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Archives 11-26-2003





Cats take two wins to begin season
First-game loss shows strength of LA Lady Cats


Cats take two wins to begin season

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff

LA junior Matt Reeder fires in a 2-point jumper in last Thursday's contest at the new Clay County High School gymnasium. Reeder scored 19 points in the game.

The Livingston Academy boys basketball team tipped off its season with two wins last week.

First, the team loaded up the bus to visit feline foes the Bobcats at Oliver Springs on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

Oliver Springs had to do without four of its players who were on the Bobcat football squad, which was still in the football playoffs.

The Cats pulled off a sound win thanks in large part to a hot second quarter, where they scored 19 points (to the Bobcats' 5) to lead at halftime 35-15.

After the second half was said and done, the Wildcats had won their first game of the season, 71-43.

Wilson Cates, called a "ball-handling machine" by The Tennessean, and Luke Eldridge led the team with 13 points apiece. They were but two of nine team members who scored during the contest.

"It was a good team effort," LA Boys Basketball Coach Danny McCoin said.

"Everybody got playing time, but nobody really stuck out individually because it was such a team effort. Scoring was well-balanced."

Coming off that win, the Wildcats packed up the bus again on the following Thursday, Nov. 20 to play at Clay County's spanking-new facility.

The larger court (the new Clay County gymnasium features a college-spec court) would have little effect on the effectiveness of the Cats, although the Bulldogs would put up a good fight.

Going into halftime, Livingston was down by a basket, and at the end of the fourth, the Wildcats just managed to tie the game up and force overtime play.

In overtime, junior Brad West would turn on the afterburner and tally up a total of 25 points on the game by the end of the contest, which was a victory for the Cats due in no small part to West's overtime performance. Of course, it didn't hurt that the Bulldogs seemed to get foul-happy in overtime, either.

At the end of OT, Livingston had christened the new Clay County gymnasium with a loss for the home team, 81-70.

"Brad West did a real good job," Coach McCoin said.

West led scoring for the game with his 25, while Matt Reeder scored 19. Six other Wildcats scored under 10 points in gameplay to further add to the scoreboard.

"Matt (Reeder) and Brian (Colson) both had 16 rebounds apiece, which is awesome," Coach McCoin said. "If we win the rebounds more like that, we'll be okay.

"We were behind in the fourth, and we had the opportunity to very easily squander it away and lose our composure, but we didn't. Brandon Matthews came in cold. He's got a bad ankle, but he may have tied it.

"There were a lot of fouls called. We adjusted," the coach said. "Basically, we stopped fouling, and Clay County didn't. They had two starters foul out, and we didn't lose anyone."

After traveling to Pickett County on Tuesday, Nov. 25, the Wildcats will play in the Papa John's Classic in Warren County on Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29.

"Pickett County will be a big game," Coach McCoin said. "They've got a real good player and a real good basketball team.

"We play Warren County in Warren County Friday, then we play Murfreesboro-Riverdale at Warren County again, and both those teams are going to be tough games.

"We've got a tough week of basketball ahead of us."


First-game loss shows strength of LA Lady Cats

Beginning the season with a loss is rarely a good thing, but losing by 1 point in overtime to a team the caliber of the Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats gives an indicaton of just how good the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats might be this year.

The Tuesday, Nov. 18 road game paired two teams with a couple of things in common.

Both teams had their 2002-2003 seasons ended by Seymour last spring, LA being defeated in the state tournament, and Oliver Springs, a top 5 team through the season, being kept from the state tournament. And both teams feature UT-Chattanooga signees LA with Katrina Beechboard and Oliver Springs with Laura Hall.

LA jumped ahead early in the game, leading 21-11 at the end of the first period, then turned on the cruise in the second to outscore the other Cats 15-13 in the second for a 36-24 halftime lead.

The Lady Wildcats put up another 15 points in the third period, but the Lady Bobcats scored 17 to narrow the gap to 10 points. Then things went badly for Livingston.

LA Lady Wildcats Coach Lesley Smith said, "They got really hot and we got cold. The pressure kind of got to us. The atmosphere, I think, got to us.

"They really outplayed us in the fourth."

Oliver Springs put on a late scoring performance unlike any the Livingston team has been used to.

"They had 23 points against us in the fourth quarter, which is unheard of against us, the way we play defense," Coach Smith said. "The kids were still working hard, some things bounced the wrong way."

The Lady Wildcats put up a respectable 13 points in the fourth, but the 23-point onslaught by the Lady Bobcats tied the game at 64 when regulation ended, forcing overtime.

LA scored 3 points in the extra frame, but Oliver Spring scored 4 to take a 68-67 win.

"Between the fourth quarter and overtime we missed five free throws, and a couple of them that would have iced the game," Coach Smith said. "So, we've spent a little time working on those, and talked about them a lot.

"That was a great team, and a tough atmosphere to play in. They've got a 74-foot court, which makes it a little bit harder when they start putting that kind of pressure on you.

"We turned it over too much," she said. "We had 21 turnovers, which is very uncharacteristic. We averaged about 13 last season.

"We let them speed us up. Maybe we learned a few lessons from that too.

"Things happened. And if you're going to lose one let's lose it early and get it out of our system."

Oliver Springs was led in scoring by Laura Hall with 27 points, followed in double digits by Kara Monk with 16 points, and Jessie Hackworth with 12 points.

LA was led in scoring by Katrina Beechboard with 24 points, including 4 of 6 from the free throw line. Kellie Thurman followed closely with 22 points, including three 3-pointers and 5 of 7 from the charity stripe. Megan Thompson also scored in double figures for the Lady Cats with 10 points.

April Handy contributed 4 points, including 2 free throws, Whitney Sells hit a 3-pointer, Kristin Hoover scored 2 points, and Kasey Baltimore hit 2 free throws.

Thompson led in assists with 7, followed by Handy with 3, and Baltimore, Beechboard, Thurman, Brittany Ray, and Haley Mullins with 1 each.

Katrina Beechboard completed a double-double by pulling down 15 rebounds in the game. Thompson had 7 rebounds, Thurman had 5, Baltimore had 3, Handy and Mullins had 2 each, and Sells had 1.

Thurman and Thompson each made 3 steals, and Mullins, Handy, Beechboard, and Baltimore each had a steal.

Beechboard blocked 2 shots, and Mullins blocked 1.

After traveling to Byrdstown on Tuesday, Nov. 25 to play Pickett County's Lady Bobcats, the Lady Wildcats will travel to play in the Thanksgiving Classic at Lawrenceburg. LA will play Obion County at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28, then will play McMinn County at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29.

"Obion County finished 5th in the rankings last year in double A," Coach Smith said. "McMinn County is triple A, and they were at the state in triple A. So, that's two pretty tough games right there.

"McMinn has great shooters, and great pressure. They pressure you all over the floor."

The Lady Wildcats will travel to Cookeville on Tuesday, Dec. 2 to play Cookeville High Schools' Lady Cavaliers, a tough Class AAA squad with high aspirations for this year.





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