffs.

"Anytime you win a close one, he said, "especially with young kids, they get confidence. They're going to gain confidence so when it happens again, when they're in that situation, they'll be ready for it."

On Friday, Feb. 14, the Cats played host to newly crowned District 7-AA champion Upperman Bees, in the season's final district match-up.

The opening act of this Valentine's Day contest had 'defensive battle' written all over it, with Upperman staking a 10-8 lead after one. The Bees kept the entire LA offense under lock and key throughout the contest, holding the Wildcat scorers to just 18 points in the first half.

Senior Bee Lance Mathis equaled the gimpy Wildcats' first half output, showing no love to the Wildcat defense, as he scored 18 of his team's 22 first half points.

With the Bees holding on to a mere 4-point advantage, Livingston looked to close in at the start of the third frame. After scoring 5 straight, Livingston claimed a brief 23-22 lead that was soon evaporated by a pair of Upperman long-balls, which forced the margin up to 5 for the district champs.

After sustaining such a sting, the Cats couldn't catch up with the buzzing Upperman squad. The Bees outscored Livingston 40-28 in the second half to claim a 62-46 victory.

McCoin attributed the loss to a number of uncharacteristic deeds that his team would do well to avoid in order to survive the looming post-season rat-race.

"We didn't play our best basketball," he said, "but Upperman had a little bit to do with that. We didn't shoot the ball that great, we missed shots that we normally make, we made more turnovers than we normally make, and Upperman outhustled us on the rebounds. That Mathis kid killed us on the rebounds.

Gurley led all Wildcats with 12, with Reeder and Wilson Cates scoring 10 apiece. Kyle Copeland scored 8, including a 3-pointer, in the district loss. Brad West scored 4 points, and Cody King scored 2 points. In the winners' circle, Mathis was unrelenting, throwing down 36 on the reeling LA defense.

Livingston put the kibosh on the regular season on the road in their annual finale with the Cookeville Cavaliers on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Livingston Academy will host a first-round District 7-AA Tournament game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night, Feb. 22.



Lady Cats torch Lady Blue Devils

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff

The Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats gain control after a scramble for the ball in Friday night's win over the Upperman High School Lady Bees.



The Lady Wildcats enjoyed an amazing week as they beat the blue and the devil out of Jackson County on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

This was the first time since 2000 that the LA girls had beaten the Lady Blue Devils. As if that weren't enough, the girls also had a convincing victory over perennial foe Upperman High School on Friday, Feb. 14.

The game against Jackson County began on a bit of a different note than the last several times Livingston has played the team. It began with LA playing consistent, solid basketball on both ends of the floor and Jackson County just not being able to keep up. At the end of the first quarter, though, the Lady Wildcats led by only 4 at 12-8.

The second quarter showcased even more superb play by the LA girls, and the crowd was beginning to feel the possibility of Livingston actually beating Jackson County. LA continued to pull away and went up 28-19 at halftime.

The third quarter proved to be a little bit more solid for Jackson County as they made a little bit of a run to cut the LA lead back to 6 heading into the final frame, 41-35.

The Jackson County fans had a major reason to hope and LA had major reasons to worry as, in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Jackson County's Deanna Apple converted on a 3-point play to cut the lead back to 3 points. Apple had basically spent the whole night being shut down by LA's starting guards, Megan Thompson and Kasey Baltimore and scored well below her average for the game.

Lady Wildcats Coach Lesley Smith said, "I was impressed with our guard play. Megan and Kasey controlled the tempo for the entire game."

Despite this little run, however, it was LA that had brought the "A" game into the gym at Gainesboro, and they, seemingly effortlessly, went on an 11-5 run to take the lead at 52-43.

Jackson County made a pretty convincing try at a run toward the very end, but it was far too late to come back and keep the winning tradition alive.

The Lady Blue Devils were led in scoring by Alyssa Bowman, who threw up 18. She was followed by Marissa Hensley, with 12 points. Deanna Apple scored 8 points, Ashley Hopkins scored 6, and Courtney Childress scored 4 points. Jennifer Harris, Amanda Naff, and Kayla Olsen each scored 2 points.

Livingston Academy was led in scoring by Katrina Beechboard, who once again had a sensational game, scoring 20 points and going 8 for 9 from the free throw line.

Christen Cates and Megan Thompson each scored 10 points. Kellie Thurman and Kasey Baltimore scored 9 and 8 points, respectively.

Coach Smith said of Thur-man's performance, "Kellie had a great defensive game, she didn't allow a lot of points in the paint."

April Handy also added 2 points in the contest.

Coach Smith said of the victory, "I was elated. It was a huge win for the program. We played great defense and we proved that if we play well, we can beat anyone."

The Lady Wildcats moved on to perform a St. Valentine's Day Massacre on the Upperman High School Lady Bees. Livingston had already christened the new UHS facility in style on January 21, taking a pretty nice win. This time, on home turf, the Lady Cats did it again.

The game began with LA coming out to a commanding lead, hitting their shots and defending Upperman's.

The Lady Bees didn't hit a single field goal the entire quarter. All of their 5 first quarter points came from the free throw line.

Beechboard and Baltimore each hit a 3-pointer in the first frame, helping along the first quarter lead. The Lady Cats led by 12 at the end of the first period, 17-5.

Upperman opened up the second quarter of play by hitting their first field goal of the game. Livingston continued to be the better team throughout the quarter, and outscored the Lady Bees 19-13 in the frame. The halftime score was a still commanding 36-18.

The second half of the game was like all games that are incredibly lopsided. It's all played with reserves and played like everyone's ready for the time to expire so another game can be played; however, it does give fans some time to experience some high-quality basketball played by faces they usually only see warming the bench. Reserve play was particularly impressive, and Livingston still won quite decisively, 67-41.

Upperman was led in scoring by Danielle Kelley and Megan Simmons, who each scored 9 points. They were followed by Hillary Mead, Chelsey Taylor, and Cody Brown, who scored 6, 5, and 4 points respectively. Chaffin and McDaniel each scored 3. Tisdale scored 2 points in the contest to add up to their 41-point total.

Livingston was led in scoring by Katrina Beechboard with 25 big ones in the contest. Kellie Thurman and Haley Mullins each scored 8 points in the win. Kasey Baltimore and Christen Cates scored 6 and 5 points, respectively. Krista Clinard and April Handy each scored 4 points. Megan Thompson scored 3 points. Danielle Thrasher and Brittany Ray each scored 2 points in the victory.

Coach Smith said, "We played extremely well. Everyone played. It was kind of ugly, with too many turnovers.

"Katrina had a great game, with 25 points in 15 minutes. Megan Thompson and Kasey Baltimore played well once again, with no turnovers."

With Livingston Academy and Jackson County both having the same district record, each of their only losses against the other, a coin toss was to be held Tuesday, Feb. 18 to determine who will be the number one seed in the District 7-AA Tournament. The number one seed will get a bye in the first round of the tournament and will not have to play until Monday night, Feb. 24 in the second round of the tournament, which will be held at White County High School in Sparta.

Following the final game of the regular season on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Cookeville High School, the Lady Cats will either play on Fri., Feb. 21 at home against DeKalb County or start out on Monday, Feb. 24 with better odds of playing a less talented team.

Coach Smith said of the upcoming tournament, "Our defense is as good as it's been all season. We're playing really well right now and pulling it all together."




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