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Archives 12-08-2004

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LA boys off to winning start, girls struggling








LA boys off to winning start, girls struggling

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
LA's Brandon Matthews, #20, goes up for a shot against Cookeville on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
After losing their first game last week to a powerful Cooke-ville squad on Tuesday, Nov. 30, Livingston Academy Head Boys Basketball Coach Danny McCoin pointed out that he was very disappointed with his team's movement and unforced turnovers. By the end of the week and two victories later, the coach could definitely see his team moving in the right direction.

Senior Brad West observed after the one-sided 60-37 setback, "We just weren't moving the ball at all. Cookeville is a very good team (5-0), but we just kinda stood around and couldn't get anything going, and that was because we simply didn't move the ball."

The week may have started badly for the Wildcats, but by late Saturday night, they had picked up two impressive wins, a district victory included, and moved their record to 4-1.

A 60-41 victory on the road over district foe York Institute got things rolling, then a very strong showing Saturday night at home sent David Lipscomb back to Nashville carrying a 73-61 defeat.

"Tonight we moved the ball and you could see what a difference it made," West commented Saturday. "We also did it against York. This is what we can do when we stay aggressive, get the ball up and down the floor, and make good shot selection."

And shot selection was a big part of the two wins. Against York on Friday, Dec. 3, seven LA players scored, paced by West's 15 markers and Matt Reeder's 12. As a team, the Wildcats shot 52 percent from the floor.

Coach McCoin said, "That was a good win against a good team. I was well pleased with just about every aspect of our game tonight, especially the way we kept the ball moving, and we were extremely strong on defense.

"The team is getting into the mood we want them in, and that's important. It's early in the season, but tonight we looked like a very experienced team."

If they looked good on Friday, they were in picture form Saturday against Lipscomb. The Mustangs always put a strong team on the floor, but they could not deal with the pumped up Wildcats.

Livingston Academy jumped out to a 21-12 lead at the end of the first period, but fell behind in the second period before taking a 35-31 lead to the locker room at intermission.

Things stayed close through the third period, but in the final period, Brandon Matthews got the hot hand from long range with two straight 3-pointers, Wilson Cates added another, Matt Reeder took charge under the basket, and the Wildcats ran off 8 unanswered points to cruise to the 81-69 victory.

"I just found the range and they came easy," Matthews explained after the game. "When you get that feeling, you have to shoot, and that's what I did."

Matthews paced all scorers with 21 points while Cates added 19, many from the free throw line late in the game when the Mustangs had to foul in hopes of getting the ball. West had 15 and Reeder added 10. As a team, the Wildcats shot 63 percent from the floor and made good on 10 of 17 3-point tries.

McCoin said, "It was a very good effort on our part against a good team. Reeder was impressive inside and Brandon (Matthews) and Brad (West) found the 3-point range, and Wilson (Cates) really came through on the foul line as well as playing super all night long.

"We moved the ball well and that's what we have to do. It was a good week for us with the exception of the Cookeville game, but perhaps we learned from that one."

While the boys were enjoying success, the Lady Wildcats were still searching for the right combination and some shooting consistency.

Against Cookeville early in the week, the Lady Cats had their chances, but late in the game failed to come up with points and dropped a close 55-52 decision.

Whitney Sells observed, "I thought we played well, but we just couldn't put the game away. It was a good effort, and we'll just have to keep on working and not get discouraged."

Sells led all Lady Cats with 16 points while Ashley Matthews added 13 and Haley Mullins hit for 11.

But things didn't get better. In Jamestown Friday night, cold shooting, fouls, and turnovers led to a 56-49 York Institute victory, and saw the Lady Cats drop to 2-4 on the young season. It is the slowest start for a Livingston girls team in many years.

Early in the game, Livingston raced out to a 16-9 lead, but by intermission led by only 3 at 29-26. In the third period, York's Brandi Brown caught fire, leading the Dragons to a 42-39 lead. Brown had 30 points on the night to lead all scorers.

Head Coach Lesley Smith said, "I was extremely disappointed in that performance. Defensively, we were dead. We are still trying to find that scoring punch, and we have got to get more aggressive rebounding.

"The main thing now is not to get down on ourselves. It's a long season and we'll get better. Basketball is a tournament sport, and everything we learn now will help us come tournament time."

The Lady Cats did find some better play Saturday night as they rebounded from the two previous losses to topple a veteran Lipscomb team 48-44.

Sells was the only Livingston player in double figures, hitting for 13. Sells' 3-pointer late in the game broke a 42-42 deadlock and gave the Lady Cats the final lead, then a pair of free throws by Kristin Hoover sealed the win.

The win leaves the Lady Cats with a 3-4 record.

Both LA teams will be in action Friday night, Dec. 10 at home against Cannon County, then will travel to Sparta on Saturday night to face White County. The Sparta game will start at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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