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
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
"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
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
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
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
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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