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Archives 01-28-2004

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Lady Cats stay undefeated in district play
Cats take sting out of Bees, fire out of Dragons

 

Lady Cats stay undefeated in district play

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff

Livingston Academy's Megan Thompson goes up for 2 points against Upperman's Lady Bees in the Lady Wildcats' 51-45 District 7-AA win on Tuesday, Jan. 20. Number 11 scored 11 points in the game.

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
Despite strong challenges by Upperman's Lady Bees and York Institute's Lady Dragons, Livingston Academy's Lady Wildcats remain undefeated in District 7-AA play at 8-0.

The Baxter team entered the Tuesday, Jan. 20 game at Livingston Academy intent on causing the home team fits induced by frenetic defense. The plan seemed to work as the Lady Bees grabbed a big early lead, but the Lady Cats clawed their way back to eventually take the lead. LA held a tenuous 15-14 advantage after the first period.

Coach Lesley Smith said, "We turned it over too many times, but we knew it was going to be a game like that. Their only hope against teams like us, and teams that are much bigger than them, is to make it crazy, and they did that.

"We had 19 turnovers, which is crazy.

"They put a lot of pressure on us. We handled it better as the game went along, and that's because it's something you can't simulate, you can't do it in practice.

"It was just something we had to get ready for and deal with it as we went along. I think we got better at it toward the end of the game."

Coach Smith's team settled down in the second round. The Lady Wildcats scored 14 more points, and held Upperman to 6 for a 29-20 halftime lead.

Though the Lady Bees remained within striking distance the rest of the game, Livingston never gave in. Upperman outscored LA 11-10 in the third period and 14-12 in the fourth, just enough to fall short and lose to LA 45-51.

Katrina Beechboard led LA in scoring with 18 points, including 8 of 9 on free throw shooting. Also scoring in double figures for the Lady Cats was Megan Thompson with 11 points, including a 3-pointer and a perfect 4 of 4 from the foul line.

Also contributing in the LA scoring were Kellie Thurman with 8 points, half from foul shots, Haley Mullins with 6 points, and Whitney Sells and Kasey Baltimore with 4 points each.

Megan Thompson led in assists with 5, followed by Thurman, Sells, Mullins, and Kristin Hoover with 1 each.

Kellie Thurman led in rebounds with 9, followed by Beechboard with 6, Mullins with 4, Thompson with 3, Baltimore and April Handy with 2 each, and Hoover and Sells with 1 each.

Katrina Beechboard led LA in steals with 6, followed by Thompson and Thurman with 3 each, and Handy with 1.

"We had some people step up," Coach Smith said. "Whitney Sells in particular played well, and Haley Mullins. Those two in particular, as young ones, are stepping up and helping us a whole lot.

"Some of our starters have been in kind of shooting slumps. They're having a hard time, so it's good that Whitney and Haley are stepping up now and doing well for us."

Upperman was led in scoring by Cody Brown with 14 points, including two 3-pointers, and Hillary Mead with 10.

Coach Smith was impressed with Upperman's youngsters.

"I think they're very scary for the future," she said. "They're playing a lot of ninth graders, just upperclassmen sprinkled here and there. Most of them are ninth graders, and they are all very talented. They can all do a little bit of everything, and some of them can do everything. They can shoot the 3, they can drive, they play great defense. I think they are very scary for the future.

"But I'm real happy with our freshman class right now. They're not playing a lot of varsity because our upperclassmen are so talented, but I think it will be a great matchup for us in the future. I don't feel like they are that much better than our freshman class, but I do feel like it will be a good matchup for us. I feel like we can challenge them, but I think they are going to challenge a lot of people too."

The Lady Wildcats travelled to Jamestown on Friday, Jan. 23 to play the Lady Dragons at York Institute.

"We played great," Coach Smith said. "We started well. Our defense wasn't as good early as it became later.

"Offensively, we didn't shoot very well. Our shooting's not back where we want it to be, but we did get some easy shots for people.

"Haley Mullins again came in early and scored some buckets, did a great job. Whitney Sells came in and scored 5 points in the first half. And Katrina got out of her shooting slump."

In the Dragons' dungeon, the Lady Cats led from beginning to end. Livingston went ahead 18-10 in the first period, followed with a 13-7 second period to lead 31-17 at the half, and finished with and 8-6 third period and 13-12 fourth to win 52-35.

"Defensively we did a great job," Coach Smith said. "York is known for their big, good post players. When Haley and Kellie got in foul trouble, I was real proud of April Handy and Megan Brown for battling, because they were undersized. We played almost 8 minutes with those two in there just defending the big kids, and they did a great job.

"April and Kasey Baltimore are two of our unsung heroes. They have jobs on our team that you don't notice, and they are very good at them. I mean, they're not our leading rebounders, they're not our leading scorers. They both get the toughest defensive assignment. They're just invaluable to us.

"April makes our offenses turn. She's probably our best box-out player." Coach Smith said that kind of play by Handy and Thurman makes it possible for players such as Beechboard to get rebounds.

"And Kasey gets our toughest defensive assignment on the perimeter. We played a matchup zone the whole game. She was in the paint and out of the paint to guard her girl like 500 times, and as fast as she could possibly go. This is the way it's supposed to be done.

"They don't get a lot of credit, and I think they're okay with that because they understand what their role is, and they know they're making us better."

Katrina Beechboard led LA in scoring with 22 points, including a 3-pointer and 7 free throws. Haley Mullins and April Handy each scored 6 points, Handy including 2 free throws, Thompson scored 5 points, including a 3-pointer, Sells hit a 3-pointer and 2 free throws to total 5 points, Thurman hit 4 of 4 on foul shots, Baltimore hit a 3-pointer, and Krista Clinard hit a free throw.

Thompson made 4 assists, Thurman made 2 assists, and Sells made an assist.

Beechboard led in rebounds with 9, followed by Mullins with 6, Handy with 5, Baltimore, Thurman, and Sells with 3 each, Thompson with 2, and Clinard and Brown with 1 each.

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

After hosting Pickett County's Lady Bobcats on Tuesday, Jan. 27, the Lady Wildcats will travel to Carthage to play the Smith County Owlettes on Tuesday, Feb. 3 in another District 7-AA clash.

"It's a hard place to play," Coach Smith said of the Smith County High School gymnasium. "They put so much pressure on us too that we turned it over too many times the first time we played them.

"We've got to do a better job controlling the tempo of the game.

"I think they were the first ones to try the ‘junk defense', the triangle-two, on us, and it kind of got into Katrina's head. It frustrated her early, and she only scored about 9 points.

"We have been working on that, and we will be prepared when they throw that at us again," she said. "I'm hoping we can have the same kind of team game, because they're going to try real hard to shut down Beech and to shut down Megan, and our other people are going to have to step up. Kasey did before. We've got to control the tempo."

 

Cats take sting out of Bees, fire out of Dragons

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff

Brandon Matthews gets a fingertip on the ball as he attempts to block an Upperman Bee's pass.

By LYNDON JOHNSON, OCN staff
The Livingston Academy boys basketball team swept their opponents last week, netting consecutive victories.

First, the Wildcats played Upperman High School's Bees at the LA gymnasium.

In the first period, LA went on an 8-1 tangent to take the early lead. Upperman would battle their way onto the board, eventually tying it up at 10, but the Cats would once again make a run, closing out the first quarter up by 6, 20-14.

The second quarter was a see-saw battle, with LA netting 10 points to Upperman's 9 to keep their lead at halftime, 30-23.

After a breather, both teams came out and hit the boards hard. UHS got fired up midway into the third quarter, managing to make up enough ground to put them behind by only 2 points at the end of the third, 46-44.

The fourth quarter saw Upperman try evermore to take over the lead, but it would not be. The Livingston offense got things cracking in their favor and never looked back, outscoring the Bees 21-12 in the fourth to make the end result Livingston Academy 65, Upperman High 54.

Brad West had a phenomenal game, scoring 30 points to lead scoring for both teams on the evening. Also scoring for LA were Wesley Puckett with 11, Tyler Livingston with 7, Wilson Cates with 6, Matt Reeder with 6, and Brandon Matthews with 5.

Livingston Academy Coach Danny McCoin said, "We played four quarters of solid basketball.

"It was a good team effort. We played great defense as a team, and we rebounded fairly well for being outsized like we were."

McCoin lauded his team for not losing its cool under pressure.

"We held on through some tough mental spots throughout the game," he said. "They'd cut it down to 2 or 3, and instead of panicking and bowing up, we just continued to play, and kept our head on straight and got the win."

The Wildcats then went on the road to face York Institute's Dragons on Friday, Jan. 23.

The first quarter saw LA outscore the Dragons by some 10 points, taking a sizeable lead of 22-12 after one.

York battled back a bit in the second quarter, but not nearly enough, outscoring LA by only 2 points to give the Cats the halftime lead of 32-24.

The Dragons again outscored Livingston in quarter number three, making 12 points to the Wildcats' 9 to make it 41-36 going into the fourth and final quarter.

The Wildcats came out and scored 2 more than the home team in that final stanza (16-14) to capture victory in Jamestown, 57-50.

Brad West once again led scoring for the Cats, making 16 points on the night. Matt Reeder followed closely behind West with 13. Cates netted 11, while the rest was tallied by Wesley Puckett with 8, Tyler Livingston with 2, and Brian Colson with 2.

"We got off to a great start," McCoin said of the game in Jimtown.

"Everybody chipped in. They kind of got on Brad a little bit more and covered him up, so Wilson and Matt Reeder sort of took over in the second half.

"It got a little nerve-wracking down the stretch. We missed some free throws and let York back into it. They hit a couple of threes on us.

"But when it really mattered, with about 30 seconds to go, we nailed the free throws and kind of iced the game on 'em."

After facing Pickett County High School's Bobcats in Livingston on Tuesday, Jan. 27, the Cats get a bit of a break, skipping the usual Friday night game then playing the Smith County Owls on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

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