Cats squeak by Tigers, advance in 7-AA tourney
Lady Cats take 7-AA tourney runner-up spot
LA Wildcats baseball team ready to play
New Lady Cats softball coach has high hopes
Wildcats soccer season starting soon
Cats slip in district
tourney, settle for fourth place
By KEVIN BURMEISTER, OCN staff
Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Brian Colson brings the ball around for Livingston Academy in Friday's
District 7-AA Tournament consolation game.
In the second round of the District 7-AA tournament, the Livingston
Academy Wildcats looked to put themselves in prime position for
a championship bid against Cannon County on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at
White County High School.
According to LA Coach Danny McCoin, the LA boys came out flat,
suffering on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
"We didn't play good," he said. "Woodbury outhustled
us. It was one of the first times all year that I didn't think we
really hustled that well, at least as well as the other team."
Coach McCoin's club started out the game with a 3-point lead at
the end of one, a lead that would be short-lived at best. The Livingston
defense could not hold back the Lion shooters, as they conceded
to give them a 24-22 half-time lead.
The same Wildcats woes proliferated the second half, as Livingston
was beaten in most aspects of the game during the final two quarters,
as Coach McCoin chronicled.
"We didn't rebound well," he said. "We didn't play
very good defense, and we sure didn't shoot the ball well."
The Cats failed to muster a comeback in the second half, being
left behind in a 62-52 tournament loss. Coach McCoin believed the
failure to shoot the ball effectively, teamed with Livingston's
inability to play solid defense against the fiesty Lion offense,
led to his team's debauching.
"We've been struggling shooting the last three to four games,"
he said. "That's a mental thing we just have to get over.
"Our defense was not good against Cannon County."
Jamie Gurley and Matt Reeder led the Cats in scoring, each netting
11 points. Wilson Cates followed with 10, as Kyle Copeland banged
in 9. Brandon Matthews scored 5 points, Dustin Ferrell scored 4,
and Cody King scored 2.
The loss placed the Cats in the consolation game against unlikely
competition: the #1 Upperman Bees. The Bees had suffered a loss
against York days earlier, and now faced an equally ailing Wildcats
Livingston exhibited an improvement in their energy level, but
it would prove to be equalized by Upperman's characteristic buzz.
"We came out and we had more energy, more hustle," Coach
Upperman's Bees were firing on all cylinders, with Alan Asberry
nailing four 3-pointers after LA pulled off the double-team in favor
of Lance Mathis.
"He came through for them," McCoin said. "That got
them going. We never did quite recover after that."
Livingston balanced out the proverbial scale of offense by offering
up a boatload of bricks in the first half, as they trailed 38-21
at the second buzzer.
"We were cold shooting," McCoin said. "We couldn't
make any shots. But they made some big shots."
Livingston managed to equalize the difference by matching Upperman's
28-point output in the second half, but still trailed big at the
Coach McCoin believed the only thing stopping his team from becoming
victorious again is the shooting slide that is handicapping them
"If you don't make shots," he said, "and you don't
play defense, you're going to lose. If you do one or the other,
you might win. It's a combination."
McCoin later elaborated on his team's scoring woes.
"The last three, four, five, or six games it's got us,"
he said, "and we don't have an answer for it. You can shoot,
and shoot, and you can talk about it, but it's just a mental thing.
When you get in a rut shooting, you just have to kind of work your
way out of it."
Wilson Cates led the Cats with 16 points in the tough loss. Matt
Reeder scored 8 points, Jamie Gurley scored 6, Shawn Gray scored
5, Luke Eldridge scored 4, Kyle Copeland and Cody Sells scored 3
each, and Dustin Ferrell and Wesley Puckett each scored 2.
The lone bright spot in the form of Jamie Gurley sparkled through
Livingston's rained-out parade, as he claimed All-Tournament honors
for the suddenly fourth-place Cats.
As the opening for the regional tournament, Livingston faced off
against Portland in White County on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Lady Cats take 7-AA tourney
By ASHLEY HUNTER, OCN staff
Do you remember the TV show Full House? Well, that house wasn't
nearly as full as the gymnasium at White County High School last
Friday, night for the District 7-AA girls basketball championship
game. Livingston Academy faced Jackson County (who else?) in the
The game began with neither team shooting very well. The game was
all about defense.
Livingston Academy Coach Lesley Smith said, "The first half
consisted of two teams playing great defense. If either one of us
could have started making our shots in the first half, it could
have been an easy winner for either team."
The score was tied at 6 apiece going into the second quarter.
In the second period the game continued to be incredibly close.
One team would make a little 4-point run and then the other team
would answer back with a little run of their own. The score was
tied four times during the second quarter alone.
The third quarter began with more of the same old song and dance.
One team would score and the other would fire right back.
A 3-pointer by LA's Katrina Beechboard midway through the frame
tied the score at 25. Jackson County quickly answered back with
a 3-pointer by Alyssa Bowman, and then 4 more uncontested points
to take the lead at 32-25.
They may call Allen Iverson "The Answer", but Katrina
Beechboard's trying to give him a run for his money. Following a
barage of Jackson County scoring, Beechboard hit another 3, to bring
LA within 4 at the end of the third quarter, 32-28.
The fourth quarter opened up negatively for Livingston Academy,
as Jackson County got the first bucket of the quarter, a 2 pointer
by 6-foot point guard Deanna Apple.
Livingston couldn't make anything out of the next possession, and
Jackson County's star Alyssa Bowman shot another 3 to put the Blue
Devils up by 9 points.
LA wasn't going to roll over and play dead, as senior Christen
Cates scored the next 4 points to pull LA to within 5.
If Beechboard was running to take over Iverson's title, Alyssa
Bowman was running pretty hard, too, as she shot yet another 3-pointer.
Following that shot, it was all downhill for Livingston.
With time running out and more than a few points to make up against
one of the better defensive teams in the area, LA had to begin fouling.
Despite some poor free throw shooting by Jackson County, they know
how to make them when it really counts, and they won by 10, 49-39.
Jackson County was led in scoring by Marissa Hensley with 19 points.
She was followed by Alyssa Bowman with 16 points and some big shots.
Deanna Apple scored 6 points, Ashley Hopkins scored 5 points, Courtney
Childress scored 2 points, and Amanda Naff rounded out the scoring
with a free throw.
LA was led in scoring by Katrina Beechboard, who put in 20 for
the Lady Cats, including two 3-pointers. She was followed by Christen
Cates, who scored 12. Megan Thompson put in 5 points, and Danielle
Thrasher scored 2 points in the loss.
Coach Smith said, "Jackson County made a 5-0 run in the third
quarter, and we never really recovered."
The Livingston Academy girls move on to play in the Region 4-AA
Tournament. This tourney, like the district championship, will be
held at White County High School in Sparta. If the Lady Cats win
the Monday, March 3 opening round against Macon County, they move
on to play Wednesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the tournament semifinals.
If the team wins that game, they'll move on to play in the championship
game on Thursday, March 6, at 8 p.m.
Coach Smith said, "We're going to work on things to stop the
other teams, and try to be as sharp as we can be."
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team ready to play
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
After a three-year hiatus, Pat Swallows will once again lead the
Livingston Academy Wildcats into a baseball season.
"I'm excited about it," Coach Swallows said. "That's
one of the reasons I wanted to get back into education again was
to coach. I'm not ready to give it up yet. I enjoy it so much because
I enjoy being around the kids. "I am excited and looking forward
Swallows left Overton County School System three years ago and
coached baseball for a two-year stint at Cookeville High School,
then took last year off. He now looks to add to his more than 400
wins back with Big Blue.
"I think we've got a chance to be very competitive,"
he said. "We haven't had a chance to get on the field yet,
so we don't know what we're going to do."
The wet weather has put a damper on meaningful practice.
"This is the worst spring I can ever remember,Ó Coach Swallows
said. "I mean, not ever getting on the field."
When the team does go out on Wildcat Field next Monday, March 10
against Celina, Coach Swallows will be fielding a team built on
"I feel like our pitching should be our most stable part of
the game right now, because everybody has had experience on the
mound from last year," he said. "They had a great year
last year under Coach Looper."
Former LA Coach David Looper guided the Wildcats to a District
7-AA regular season championship, going 11-1. The team bowed out
in the district tournament, finishing the year at 20-15 overall.
The 2002 team was led in pitching Kyle Copeland's 7-2 record and
Cody Sells at 6-0. The two are back this year.
Pitchers are only as good as the defense behind them, and Coach
Swallows believes this year's defense will give aid and comfort
to the pitching staff.
"I think our defense then will be the second thing, in my
opinion, that has an opportunity to be pretty good," he said.
Along with keeping the other team from scoring, a winning team
has to score runs. Coach Swallows is a bit concerned that his hitters
haven't been able to practice on the field.
"We've got some kids that can swing the bat. It's just that
you've got to see some live arms," he said.
"They've been working hard in the cage, off the tees, and
stuff like that, but until you see that arm, you never really know
what's going to happen in that part of the game.
"If we can put all three of those things together, because
the chemistry of the team is pretty good. They get along with each
other. They're all working hard. We've got some good senior leaders."
Though maybe not classified as sluggers, the Cats have a few players
who may make a long distance impact on the ball this year.
"We've got some potential," Coach Swallows said. "We've
got Matt Rooker and we've got Michael Poston, who are big kids that
have pretty good pop in their bats. Then you've got Cody King and
Kyle Copeland and Michael Murphy and Brian Colson who can also swing
the bat pretty well.
"And then we've got some contact people like Todd Rose, Cody
Sells, and Johnny Cyrus, another guy that's working hard."
Team speed is one aspect of the game where the Wildcats will have
to be smart rather than good.
"It's okay. It's not exactly like I'd like for it to be. It's
average," Coach Swallows said describing the team's running
ability. "We've got two or three kids with pretty decent speed,
and then everybody else is fairly average."
The team will open the season with four seniors: Kyle Copeland,
Michael Poston, Matthew Rooker, and Todd Rose.
Cody King, Chad Moody, and Michael Murphy are the only juniors
on the team.
Sophomores on the team are Brian Colson, Johnny Cyrus, Jimmy Davidson,
Shane Livingston, Jon Maynard, Chris Nelson, Cody Sells, and John
Freshmen hoping to make a contribution are Dustin Boles, Josh Coffman,
Andrew Dixon, Kurt Gilbert, Anthony Matthews, Brandon Matthews,
Tyler Smith, Tyler Thrasher, and Jamey Vaughn.
After the season opener at home next Monday, the Wildcats will
travel to McMinnville to play against Warren County on Tuesday,
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New Lady Cats softball
coach has high hopes
By ASHLEY HUNTER, OCN staff
Kevin Burmeister/OCN staff
Members of the 2003 Livingston Academy Wildcats softball team are,
front row from left, Althea Allred and Ashley Johnson, second row,
Heather Carwile, Whitney Sells, Ashley Howard, Lisa Reeder, Brittany
McDonald, Kristie Dillon, Jessica McDonald, third row, Nikki Rohtert,
Tiffany Pennington, Stasha Babb, Jessica Lee, back row, Coach Mike
Johnson, Andrea Borden, Ashley Mitchell, Whitney Walker, Aspen Allen,
Sarah Maynord, Bethany Greenwood, Casey Emerton, and Ashley McDonald.
The Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats softball team begins their
season this year with a new coach at the helm, Mike Johnson, who
has high expectations for the season and hopes to finish midway
up the district standings or better.
The team returns only two seniors this year. Fittingly, the two
seniors, Althea Allred and Ashley Johnson, play first and second
base, respectively. Coach Johnson intends to rely heavily on the
two seniors and hopes they will play well.
He said, "We'll go as far as our two seniors will take us,
and the others will have to step up and play hard to help us get
The LA team shouldn't have too many problems, as they return eight
This year's starting field looks something like this: Allred and
Johnson will play first and second base; third base will be played
by Andrea Borden; junior Bethany Greenwood will be the shortstop
for the squad; left field will be played by Sarah Maynord; center
field will be played by Aspen Allen; right now, right field is out
in left field, as Coach Johnson does not yet know who will be playing
Doing the pitching for the Lady Cats this year will be Ashley Howard.
Coach Johnson said of the pitching, "We're going to try to
develop a couple of young pitchers this year."
On the other end of the spectrum, Stasha Babb will be playing
The Lady Cats took the field for practice for the first time on
Monday, March 3, as Livingston Academy's softball field has looked
a lot like Dale Hollow Lake for the last little while, due to recent
According to Coach Johnson, the outlook is pretty bright.
"Some of these girls have plenty of game experience and do
well for us,Ó he said. "We also have a lot of good young talent
and a lot of good first year players."
The action begins Tuesday, March 11 with the 2003 season's first
game at Red Boiling Springs at 4 p.m.
Coach Johnson said, "They're a single A team, but a very good
single A team. It should be a big challenge for us."
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season starting soon
By LYNDON JOHNSON, OCN staff
Kevin Burmeister/OCN staff
Members of the 2003 Livingston Academy Wildcats soccer team are,
front row from left, Matt Myers, Westley Burnett, Andy Gunnels,
Jonathan McGill, Robert Brady, second row, Marco Lisi, Donovan Reid,
Ben Jolley, Cody Boles, Lance Ruanto, Graham Goodman, back row,
Alex Gunnels, Jeffrey Cummings, Brian McDonald, Jacob Pennington,
Wesley Puckett, and Drew Randolph.
"We're a young team," said Livingston Academy Soccer
Coach Ethan King of the LA boys team. "We've got a couple of
seniors, but some have never played before."
Despite adverse conditions in the roster, the Wildcats are fired
up for the start of regular season play, which commences on Tuesday,
March 11 at home versus Friendship Christian School.
While describing them as a "young team" could very well
be deemed debatable by some, (after all, the Wildcat players are
the same ages as those playing at other high schools) calling them
"inexperienced" might describe them more aptly.
Two freshmen are on the squad, Johnathon McGill and Matt Myers.
This doesn't lend itself to a mental picture of a "young"
(or, if you will, "inexperienced,") team, with some 17
other players on the roster who aren't freshmen, but the numbers
are deceiving. Several players in key positions have been put in
the precarious spot of filling in for seniors of yore.
"Donovan Reid and Brian McDonald are the only senior midfielders;
the rest are sophomores," Coach King said. "These sophomores
will see lots of playing time this year and will have to really
step up and play well. We think they can handle it."
The midfield isn't the only place green feet will be kicking the
ball. Both offensive and defensive ends of the field will see fresh
faces in tough places.
On defense, senior Joe Nigro is the veteran, but in the nether
realms of the net, at the position of goalkeeper, junior Drew Randolph
will be taking up netminding duties for the first time.
"He's a very athletic player," Coach King said of Randolph.
"We hope he's able to utilize that athletic ability in the
goal. So far, he looks good."
The offense is shaded somewhat green, as well. Led by senior Cody
Boles. The rest of the offense is what King again described as only
The soccer boys look to make the best out of a tough situation
this season. After the season opener on Tuesday, March 11 at home,
the team will have to get familiar with the lovely form of mass
transit that is the bus for a few games, playing a total of six
on the road.
The road trip of sorts starts at Mt. Juliet Christian on Thursday,
March 13, then heads to Smith County on March 25, York Institute
on March 28, Friendship Christian for an opening day rematch on
April Fool's Day, Boyd Christian on April 7, and finishes up at
DeKalb County on April 10.
After the long string of games on the road, the team gets to play
the remainder of the regular season on its home turf, right up to
district tourney time in May.
"We feel like we can be competitive in our district,"
Coach King said.
The Wildcat soccer team hopes for a strong turnout at their first
home game this Tuesday. Single game tickets will be sold for $3
this season, while a season pass to all home games can be bought
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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570