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80 Years Ago

Archives 01-28-2006


Cats overpower Owls in district road win
Lady Cats defeat No. 9 David Lipscomb

Cats overpower Owls in district road win

Leah Thomas/OCN Sports
Brandon Matthews goes up for 2 of his 16 points against Smith County's Owls in Friday's District 7-AA win.

Seated several rows behind the scorer's table last Friday night at Carthage, a loyal Smith County fan kept hollering for the Livingston players to shoot whenever they brought the ball up court.

Unfortunately for the fan and the Owls, the Wildcats players did shoot, and more importantly, they hit.

"I just kinda felt like it was going in so I shot it," Livingston's Brandon Matthews smiled after the Wildcats had whipped the Owls 78-46 for their fifth straight District 7-AA win. “When I didn't feel like it was going, I passed it to (Tyson) Stover, and he shot and made it.

"It was kinda fun."

Matthews hit four 3-pointers on the night, Stover added two more, and late in the game Todd Smith added yet another as the Wildcats hit on 50% of their shots for the night, out rebounded the home team 35-29, and had little trouble picking up their 12th win of the season against 7 losses.

Stover said, "I didn't hear the man, but the shots were there and we took them. We were shooting pretty good from about everywhere, so when you get a rhythm like that, you just shoot."

But good offense was not the only thing the Wildcats had going. They also played outstanding defense that kept the Owls off balance all night. In the first period, the Wildcats poured in 28 points, 9 from Matthews alone on the 3-pointers, and were off and running at the end of the frame, 28-11.

Smith County made a brief comeback in the second period and trailed 29-43 at intermission, but a torrid Wildcats defense in the third period wiped out any hope the Owls may have had.

In the third period, it took almost 5 minutes before Smith County could score a point, and on five straight trips up the floor they couldn't get the ball across the half-court line. In the period, they scored only 5 points.

LA Coach Richard Melton said, "It was a good effort on our part all night. Again, we had good, balanced scoring.

"And Tyler Smith, the smallest player on the team, was the leading rebounder," he laughed. "If Tyler was about 6-4, he would be serious trouble inside.

"Justin (Monday) played well tonight although he kinda went unnoticed, and that's good. He had 15 points and you hardly noticed he was shooting.

"We again got some good play from our bench. Deven (Ramsey) played well, I thought, and (Jeremy ) McLearran gave us some strong minutes. We got to play everybody on the team and that's always good in several ways."

Matthews led the LA attack with 16 points, Lance Ruble dropped in 10, Chase Dunn was good for 9, and Tyler Smith had 6 rebounds.

While the Wildcats were looking strong Friday night, there was still a little bitter taste in their mouths from a 59-62 setback in Nashville on Tuesday night, Jan. 10 at the hands of David Lipscomb High School.

In a non-district game that went back and forth all night, Coach Melton was hit with a seldom called technical foul, with a minute remaining, that provided the margin of victory for the home team.

With the game tied at 52, an official hit the LA coach with a technical foul for being out of the coach's box. The Mustangs made 3 points off the call, the final margin of victory.

"In all my years of playing and coaching, I have never seen that called," Melton later explained. "I was out of the box for sure. I was trying to yell at the players who were on the other end of the floor, and the official on the other side of the floor called it.

"Officials always tell coaches when they are out of the box and will always warn them, but not this time.

"I told the players after the game, that it was my fault," Coach Melton said. "They played well and Lipscomb layed well, and it was a shame that a call like that determined the outcome of the game."

But the technical on Melton wasn't the only foul that had a hand in the outcome. In the game, Livingston was called for 24 fouls while the home team got caught only 10 times. Three of the 24 fouls called on the Wildcats were charging fouls that were called after LA had scored.

"I won't dwell on that," Coach Melton was quick to point out. "Both teams played well and the game could have gone either way.

"We overcame a lot of things and there were times when we could have closed the deal, but Lipscomb is a sound fundamental team and they would come back. Several times we were up by 6 or 8 points but just couldn't put it away."

Livingston jumped on top 18-15 at the end of the first period, and was up by 4 at 36-32 at intermission.

In the third period, the Mustangs outscored the Wildcats 16-10 to lead by 2 at 48-46 going into the final period.

Several turnovers early in the fourth frame allowed the Mustangs to increase the lead, but Wilson Cates and Justin Monday led a charge late in the game that was almost successful, but came up just short.

Cates, Monday, and Ruble each scored 13 points in the loss, while Matthews added 7, and Dunn and Stover each had 5.

Ruble later pointed out, "That's the way it goes sometimes. On the week, I thought we played well as a team.

"In both games we got balanced scoring, our defense has been getting better each game, and we are really comfortable playing with each other now.

"From here on out, the games really count since we have six or seven district games in a row, and the good part of that is we get to come home. We've been on the road since before Christmas, and it will just be good to play before our home crowd on our home floor down the stretch."

The Wildcats have three home games in their next five outings, starting with the Tuesday, Jan. 17 game against Upperman, the only district team LA has not seen to date. The team will travel to Macon County on Friday night, Jan. 20, then come home to host Clay County the following night.

The Tuesday, Jan. 24 game was originally scheduled for home against York, but will be played in Jamestown because the first meeting between the two was played at Livingston Academy in early December while the York Institute gym was being repaired.

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Lady Cats defeat No. 9 David Lipscomb

Leah Thomas/OCN Sports
Mallie Stephens looks for room to move in Friday's win over the Owlettes. She scored 10 points in the game.

When the Livingston Academy girls put their minds to it, they can achieve some pretty impressive things. When they don't, things just don't seem to work out.

Case in point: A week ago in Gainesboro, the Lady Wildcats played with a lot of heart, but a lack of ability to get the ball through the hoop and some big mental mistakes cost them a 37-44 defeat at the hands of rival Jackson County.

Four days later, in a game where they were tagged with 19 fouls to only 4 for the home team, until the late going, the Lady Cats clawed their way to an impressive 56-48 win over the 9th ranked girls team in the state.

This past Friday night, the Livingston girls were as equally impressive over Smith County, 65-51 in a big District 7-AA decision.

"For me, it's a mental thing," Haley Mullins, the Lady Cats' center explained. "I really didn't play well at all against Jackson County, then against Lipscomb and especially tonight, I got it together and played a lot better."

For Jada Ledbetter, it was a case of just getting the job done.

Against Lipscomb, Ledbetter sparked a fourth period rally with two field goals and a big, big 3-point basket that propelled her team to victory.

"I really can't explain it," Ledbetter said, searching for the right words to explain her play. "I try hard every time I'm on the floor, but a lot of times I get in foul trouble, and that will take it out of you.

"At Lipscomb Tuesday, it just started working and I really felt good. It made me feel good to go out there in the fourth period and help us win."

While Ledbetter was having a fine fourth frame at Lipscomb, steady Ashley Matthews was keeping her team in the game with a 17-point shooting performance, and Brittany McCoin was having her best shooting game of the season with 8 points.

LA Coach Lesley Smith said, "It was good to see Jada come on like she did at Lipscomb, and I was so proud of Haley tonight, and it was also good to see Ashley continue to be steady at what she has done all season. Alison (West) and Megan (Brown) and Mallie (Stephens) continue to give us super efforts along with the play of our bench."

Indeed, it was total team efforts in both games last week that produced a pair of victories and gives the Lady Cats a 13-6 overall record and a perfect 5-0 mark in district play.

Against David Lipscomb High School on Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Lady Wildcats found themselves behind by 2 at 8-10 at the end of the first period, but tied at 25 at intermission. Matthews knotted the score with a 3-point basket at the buzzer.

"That was a big shot," Coach Smith pointed out. "We were getting called for every foul you can imagine, and we were getting into foul trouble, so we needed to go in at the half either close or tied, and that shot tied it.

"I told the girls in the dressing room that they were playing well and just keep it up and they could win. They did and they did."

After taking the lead late in the third period, Lipscomb hit a shot at the buzzer to bring them to within 1 at 39-40 going into the final period.

It was then that Ledbetter came alive and hit all of her 7 points in the game.

"It was definitely a big win for us," Ledbetter later added. "I think we have now convinced ourselves that we can play with anybody and we can be a serious factor in our district."

Aside from Matthews' 17 points and McCoin's 8, Stephens added 7 along with Ledbetter, while West contributed 6 and Rebekah Jackson hit for 5.

On Friday night, Jan. 13 at Smith County, the game stayed fairly close until late, when the Lady Cats put it away in convincing fashion.

After falling behind 0-5 early in the game, Mullins caught fire and quickly put in 5 answering points to tie the game. West and Stephens then pulled the Lady Cats out to a 15-12 lead at the end of the frame.

In the second period, Ledbetter opened with a bucket, then McCoin added a 3-point basket and Mullins rolled up 8 more to give the visitors a 37-34 halftime lead.

From then on, it was a matter of good defense as Livingston held Smith County to only 7 points in the third period while adding 13.

Mullins was the leading scorer in the win with 18 points and 2 blocked shots, while Matthews had another steady performance with 16 points. Ledbetter had 12 points, and Stephens popped in 10 to round out the scoring. On the night, the Lady Cats shot 41% from the floor.

West said, "Well, now we play Upperman. They have played everybody but us, and we've played everybody but them, and we are undefeated in district play and they have one loss, so we'll see. It's up to us, and the way we're playing now, I think we'll be fine."

After hosting Upperman's Lady Bees on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Lady Wildcats will travel to Lafayette on Friday, Jan. 20 to play Macon County in a District 7-AA game. The following night, Livingston Academy will host Clay County High School. The Lady Cats will travel to Jamestown on Tuesday, Jan. 24 for a district game against the Lady Dragons of York Institute.

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