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Archives 1-12-2005

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LA boys take two, ladies defeat Clarkrange

 









LA boys take two, ladies defeat Clarkrange

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Just about the time the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats appeared to be hitting stride and heading for a strong second half of the season, up pops old nemesis Jackson County.

In the meantime, the LA boys rebounded from a disappointing tournament championship loss to have a good week at home on the hardwood.

So it was as the high school basketball season entered its run for playoff berths and title hopes last week.

Going into action, LA's boys were showing promise as one of District 7-AA's strongest contestants, while the girls, after a struggling start, were hitting stride as perhaps the league's second best team behind Upperman.

When the week was over, the Wildcats were looking at a strong week and a 13-4 record while the Lady Wildcats were sporting a 9-7 mark.

Lady Wildcats Coach Lesley Smith said, "I thought we were finally figuring out who could play with who. Against Clarkrange Tuesday night, we played perhaps our best game of the year, especially on defense. Tonight, we have to go back and figure it all over again."

Smith was referring to Livingston's 57-39 win over Clarkrange and 61-47 loss to Jackson County.

Against a very good Clarkrange team, the Lady Cats breezed away from a 26-25 lead at intermission by holding the Lady Buffalos to only 10 points in the third period and only 2 in the final frame.

In the meantime, April Handy, Ashley Mullins, Whitney Sells, and Ashley Matthews poured on the offensive power. Handy led the winners with 13 points, Mullins added 10, and Sells and Matthews each contributed 9.

"That was the way we wanted to play," Coach Smith added. "We controlled the second half, and we did it impressively.

"Kristin (Hoover) ran the offense so well and never made a turnover, while (Jada) Ledbetter and Mullins controlled the boards on both ends of the court.

"It was a very good team victory."

But it didn't turn out that way Friday night with Jackson County. Not only could the Lady Cats not find the basket; several players got into foul trouble early, and to add insult to injury, from the foul line, Livingston hit only 8 of 18 tries.

The Lady Cats led early at 11-8, but two straight 3-pointers put the Lady Blue Devils out front early in the second period, and they never looked back. Livingston trailed, 31-22 at the intermission. In the third period, Livingston managed to close the gap to 6 at 42-36, but Jackson County opened the offensive door on easy lay-ups and outstanding free throw shooting for the 61-47 win.

Ledbetter had 12 to pace the Lady Cats, and Mullins added 7.

While the girls were having an up and down go of it, the LA boys had little trouble posting a pair of wins.

Against Clarkrange on Tuesday, Jan. 4, the Wildcats led by only 1 at 26-25 at the intermission, but got hot on offense in the final two frames while showing off a torrid defense. In the final half, Livingston hit for 36 points while holding the Buffalos to only 15 to post a 62-40 win.

Wilson Cates and Brad West paced the winners with 12 points each, while Tyson Stover and Justin Monday added 10. West had four 3-pointers and Stover had two.

By Friday night against Jackson County, the Wildcats were in a scoring mood. West started things off with a 3-pointer, Matt Reeder added 2 on a driver up the lane, Stover canned a three from the corner, Cates hit for a pair of buckets, West and Stover each added a 3-pointer, and Brian Colson dripped in a free throw to blast the home team to a 19-0 advantage.

From that point on, it was all downhill, mostly with the first team watching from the bench. Livingston hit on 50 percent of its shots in the first half to lead, 43-17, and had very little trouble coasting to the 76-45 victory.

"We were on tonight," Reeder explained. "Brad (West) hit that first 3-point try, then Stover hit one and Wilson was all over the place offensively and defensively. Everybody got to play tonight, and I think about everybody scored. It was a fun game to play."

Reeder led the Wildcat attack with 14 points and 15 rebounds. West had 11 points, Stover 9, and Cates had 6 and also added 7 assists.

Wildcats Coach Danny Mc-Coin said, "We had a good week. Against Clarkrange, we came out strong on offense and defense in the second half, and that was what we need to do every game. Tonight against Jackson County, we just got hot so fast it was hard for them to hold us back.

"We have some tough games next week (at Smith County Tuesday, at Cannon County on Friday, and a rematch with White County at home Saturday)," he said Friday night, "and I hope we can play as well as we did this week. It's so important for Brad (West) to hit those early threes because it opens up the inside to Reeder. We are strong inside if we can get the defense to have to play our outside shooting.

"I thought our bench came out and played extremely well both nights and it was good to get them all in the games and get the experience," McCoin added.

After the games against Smith County, Cannon County, and White County, Livingston Academy will host Upperman High School on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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