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Archives 02-26-2003

Sports

 


Cats squeak by Tibers, advance in 7-AA tourney
Lady Cats advance to championship game

 

 

Cats squeak by Tigers, advance in 7-AA tourney

By KEVIN BURMEISTER, OCN staff

 

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff

Brad West, #4, sinks DeKalb County with a free throw in overtime Saturday night, to push LA forward.

 

Entering their highly anticipated season finale against Cookeville High School, the visiting Wildcats faced a mob of riled fans, but even without their starting point guard Wilson Cates, who was out with a stomach virus, the LA squad felt confident that the Cavs home court atmosphere was not enough to prevent a victory for the upstart Wildcats.

The Cavalier defense, on the other hand, decided otherwise, and proceeded to mop the floor with the whipped felines, winning a classic defensive duel, 48-37.

"I thought we played decent under the conditions," LA Coach Danny McCoin said. "We played great defense and held them to 48 points. Our offense never really got going. Cookeville has a big team, and they're a very good team. It was hard for our little guards to get shots."

After staking a 3 point lead at the end of one, Livingston's offense fell apart in the second quarter, placing them in a 22-16 hole at half-time.

The second half boded much of the same, with Cookeville outscoring Livingston 26-21 to produce the final tally.

Neither team's offense gave reason to impress, but Cookeville's meager production still outweighed LA's offering by the final buzzer.

"Cookeville didn't shoot worth a flip in the first half," McCoin said. "They shot a little better in the second half, but we sure didn't shoot well."

Coach McCoin believed that his boys were out of rhythm against the victorious Cavs, thus taking an ugly loss to the nose as a regular season parting gift.

"Jamie [Gurley] and Matt [Reeder] got most of the shots," he said, "and they had to because they're bigger kids. We just never could get into the fluid motion of the game."

Gurley led Livingston with 18, while Reeder chipped in 10. Dustin Ferrell scored 5 points, with Cody King and Brandon Matthews each putting in a deuce.

The second-seeded Wildcats looked to improve their fortune as they hosted their first post-season contest against DeKalb County on Saturday, Feb. 22.

With #7 DeKalb dwelling in the District 7-AA dungeon, Livingston took full advantage of their weaker opponent by the second quarter, building an ominous 17-point lead over the distinctly non-ferocious Tigers.

"It looked like we were getting ready to put them away," McCoin said of his team in the first half. "We were getting ready to cruise, and were playing well, playing really well."

The Tigers proved that Springsteen was right all along, as they failed to start a fire without a spark in the first quarter. But the Tigers eventually lit an offensive flame under themselves to pull within 6 by half-time. McCoin attributed the DeKalb turn-around to the Tigers' improved second-quarter shooting.

"We didn't start playing bad," he said, "DeKalb County just started playing better. They started making shots and hitting things and getting after it, and the next thing you know, at half-time it's a 6-point game."

Livingston tried their hand at pyro-self-motivation by putting the Boss' adage to use in the second half, once again building up a double-digit lead. Entering the final frame, LA led by 12, and, according to Coach McCoin, felt comfortable that the game was in hand.

But DeKalb County never said 'die', chipping away at the Wildcat barrier, and eventually breaking through with a 2-point lead with 28 seconds to play.

McCoin believed that, in that clutch situation, the only man for the job was Gurley.

"When your down, you go to your number one man,” he said. "You give him the ball and say, ‘Here it is. Let's jump on you and ride you.' And we've been doing that all year with Jamie. When we need a big bucket, we give it to him, and he takes care of us normally."

Gurley took it to the hole with 12 second remaining, and laid in the game-tying bucket to force an overtime period in the opening round showdown. Early in the extra session, the Cats jumped for the jugular straight out of the gate, pouncing to a 4-point overtime lead.

"I think that kind of set the tone,” McCoin said. "We had our confidence right then, and we weren't playing from behind. I think it put a little pressure on DeKalb. I think that was the biggest turning point in the whole overtime."

With the game slipping out of reach, DeKalb opted to foul Livingston guard Brad West, sending him to the line 7 times in overtime. But West was stoic, nailing 6 of his attempts, sealing the Wildcats' bid to advance in the district tournament.

"They put him at the line, hoping he'd miss," McCoin said. "It's great. Brad West stepped up to the call. He answered the call, and you can't say enough about it. It was awesome. It won the game for us."

Gurley deserved equal acclaim, scoring 37 points in the crucial LA victory.

The Wildcats continued District 7-AA tournament play against #3 seed Cannon County on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at White County High School. The winner will face the winner of #1 Upperman and #4 York/#5 Smith County in the District 7-AA championship on Friday, Feb. 28.

 

 

 

Lady Cats advance to championship game

By ASHLEY HUNTER, OCN staff

 

OCN file photo

Katrina Beechboard scored 17 points in last week's game against Cookeville, then followed with 17 points in the District 7-AA Tournament game against York Institute.

 

 

The Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats basketball team continues to be much like the popular Mazda commercial. They keep the "Zoom, Zoom, Zoom" attitude up as they will move on to the championship game on Friday, Feb. 28.

The Lady Cats lost their final game of the season to Cookeville High School on Tuesday, Feb. 18, but the team was all smiles, however, because they were seeded first in the District 7-AA Tournament, and got a bye out of the first round. When they finally did play, they got a little shaken up by the flaming York Dragonettes, but managed to pull out a victory.

In the game against Cookeville, the Lady Cavaliers started off red hot, going on a 10-0 run to start the contest. Livingston managed to match the Lady Cavs scoring for the rest of the quarter, with the frame-ending score at 15-5.

The Lady Cats managed to pull back a little in the second quarter. They managed to turn what was originally a 10-point lead into a 4-point lead at halftime. This burst in scoring all came from great team play by the Lady Cats, who managed to get offensive output from several different players in the quarter, plus two threes by Katrina Beechboard, who was recently selected MVP of District 7-AA.

Going into the third quarter, the Cavs were up 21-17. The third quarter was very much nip and tuck as the Lady Cats pulled the lead to within two four different times in the period. The Lady Cavs managed to hold their 4-point advantage for yet another quarter, though, as this time the score was 35-31.

LA continued to stay in the game throughout the beginning of the fourth quarter, but a good Cookeville offense and a lack of time on the clock to catch up forced Livingston into the loss, 54-41.

Livingston Academy Coach Lesley Smith, who was recently named District 7-AA Coach of the Year, said of the loss, "I don't think we were very focused. We didn't play very well.

"Our defense was okay, but our offense couldn't get going."

LA was led in scoring by Katrina Beechboard with 17 points, followed by Megan Thompson with 13, Haley Mullins with 4, Kasey Baltimore with 2, and Christen Cates with 1.

Following the end of the regular season, Livingston kicked off action in the District 7-AA Tournament with a second-round matchup against York Institute's Lady Dragons. What was seemingly projected to be a blowout win for Livingston, considering the final scores in the first two times LA and York met this season, quickly turned into a slugfest.

York, the #5 seed in the district tourney, knocked out #4 Upperman High School in the first round. They brought their "A" game to White County High School, packing some heat in their matchup with LA on Monday, Feb. 24.

The game began with Livingston skyrocketing out to a 6-0 lead. That skyrocket was stuck at the take-off position for a little while after that, though, thanks to the superior play of York's Brandi Brown, who scored 7 straight points and gave York a 7-6 lead.

LA then went on a 12-0 run to once again capitalize with an 18-7 lead over the Lady Dragons. Brown scored the next 4 points, to cut the LA lead down to 7, but a 3-pointer by Megan Thompson put the advantage back to 10 big ones.

LA continued to lead fairly comfortably for the rest of the half, going into the locker room at halftime with an 8-point lead, 26-18. York must have had some pep talk by Lady Dragons Coach Bruce Winningham at halftime, because following the intermission, those Lady Dragons came out living up to their name.

York scored 8 straight points to begin the third quarter, tying the score at 26. LA continued to press and appeared to be pulling away again, leading by 9 toward the end of the third quarter. It was York, however, scoring the last two buckets of the frame, and LA clung to a 5-point lead at the end of the third period.

York scored the first 4 points of the fourth quarter, but LA went up 6 points with a little over 3 minutes to go, with a 3-pointer put up by their bread and butter, Katrina Beechboard. York just didn't seem to want to roll over and die, though. Reserve player Jill Herren scored two straight buckets for the Lady Dragons and pulled them to within 2 at 46-44.

LA's Kasey Baltimore hit two clutch free throws to increase the LA lead to 4.

York's Sarah Pierce came down and hit a basket for York, but it was too late for the fire-breathing Lady Dragon as they lost to Livingston by 2, 48-46.

York was led in scoring by Brandi Brown. Brown, who did not seem to miss for the entire night, scored 18 points. She was followed by Jill Herren, who threw up 13 for the Dragonettes. The rest of York's scoring was a stepladder from 5, all the way down to 1 point. Those players were Bethany Ross scoring 5, Kristin Ross scoring 4, Sierra Qualls scoring 3, Sarah Pierce scoring 2, and Delane Allred scoring 1.

LA was led in scoring by District 7-AA MVP Katrina Beechboard. Beechboard put up 17 in the victory. She was followed by Megan Thompson, who scored 9 and was selected to the District 7-AA Third Team. Christen Cates and Kasey Baltimore each scored 6 points. Cates was selected to the District 7-AA Second Team. Baltimore earned an honorable mention in the ranking. Kellie Thurman scored 4 points in the game, and was also selected to the District's Second Team. Danielle Thrasher and Whitney Sells each added 3 points, both of those coming from 3-point buckets.

The Lady Cats move on to the championship game where they will play the winner of the Jackson County-Smith County contest played on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The championship game will be held Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at White County High School. Regardless of whether the Lady Cats win or lose the District Tournament, they will still move on to play at the Region 4-AA Tournament, beginning on Monday, March 3 at White County High School.

 

 

 

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