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Archives 01-05-2005

Sports

 

LA girls win, boys 2nd in Jaycees Tourney

 









LA girls win, boys 2nd in Jaycees Tourney

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Livingston Academy's Lady Wildcats won the Livingston Jaycees Tournament championship last week. Team members are, kneeling from left, Haley Mullins, April Handy, Krista Clinard, Kristin Hoover, Whitney Sells, standing, Rebekah Jackson, Jada Ledbetter, Megan Brown, Brittany McCoin, Mallie Stephens, Ashley Matthews, and Alison West. The tournament was sponsored by Bank of Overton County.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
With holiday tournament action a thing of the past, the Livingston Academy basketball teams head into the new year with some things looking brighter and some things still needing attention.

Last week in the Livingston Jaycees Tournament, the Lady Wildcats picked up where they left off the week before in the Mid-South Tournament. After losing in the opening round of the Mid-South, LA's girls found the key to success and reeled off a pair of wins, then breezed through the Jaycees event with another pair of impressive victories.

On the other hand, the Livingston boys played strong in the Mid-South only to lose in the championship game, and did likewise in the Jaycees event.

After her Lady Cats posted a hard fought 46-37 victory over a very good Pigeon Forge squad, Coach Lesley Smith beamed, "We played great defense tonight. I know the game looked a little boring to the fans, but if you go over in that locker room right now, you'll see a bunch of excited girls who understand just what good defense can do.

"I was pretty much pleased with our play throughout this entire tournament, and extremely pleased tonight."

To reach the final game, the Lady Cats drew a bye in the first round, then pounded Clay County 61-40. In the opening two periods, the game stayed close with the Lady Cats holding a 24-23 lead at intermission.

Then in the final two frames, the Lady Cats got cranking, using a tenacious defense that forced turnover after turnover and got strong inside play from Haley Mullins and hot shooting from Whitney Sells. Sells led all scorers with 13 points, and Mullins added 11.

"I asked the team to give us just three stops in the second half and we would win," Smith said. "They gave us 10. It was a great defensive effort, and we dominated the boards with 35 rebounds."

In Friday's championship game, things got off to a slow start for both teams, but that was only evident on the scoreboard. Livingston shot only 28 percent in the initial half, but still managed a 26-21 lead.

Action picked up somewhat in the third period with strong defensive play from the second team led by Jada Ledbetter. Alison West nailed a big 3-point shot late in the period to pull the Lady Cats out to a 10-point, 38-28 lead at the end of the frame, then defense completely dominated the remainder of the game.

Down the stretch, clutch free throwing by Sells, Kristin Hoover, and Megan Brown sealed the win.

After the game, Hoover said, "It's a lot more fun winning than losing. We're now ready to take on the second half of the season, and these last four wins have really got us going in the right direction.

"The first half of the season, we have struggled at times trying to find the right mix and doing what the coaches have asked us to do. Now it looks like we're putting it together."

Ashley Matthews led the Lady Cat attack with 10 points, while West and Mallie Stephens each added 6.

While the girls were ending on a high note, the boys were scratching their heads trying to figure out why, suddenly, the midas touch has, for the time being, slipped away.

After crushing Elliston Baptist on opening night of the tournament with an 85-58 win and holding off a strong Rossview 42-39, the Wildcats simply could not find the net, not from the floor or the foul line. That combination spelled a 61-45 Bobcat victory.

Against Elliston, four Cats hit in double figures, led by Brad West with 21, Tyler Livingston 13, Justin Monday 12, and Matt Reeder 11. All of West's points came from the 3-point line, making 7 of 10 from that distance. As a team, Livingston shot 48 percent.

The following night, Rossview took an early lead, led by as many as 9 points, only to see a determined Wildcats squad roar back to knot the game at 32 at the end of the third period, then ease away to the win. Wilson Cates played one of his finest games of the year on both ends of the court and led the Wildcat attack with 16 points. Reeder had 14 points and 10 rebounds. But the tournament championship Livingston wanted, they wouldn't get it.

Pickett County led by only a point, 7-6, at the end of the first period, but the key in the frame was the Wildcats could not find the shooting range. Long shots as well as close ones just would not find the mark, and by intermission the Bobcats led by 9 at 24-15.

In the final period, the Bobcats took complete control of the boards. With Reeder as well as Cates in foul trouble, the Bobcats used easy inside shooting to pull away for the win.

"There's not much you can say about that,” Reeder said in the subdued Livingston locker room. “It was a bad game."

Livingston Academy Coach Danny McCoin explained, "We started flat and we stayed flat. We played a horrible game, and I coached a horrible game.

"Reeder and Cates getting into early foul trouble hurt, and to add to that, we simply could not get anything going, and part of that was because Pickett County played a very good game.

"We'll look at this, try to figure it out, then move on," McCoin added. "We've been playing well, and we will play well again. Tonight, we just didn't play well and that's part of this game, and you have to learn from mistakes and keep on going. I think we will be okay."

In other boys action, Station Camp upended Rossview 47-42 for third place, George Washington Carver defeated Clay County for fifth, and Ellison topped Jefferson 91-87 for seventh.

In girls tournament play, Clay County defeated Pickett County 61-50 for third place and Rhea upended Hendersonville 42-38 for fifth place. 

After hosting Clarkrange on Tuesday, Jan. 4, LA will host district foe Jackson County on Friday, Jan. 7, then travel to Carthage on Tuesday, Jan. 11 to take on Smith County in another district contest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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