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LA teams defeat Pickett, Clarkrange

 






LA teams defeat Pickett, Clarkrange

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Livingston Academy junior Wilson Cates races down the court in Friday's 73-64 Wildcats win over Pickett County's Bobcats on their home court in Byrdstown.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Livingston Academy's Brian Colson was sitting with his teammates during a girls game and when it came time to go change into their uniforms, he turned to Wilson Cates and said, "Well, let's go get dressed so I can see how long it will take for me to foul out."

Four nights later, the senior forward picked up his third foul in the first half against rival Pickett County, a non-district contest at Byrdstown. The Bobcats certainly would have had better luck had the 6-1 senior fouled out. At intermission, in addition to his 3 fouls, Colson had a meager 4 points. His teammates Cates and Matt Reeder each had only 6 apiece, and the Wildcats trailed 21-25.

"I really don't know how to explain it," Colson recalled. "We went into the dressing room at half, and I just told the guys we were going to have to pick it up. I think I had about 4 points, Wilson had about 5, and Reeder had 5 or 6, and we were behind."

In the second half, his teammates took his message to heart and the trio of Colson, Cates, and Reeder combined for 48 points to produce one of finest wins of the season thus far, 73-64.

At the end of the first period against one of their biggest rival, the Wildcats led by 1 at 8-7, and in the second period, things didn't get any better. Lance Staton, who had all 7 of Pickett County's points in the first period, hit his first shot of the second frame and the Bobcats were ahead and would stay there until the third period.

"I don't know what it is with Pickett County," Colson continued. "Even when we were young kids, we just couldn't beat them. But outside of probably Upperman, they are our biggest rival, and getting to beat Coach Bibb (Pickett County Coach Gregg Bibb was an assistant at LA when Colson was a sophomore) is a lot of fun, too. He's a great guy, but he takes his basketball very serious."

Colson hit his first shot of the third frame to pull the Wildcats to within 2 at 23-25, then Cates made a driving lay-up to knot the score at 25. Cates tied the score again at 27, then Colson put Livingston up for good at 29-27 with a lay-up. Reeder then tapped in a missed shot and Tyson Stover took a charge that resulted in a technical on Coach Bibb, and the Wildcats were off and running.

Stover took a second charge later in the period, hit a 3-pointer, and at the end of the frame the Wildcats had out-scored the home team 25-13, and it wasn't over yet.

In the fourth period, Colson, Reeder, and Cates continued to rip the nets. When the buzzer ended the game, Livingston had its 17th win of the season against only 6 losses.

"It was a total team effort there in the second half," Colson concluded. "That's the way we can play when we get it together. I guess we need to stop letting the other teams get a big jump on us early. In the second half, one player started hitting and we all just started hitting. That was fun."

Colson ended the night with 25, 21 in the second half, while Cates had 25, 19 in the second half, and Reeder had 15, 9 in the second half. Ironically, usually hot-shooting Brad West did not score a single point in the entire game.

As it turned out, West along with Stover were saving their shooting eye for Friday's game against Clarkrange. In their second non-district game of the week, the Wildcats ran off 8 unanswered points to start the third period, and cruised to a 76-75 win.

After being shut out in the Pickett County game, West hit his first basket of the week to start the second frame at Clarkrange, then added two more 3-pointers, and Stover followed in his footsteps with three 3-pointers in the period, and at the half, the Wildcats were up by 4 at 34-30. Livingston had led by as many as 12 in the period, but turnovers and fouls allowed the Buffalos to stampede back.

Stover hit his fourth three of the night in the frame, then West moved in closer to hit several 2-point baskets, and by midway of the final frame, the outcome wasn't in doubt.

West led his team with 20 points, while Colson, again with a hot shooting hand, had 18. Stover poured in 15, and Reeder added 11. Cates had 8 points, but his defensive play was more important than his points.

Wildcats Coach Danny McCoin said, "We played two good games this week. We got super scoring and outstanding defense from everyone on the team.

"It was great winning at Byrdstown, and that might have been our finest two quarters of the season there in the second half.

"Friday night we started slow, but when we caught fire, it was like watching a rerun of Tuesday's game.

"I was pleased with our offense and defense and the play of everyone. That's the kind of effort we will need down the stretch and into tournament play."

Livingston's boys are now 18-6.

The LA girls were getting the job done as well last week. An impressive 66-58 win over Pickett County on Tuesday, Jan. 25 moved the Lady Wildcats past the .500 mark on the season at 12-11, then a hard-fought 53-49 victory over Clarkrange on Friday, Jan. 28 showed that even in a close game, they could get the job done.

Lady Wildcats Coach Lesley Smith said, "We needed a week out of district play, and we played well and got two wins.

"I was pleased with our inside play from Haley (Mullins) and the overall play of Ashley (Matthews), Whitney (Sells), and the steady control game from (Kristin) Hoover. (Brittany) McCoin also had two games, and we also got to use a lot of our players to get experience."

The Lady Wildcats trailed Pickett County by 2 at the end of the first period, 14-12, but Matthews and McCoin found the range in the second period to propel Livingston to a 43-25 lead. Mullins also had a good shooting hand in the first half, but more importantly, she was commanding in the rebounding department.

April Handy opened the third period with a bucket, then added a second, and Sells hit a 3-pointer, and the Lady Wildcats were off and running. Mallie Stephens hit a 3-pointer, and Alison West sailed one in from 3-point range at the buzzer, just as she had done at the end of the first half, to push Livingston out to a 59-41 lead.

At that point, Smith cleared her bench. Matthews led the LA attack with 12 points, and West added 11. McCoin added 9, Sells 8, and Handy 7.

Friday night at Clarkrange, the Lady Cats got off to a slow start and trailed by 7 at 6-13 at the end of the first period, and were behind by 9 at 29-20 at the intermission. Then in the third period, Livingston hit its stride, running off 15 unanswered points to roar ahead, 39-33, at the end of the frame. In the period, LA outscored the home team 19-4.

But the Lady Buffalos wouldn't go away. A 5-0 run pulled them back to within 2 at 46-44, but Sells answered the call, hitting a pair of buckets, and Mullins again dominated the boards.

Sells paced Livingston with 15 points, while Mullins and Matthews each contributed 11. Ashley Howard had 19 for Clarkrange.

After returning to district play Tuesday night, Feb. 1 for Homecoming against Smith County, Livingston Academy will travel to DeKalb County for a big conference game on Friday, Feb. 4. The Cats and Lady Cats will continue District 7-AA play on Tuesday, Feb. 8 when they travel to Gainesboro to take on the Jackson County Blue Devils and Lady Blue Devils.

With a 3-5 district record, this week is vital for the Lady Cats. Standing near the bottom of the league with only four district games remaining, they need to win as many as possible heading into the tournament.

On the other hand, the boys at 7-1 in district play, are tied with DeKalb County for the top spot in the loss column with one each. Friday's game in Smithville could well determine who will get the first round bye when tournament action begins in mid-February.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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