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80 Years Ago

Archives 03-05-2003



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



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 squad.

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 McCoin said.

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 game's conclusion.

Coach McCoin believed the only thing stopping his team from becoming victorious again is the shooting slide that is handicapping them beyond repair.

"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 runner-up spot


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 bout.

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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Wildcats baseball team ready to play

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 to it."

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, 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 pitching.

"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 Ward.

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, March 11.


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New Lady Cats softball coach has high hopes



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 up there."

The LA team shouldn't have too many problems, as they return eight starters.

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 the position.

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 catcher.

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 rains.

According to Coach Johnson, the outlook is pretty bright.

"Some of these girls have plenty of game experience and do well for us, 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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Wildcats soccer season starting soon


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 "young".

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 for $18.







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