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Archives 12-22-2004

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LA boys keep winning, girls keep trying
LA basketball teams win in Monday play






LA boys keep winning, girls keep trying

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Matt Reeder shoots over a DeKalb County defender in Livingston Academy's win on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
A couple years ago, the Livingston Academy boys basketball team not only lost the runaway games, but dropped most of the close ones. Things have changed now, and for several reasons.

"Last year, we would have lost both games we won this week," explained senior Brad West when reviewing the Wildcats' 60-56 win over DeKalb County on Tuesday, Dec. 14 and 55-49 overtime victory over Shelbyville on Saturday, Dec. 18 in the opening round of the Coca-Cola Midsouth Classic.

"We've had good players during that period, but we lacked something," he said. "I think it was confidence. Now we feel we can win every game, and that is making a difference."

When the week started, the Wildcats were 5-1 and 2-0 in district play, but faced a strong league foe in DeKalb Tuesday night. Livingston Academy jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead and were ahead by 5 at 30-25 at intermission.

The Tigers knotted the game at 43 at the end of the third period, but outstanding defense and timely free throw shooting down the stretch proved to be the margin of victory.

Coach Danny McCoin said, "We beat a good team tonight, which makes me believe we are getting better and better. I was pleased with our defense tonight, and this win gives us momentum going into the tournament."

Brandon Matthews led the Wildcat attack with 18 points in a 51-percent shooting performance, and West added 10.

But Tuesday's show was only a warmup for Saturday's contest with the Golden Eagles of Shelbyville. Livingston came into the first round of the double elimination tournament with a 6-2 mark, while Shelbyville posted a 6-3 record.

"We felt like Shelbyville would be good and we would need a total team effort in order to win," McCoin stated. "They are big and quick and have some outstanding players."

LA boys keep winning, girls keep tryin

The coach probably felt like he had entered a mismatch in the early going as the 3A Golden Eagles pounced on the Wildcats for a 14-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Matt Reeder and Tyler Livingston were the only Wildcats to score in the first 8 minutes.

And things got a little worse in the second period. Livingston could get only one 3-pointer to fall and many other shots missed the mark. At intermission, the Wildcats trailed by 12 at 26-14.

Then things started to turn in the third frame. Reeder opened the period with a basket inside, West hit a 3-pointer, and the defense held the Golden Eagles to only 10 points. Halfway through the period, Livingston had cut the lead to 9, then 7, then a West 3-pointer narrowed it to 4.

"We were starting to do things right and I started feeling better about the outcome, although we were still down by 8 going into the fourth period," McCoin said.

In the final frame, West, Matthews, and Brian Colson found the shooting range, and Wilson Cates took command directing the offense. With 2 minutes to go in the game, the Wildcats managed to take a 40-39 lead. At the end of regulation play, the game was tied at 43.

In overtime, Reeder took charge inside, and Cates and Matthews were deadly at the foul line. Livingston never trailed in the extra period.

Cates pointed out, "After trailing by as many as 17 at one point, it looked kinda bad for us. But this team never lacks in confidence. When we find the range, we can shoot; and we also got better inside getting rebounds. Defensively, it was a good game, and we never got into foul trouble. This was a big win."

Earlier in the week, West and Matthews both agreed that the difference in this team and the ones in recent years was confidence in everyone's ability to get the job done.

West added, "We just don't worry about taking a shot anymore because sooner or later we'll find the range, and our inside game is getting better and better, and we have a bench that doesn't lose anything when the starters come out for a rest. Basketball is fun now."

While the boys are finding it more fun than in the past couple seasons, the Lady Wildcats are discovering just the opposite.

After being one of the top teams in District 7-2A the past three seasons and last year's state champions, its been an up and down ride thus far this year.

Coach Lesley Smith said, "We play well one night and not so well the next. Tuesday night against DeKalb, the Lady Cats got every player in action and every player scored in a 73-35 rout. Saturday, against Brent-wood Academy, it was the other way around, a 66-47 defeat.

Sophomore Jada Ledbetter said, "It's kinda hard to explain. We realize we lost a lot of experienced players from last year's team, and we're having to step up and take their places, and that's not easy. But we're working hard, and, eventually, the pieces will fall into place."

Ledbetter's 6 points Tuesday night along with 11 from Alison West and 10 from Krista Clinard, along with 8 from Rebekah Jackson, went a long way in the Livingston victory.

Coach Smith said, "It was a good win and a district win, but we have got to get consistent. One night we are sharp, and the next we're not. Shooting is not as good as I had expected, and defensively, we are up and down.

"The team is still working hard, and I think we get better only to find sometimes we're not. We'll keep working at it though, and by tournament time, hopefully, we'll have more of an idea of just how good we can be."

Saturday at Upperman in the Coca-Cola Classic, the Lady Cats found out they have a long way to go to be as good as they would like.

Brentwood brought a 3-3 mark to the event, while LA posted a 4-5 record.

The Lady Eagles wasted little time in taking command of the contest. By the end of the first period, Livingston trailed by 10 at 6-16, and was down 17-33 at the intermission. Ashley Matthews had Livingston's only 3-point basket of the half.

At the end of three, the Lady Cats trailed 43-19.

"Although Brentwood is a very good team, I was disappointed in our effort," Smith said. "We still have to find our strongest team, and we have a lot of work still ahead of us. We're not down, but we're struggling."

Livingston's boys were in action Monday in Gainesboro while the girls played in Cookeville. The girls still have two games left in the tournament while the boys can play at least until Wednesday.

 

 

LA basketball teams win in Monday play

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
When Livingston Academy and White County played earlier in the month in Sparta, the Warriors came away with a questionable 62-61 win. With only .16 seconds remaining in the game, White County was awarded 4 foul shots and made 3 for the win.

In the second round of the Coca-Cola Midsouth Classic in Gainesboro on Monday night, Dec. 20, the Wildcats left no doubt who was the better team as they breezed to a convincing 60-44 victory and moved to the final four in the tournament.

"I think our team had a point to make and they made it tonight on both ends of the court," said an excited Danny McCoin, head coach for Livingston. "We lost at their place when we should have won. Tonight we left little doubt who should have won them both."

Although they trailed by 4 at 17-13 at the end of the first period, the Wildcats simply took over the game on both ends of the court with Brandon Matthews, Brad West, and Tyler Livingston hitting 3-pointers, and Matt Reeder controlling the boards. LA moved out to a 31-25 lead at the intermission.

In the second period, the Wildcats outscored the Warriors 18-8.

Going into the final period, Livingston led by 7 at 39-32, then put on a basketball clinic, scoring 21 points while allowing the Warriors only 12. Wilson Cates also showed why hes not really the player to foul late in the game. Cates had no points going into the final frame, but scored 8, all from the foul line.

Matthews led all scorers with 15 points, followed by West with 13. Cates and Reeder each added 8. Defensively, the Wildcats did not allow a single White County player to reach double figures.

The victory leaves Livingston Academy with a 7-2 record.

In girls action at Cookeville, the Lady Wildcats came off a weak performance Saturday to play perhaps their best game of the season, rolling by Moore County 68-28.

The Lady Cats finally found the right combination of offense and defense. Never trailing in the game, they moved out to a 19-7 first period lead, then scored 21 points in the second period, while allowing Moore County only 6.

Whitney Sells, despite a leg injury, paced Livingston with 9 points in the half, followed by Krista Clinard with 8, and Jada Ledbetter with 7.

In the third period, Livingston continued to pour it on with a 17-6 advantage, then raced away to the 40 point win, their 6th of the season against 6 losses.

Coach Lesley Smith said, "It was the kind of performance we have been looking for. Everybody played and everybody played well.

"Now we have to get consistent. We can play well and this proves it.

"Offensively we were good, but defensively, we were even better. Any time you can hold an opponent to under 30 points, you should win."

Sells and Ledbetter each had 15 points to lead the attack, while April Handy added 10, Clinard 8, and Ashley Matthews and Mallie Stephens each contributed 6 points.

The Lady Cats were scheduled to play their final game of the tournament at noon Tuesday, Dec. 21 against Anderson County.

 

 

 

 

 

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