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80 Years Ago

Archives 12-31-2003





Lady Cats take Jaycees Tournament championship
Wildcats finish 4th in Jaycees Tournament


Lady Cats take Jaycees Tournament championship

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff

Livingston Academy senior Katrina Beechboard looks for an open teammate in last week's 58-39 Jaycees Tournament win over then Brentwood Academy's Lady Eagles. Beechboard scored 25 points in the win. Brentwood Academy was ranked 3rd in the state before the game, and LA was ranked 4th.

The Tennessean's Midstate Top 10 Girls Basketball rankings listed Brentwood Academy at number 3 and Livingston Academy at number 4 on Monday, Dec. 22. The two teams took it to the court that night in the Jaycees Tournament.

So much for rankings.

After a close first half, the Lady Wildcats grounded the Lady Eagles in the second half to win 58-39 and advance to the championship game.

Lady Cats Coach Lesley Smith said, "Our first-half defense was terrible, but it was my fault. I had watched them, and felt we could pressure them, but we couldn't. And I stayed with it too long. I stayed with the press too long and they started getting easy shots that kept them in the game.

"In the second half, we went straight man, playing everybody exactly the same, and they couldn't score.

"That's a great team," she said. "I wouldn't be shocked if they were the Division II state champions."

Katrina Beechboard led LA in scoring with 25 points, including two 3-pointers and a free throw. Kellie Thurman scored 15 points, including 3 free throws, and Megan Thompson scored 11 points, including a 3-pointer and 2 free throws. April Handy scored 5 points, including a free throw, and Whitney Sells scored 2 points.

Kasey Baltimore and Katrina Beechboard each made 4 assists, Kristin Hoover made 2 assists, and Thompson and Thurman each made an assist.

Katrina Beechboard completed a double-double by pulling down 12 rebounds. Thurman had 5 rebounds, Handy 3, Thompson 2, and Brittany Ray, Sells, Hoover, and Baltimore each had 1.

Beechboard had 4 steals, and Haley Mullins, Sells, Hoover, Handy, and Thompson each had a steal.

April Handy blocked a shot.

The win placed Livingston Academy in the Tuesday, Dec. 23 tournament championship game against Oliver Springs, a chance for revenge for the double overtime loss that opened the Lady Wildcats' 2003-2004 season.

Lady Bobcats and Lady Wildcats swapped runs in the first period, with Oliver Springs having the slight advantage at 20-18 when the quarter ended.

Then Coach Smith made an adjustment. The Lady Wildcats poured in 21 points and held the Lady Bobcats to 11 to pull away 39-31 by halftime.

Close scoring marked the remainder of the game. Oliver Springs made many runs to close the gap, but could not regain the lead. LA took the championship with a 74-61 score.

"Wow," Coach Smith said afterward.

Then she gave credit for the win to the team's defensive play.

"Our defense was just outrageous," she said. "We had some breakdowns in the first quarter, giving up 20 points. Kasey Baltimore in particular, her job was to slow down Laura Hall. No one was allowed to help her. It was almost like she was playing one-on-one but she never got the ball. The other kids never got on because she was able to control her, and we stopped the other kids.

"The defense and the rebounding were huge."

The strong play of Oliver Springs to begin the game prompted Coach Smith to make changes to the team's original game plan.

"We did defensively, because their post players were shooting from the perimeter better than we expected," she said.

"We changed our offensive philosophy a little bit when they started getting into foul trouble. We started trying to go at their particular kids who were in foul trouble, especially with Kellie posting up. At first, of course we were thinking Beech, Beech, Beech, get it to her, get it to her, and then when they started having trouble with their fouls we started trying to get it in to Kellie."

The Lady Wildcats' big guns couldn't have done it alone. The LA supporting cast provided more than support in the win.

"We've got a lot of people helping us in a lot of different ways, and the team attitude tonight was totally different," Coach Smith said. "Our bench was really into the game. They were cheering. They were supporting each other.

"That is so huge. I mean, if you've got 14 people on the varsity, there are obviously people who aren't going to get to play. You can't always have that kind of chemistry, but I thought we had it tonight, in particular April and Haley. They have to split time, and they're each other's biggest cheerleader. That's amazing. That's what kind of family they are. April was huge down the stretch.

"Whitney Sells had a huge three in the second quarter, and she hasn't been shooting three very well. So, for her to miss two, and then come back and keep shooting it and finally make one, that was really big. I hope it's good for her confidence, but it was really big for the team at the time.

"Hoover came in panicky early, and then the second time she came in, she did a great job. So, they're learning.

"I think we'll get better and better as those kids get more experience."

Katrina Beechboard led LA in scoring with 26 points, including two 3-pointers and 4 of 5 on foul shots. Megan Thompson scored 20 points, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range and 2 of 2 from the foul line. Kellie Thurman scored 16 points, including two 3-pointers and 10 of 12 free throws. April Handy scored 9 points, including a free throw, and Whitney Sells hit a game-changing 3-pointer.

Kasey Baltimore led LA in assists with 7, followed by Thurman with 5, Beechboard with 2, and Thompson and Handy with 1 each.

Thurman had 2 steals, and Mullins, Baltimore, and Thompson each had a steal.

Mullins blocked 2 shots, and Thurman blocked a shot.

Laura Hall led Oliver Springs with 26 points, including two 3-pointers and 2 free throws.

The Lady Wildcats were next scheduled to play in the Greene County Bank Ladies' Classic, beginning with a game against Jefferson County on Saturday, Dec. 27. The tournament will play through December 31.

Coach Smith was anticipating tough competition throughout the tournament in Greeneville.

"Our bracket has, I feel like, the top three teams in the tournament. You've got Sevier County, and you've got us, and McMinn Central," she said before the tournament. "Of course, I feel like we're the best one. But it's tough. It will be important for us to have our young kids play some quality minutes.

"Our first round opponents are Jefferson County, and they're as good as anybody we play. It will depend on if we don't wear out and our young kids can really step up and help us."


Wildcats finish 4th in Jaycees Tournament

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff

Members of the 4th place Livingston Academy Wildcats are, kneeling from left, Wilson Cates, Brad West, Tyler Smith, Wesley Puckett, standing from left, manager A.J. Price, Lance Ruble, Matt Reeder, Brian Colson, Brandon Matthews, Tyler Livingston, manager Eddie Sells, and manager Sean Becerra.

Livingston Academy's boys basketball squad finished fourth in the annual Jaycees Tournament last week after falling to rivals Cookeville High and Pickett County.

First was the loss to CHS on Monday, Dec. 22.

Things looked good for the Wildcats, who got off the line in a hurry by outscoring the Cavaliers 19-11 after one.

Just then, Cookeville made a comeback, making a 17-point run to capture the lead in the second quarter before the Wildcats battled back to within 5 points to close the half at 28-23, Cookeville.

The Livingston boys would not be able to recapture the lead in the second half of gameplay, though they came close, closing to within 3 points early in the going.

After a close game by all accounts, the Cavaliers saw themselves ahead by 8 points, winning the contest 58-50.

The loss landed LA in the third place game to finish out the tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 23 versus Pickett County's Bobcats.

With big guy Brian Colson on the disabled list, the Wildcats still made a good go of things, starting the game by outscoring the Bobcats 11-6 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Bobcats would catch up to LA, thanks in part to the Wildcats fouling more frequently than Pickett County. At the end of the half it was PCHS 18, LA 14.

In the third quarter, the Bobcats really pulled away. Giveaways didn't do the Livingston squad any favors, nor did their lacking rebound statistics. When the Bobcats started winning the rebound, they started making lots of baskets, and it showed after the third, with Pickett County ahead 35-23.

During the fourth, LA would double their score and outscore the Bobcats, but it would not be enough, with the Bobcats taking home third place in the Jaycees Tournament.

LA was scheduled to play in the Harriman Christmas Tournament from Dec. 26-29, then play White County in Warriorville (Sparta) on Tuesday, Jan. 6.


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