Lady Cats tie for
1st place in regular season
Wildcats take on top district foes, prepare for
Lady Cats tie for
1st place in regular season
Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Katrina Beechboard hugs teammate Kellie Thurman while Jackson
County's Kristi Apple appears to pray after Thurman was fouled in
the final seconds of the February 10 game. After Thurman hit a free
throw to give LA a 1-point lead, Apple's prayer was answered as
she took a Marissa Hensley pass and put in a layup to give Jackson
County a 46-45 win.
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
Now, we get to the nitty of the gritty. The regular season is over
for the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats. The District 7-AA Tournament
will begin this week. The wheat shall be separated from the chafe.
The Lady Cats had the chance to be the outright top team in the
district when they played host to Jackson County last week, but
chance can go either way and chose to go to the Devils on Tuesday,
Jackson County gained the advantage early and held onto a 9-8 lead
at the end of the first period. Then, the Lady Cats took charge
with a 20-11 second period to lead 28-20 at the half.
The Lady Blue Devils edged LA 11-10 in the third to cut the Livingston
lead to 38-31. The Lady Cats surged to an 11-point lead in the game's
second half, but the Lady Devils kept chipping away until the LA
lead was gone and the teams were tied at 44 with less than a minute
The Livingston faithful jumped to their feet when Kellie Thurman
was fouled on a shot attempt with 11.6 seconds to play. Hitting
one of the two foul shots, Thurman gave LA the lead. But that lead
was short-lived as Jackson County's Kristi Apple dropped in a layup
to give the Lady Blue Devils a 46-45 lead.
Katrina Beechboard took one last shot for Livingston, but the ball
hit the goal and fell away.
Lady Wildcats Coach Lesley Smith said, "We led the whole game,
had a good lead, and our shots stopped falling. Possibly, we were
taking them too quickly.
"Our shots quit falling, and theirs started falling. They
were making everything at the end.
"Defensively, we played great the whole time," Coach
Megan Thompson led LA in scoring with 14 points, including two
3-pointers and perfect 6 of 6 free throw shooting. Kellie Thurman
scored 13 points, including 9 of 10 on free throws, and Katrina
Beechboard scored 11 points, including a 3-pointer. April Handy
scored 5 points, including 3 free throws, and Kasey Baltimore scored
Thompson and Handy made 2 assists each, and Thurman and Baltimore
each had 1.
Katrina Beechboard completed a double-double by pulling down 12
rebounds. April Handy had 7 rebounds, Thurman 5, Haley Mullins 2,
and Whitney Sells 1.
Beechboard had 2 steals and blocked a shot, Mullins blocked a shot,
and Thurman and Handy each had a steal.
The team was well supported by fans of the Blue and White who turned
out to pack the home portions of the Livingston Academy gymnasium.
"That was the most awesome atmosphere," Coach Smith said.
"I told the girls, so few players get to play in that kind
of an atmosphere, with so many people against you and the rest of
them just cheering like crazy.
"The fans were awesome, and they were definitely a part of
the game. They made a difference. And that was a big part of the
disappointment, too. That was hard for me and the players, too,
because we felt like there were so many people that cared, but we
let them down."
The loss marred a perfect run through District 7-AA by the Lady
Cats, forcing Livingston into a must-win against Upperman's Lady
Bees in Baxter on Friday, Feb. 13 in order to hold a share of the
LA jumped ahead 12-7 in the first period, then the Baxter team
struck back in the second with a 13-8 quarter for a 20-20 tie at
The Lady Bees kept on the attack in the third quarter and outpaced
the Lady Cats 13-9 to take a 33-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
This time, the Livingston team started chipping away, in big chunks,
with a 16-8 period for a 45-41 win.
April Handy and Katrina Beechboard each scored 12 points in the
game, with each hitting 2 free throws. Kasey Baltimore and Megan
Thompson each scored 7 points, each including a free throw, Kellie
Thurman scored 5 points, including 3 free throws, and Whitney Sells
scored 2 points.
Thompson led LA in assists with 3, followed by Thurman and Beechboard
with 2 each, and Baltimore with 1.
Kellie Thurman led LA in rebounds with 9, followed by Beechboard
with 8, Handy with 7, Sells with 5, Thompson with 2, and Baltimore
and Mullins with 1 each.
Thompson and Handy had 3 steals each, Beechboard and Thurman had
2 steals each, and Baltimore and Kristin Hoover each made a steal.
"I worried about that game because we were so emotionally
drained," Coach Smith said. "The Jackson County loss was
so hard for our seniors.
"Katrina really stepped up and scored 7 in the fourth quarter."
The Lady Cats closed out the regular season with home games against
Clarkrange and Cookeville on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 16-17. The
District 7-AA Tournament will be held in Tennessee Tech's Eblen
Center, beginning Friday, Feb. 20.
Team seeding was not complete at press time. Three coin flips will
be held to determine #1 and #2, #3 and #4, and #5 and #6. Livingston
Academy and Jackson County both ended with an identical 11-1 district
record. Upperman and York Institute both ended with a 7-5 record,
and Cannon County and Smith County ended up at 3-9 in the district.
DeKalb County closed out yet another season without a district win.
A loss of the coin toss would pit LA against DeKalb County in
a first round game at 5 p.m. Friday.
A win of the toss would give the Lady Cats a first round bye. Their
first game would be on Monday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. against the
winner of the #4 versus #5 game.
Coach Smith doesn't take any of the top teams in the district lightly.
"I think it's going to be a fight," she said. "In
any given night, the top four could beat each other.
"I feel like we are the most talented, but sometimes we don't
play like that.
"Playing against the same teams so many times, over and over
and over, and how familiar all of us are with each other makes it
so much harder to continue to beat people. We know each other's
strengths and weaknesses.
"Not much of anything would surprise me."
Wildcats take on
top district foes, prepare for tournament
Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Wesley Puckett tosses the hook-shot in last Tuesday's game versus
Jackson County High School. Puckett netted 10 points that evening.
By LYNDON JOHNSON, OCN staff
The Livingston Academy Wildcats made some of the final rounds in
their regular season play last week, facing Jackson County's Blue
Devils and Upperman's Bees.
On Tuesday night, Feb. 10, the Blue Devils visited Livingston,
bringing a load of Jackson Countians with them, in a heated contest.
In the first quarter, the Wildcats rolled out the welcome mat
in the form of a 17-11 lead. The Cats felt good and shot good, and
it showed in the opening period.
And then, the Blue Devils gasped at what was happening to them.
They came back, scoring 28 points to LA's 19 in the second to take
the 3-point lead at halftime, 39-36.
After the break, things slowed down a little from the pace of the
second quarter, but not much, with LA knocking down 18 points to
Jackson County's 14 to take a slim lead of 54-53 headed into the
That last quarter would be all LA. The Wildcats tallied 27 points
and held the Devils to 15 in order to take the big District 7-AA
win at a score of 79-68.
Brandon Matthews had a hot performance against the Devils, nailing
down 23 points for the Cats. Brad West made 20 points, and Wesley
Puckett made 10. Also on the scoring summary were Matt Reeder with
9, Wilson Cates with 9, Lance Ruble with 4, Tyler Livingston with
2, and Tyler Smith with 2.
Hot off the heels of that win, the Cats loaded up the bus to face
the district's number-one ranked Upperman Bees in Baxter.
The game started slowly, but good enough for the Wildcats, who
saw themselves on top after one at 7-6.
In the second quarter, while LA repeated its 7-point performance
from the first quarter, the Bees were busy as, well, Bees, scoring
some 16 points to take the authoritative lead at the half, 22-14.
The most well-balanced quarter of the game, however low-scoring
of a quarter it was, came in the third, with the Wildcats netting
11 to Upperman's 13 to head into the fourth down by 10, 35-25.
The fourth quarter saw the Cats score 7 yet again, while the Bees
knackered 17 of their own to win the game 20 points large, 52-32.
LA Head Coach Danny McCoin said, "At Upperman, we played bad.
We couldn't score.
"But of course, we didn't have Brad (West) or Brian (Colson).
It was a low-scoring game; we couldn't get any shots to go in."
Among Wildcats who managed to make shots go in, Brandon Matthews
led the pack with 10 points, and Matt Reeder almost doubled the
performance with 9 of his own. No other Wildcat scored more than
After playing their last regular season game in Livingston versus
Cookeville High School on Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Wildcats enter District
7-AA Tournament play at Tennessee Tech's Hooper Eblen Center on
Saturday, Feb. 21.
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