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Archives 02-01-2006

Sports

Lady Cats yield to York, defeat DeKalb
Wildcats remain perfect in District 7-AA



Lady Cats yield to York, defeat DeKalb

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Haley Mullins gets in position for a rebound in Friday's home win over DeKalb County.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
One night they fall and another they don't. That's the mystery of basketball, or for that matter any sport.

On Tuesday night, Jan. 24 in Jamestown, the Lady Wildcats of Livingston Academy couldn't buy a basket. Last Friday night at home with DeKalb County, they couldn't miss.

"You can't explain it," pointed out LA's top point producer, Ashley Matthews. "That's just the way it happens. Some nights the defense has a lot to do with how much you score, and York played good defense Tuesday.

"On the other hand, we shot and shot and shot, and nothing would fall."

On that night, Matthews, the 5th leading scorer among Upper Cumberland schools with a 15.9 points per game average, could only manage 2 points, and the Lady Cats dropped their first district game of the season, 34-46. Friday night she dropped in 14 to lead a well-balanced scoring attack that produced a convincing 75-34 win over DeKalb County.

"When you start out not scoring," Matthews continued, "you just have to keep trying, keep letting others try, hoping somebody will find the range. At York Tuesday, it just never happened.

"I thought we played pretty good defense ourselves, but you have to credit York with good defense as well.

"We play so many games, that you have to expect a night like that sooner or later."

York's win started out like it would be a high scoring affair as the Lady Dragons dropped in 15, while Livingston answered with 11. Then the Lady Cats started shooting like the lights went out.

In the second and third periods, LA could manage only 10 points, while York's girls scored 22, mainly on the shooting of Brandi Brown.

Livingston outscored York 13-9 in the fourth period, but it was too little, too late. The Lady Cats saw their overall record move to 16-7, but more importantly drop to 7-1 in the district.

Lady Wildcats Coach Lesley Smith said, "It wasn't a total disaster. Naturally we were disappointed that we didn't shoot well, but that happens, and for several reasons.

"Brown (Brandi) did a great job on defense for York, and we just couldn't find the range. Simple as that.

"You seldom go undefeated in a basketball season because you play so many games. We have three district games remaining, and one of those is at Upperman. That will be a big game, and we defeated them at our place; so we'll see if we can keep that going.

"We are not a bad shooting team but had one of those nights. I think we played well on defense."

Haley Mullins paced Livingston in the loss with 12 points, and Jada Ledbetter had 9.

Brown had 26 for York.

Things improved vastly on Friday night for the Lady Cats as 2-15, 0-7 DeKalb came to town. Matthews got back her shooting eye, the entire bench got into action and contributed largely to the win, and the defense in the first half was such that the game was well in hand after just 8 minutes of play.

Brittney McCoin said, "We got embarrassed Tuesday night, so tonight it was important for us to play well to get that out of our minds and to assure ourselves that we can play this game with anybody.

"Our starters were very impressive in the first period, then everybody got into the game and we didn't lose anything."

Jumping out to a 20-6 lead in the first period, the Lady Cats were on top 33-15 at intermission, and pulled away in the second half for the easy win and upped their record to 17-6 overall and 8-1 in district play.

In the fourth period, Coach Smith cleared the bench and got good results as Alison West led the way in the final minutes with 8 points while freshman Chelsea Carr directed the floor action with veteran skills.

"It was fun," West said. “They kept getting the ball to me, and I just put it up and it went in.

"The experience for all of us younger players was good, and we'll learn from it. The more you play, the better you adjust to the game."

Matthews paced the Lady Cats with 14 points, while Rebekah Jackson hit for 11. McCoin had 9 points, and Mullins and West each had 8.

The home game scheduled for Saturday against Pickett County was rescheduled to February 16 because of illness in Pickett County High School.

Play will resume at home on Friday night, Feb. 3 when Smith County comes calling for Livingston Academy's Homecoming. In their first meeting of the season, LA won in Carthage, 65-51.

The Lady Cats will then travel to Cleveland the following day for a non-district contest. Then, Livingston Academy will host Cannon County on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

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Wildcats remain perfect in District 7-AA

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Wilson Cates flies high for 2 points against DeKalb County on Friday night. Before the game, the senior was recognized for scoring 1,000 points in his LA basketball career.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Using balanced scoring and limited turnovers, the Livingston Academy boys are heading down the home stretch in the 2005-2006 basketball season with everything going their way. It's a combination that has the Wildcats leading the district with a perfect 8-0 record, and Coach Richard Melton with a little smile on his face.

"In the past couple years, I had to produce more points," explained Wilson Cates Friday night at home, moments before he was presented a game ball and had his name added to the list of 1,000 point scorers at the school. "This year, my role has changed.

"We have a lot of good shooters, and it's my job to get the ball upcourt, set the offense, and direct the offense. It's a new role for me, but I'm really enjoying it."

Over the past several years, Cates has almost always scored in double figures, but seldom does this year, a clear indication the Wildcats have a more diverse scoring attack and a more destructive defense, a statistic that normally only shows in the opponent's score.

"When I get the ball in the front court now, I'm looking for Justin (Monday) or Lance (Ruble) or Tyson (Stover) to see who's open or if Brandon (Matthews) is open to take a long shot. Actually, it makes me pay a lot more attention to what's going on," Cates added.

But Cates still has the option to take a shot and he showed that this past week. On Tuesday night, Jan. 24 in Jamestown, the Cats showed their ability to get ahead, then come back when they needed to. In the 64-54 win, Cates had 7 points.

Friday night, Jan. 27 at home, the senior star showed he still knew how to get the ball in the hole as he and Monday combined for 43 points in a 74-62 win over DeKalb County.

"Tonight, Justin and I were the players who were more open to shoot," Cates added. "Next week, it will be somebody else."

With Monday leading the way with 26 points in close, and Cates adding 17 from all points around the basket, the Wildcats had little trouble with the Tigers, although they did see a big halftime lead dwindle to 5 points in the third period before they put it all back together for the win.

Monday pointed out, "The fact we made only one turnover in the first half and only three for the entire game is a good indication of how we are playing.

"You have to get the ball upcourt before you can score, and tonight we did. I scored a lot of points tonight because we got the ball upcourt and inside.

"Tuesday we had to use the long ball. That shows we can do both."

Against York Institute, Tyson Stover hit four 3-point shots in the first period and added a 5th to open the third frame. And the Cats used 7 total 3-pointers to top York Institute.

Brandon Matthews hit 2 threes and Tyler Smith added another for the 7 long-range shots, and balanced scoring from the entire team kept the game out of reach for the hometown Dragons.

Livingston led 21-11 at the end of the first period and 34-26 at intermission. York stayed close with a strong third frame, but in the final 8 minutes the Wildcats went to Monday inside, Lance Ruble in the lane, and some clutch free throw shooting to nail down the decision.

On the night, Matthews had 18 big points while Stover added 15 and Ruble hit for 13.

Then on Friday night, Monday, who had 8 points the previous Tuesday, got hot inside and Cates was everywhere. With Matthews adding 9 and Ruble hitting for 8, the Cats walked away with their eighth straight district win.

Assistant Coach Dusty Whitaker said, "At this point in the season, the biggest thing is to get the team hot and try to keep them hot. After almost 30 games, there's not a lot you can do to get better.

"You reach a point where you are doing most things right, and now it's just a matter of keeping the team on a high.

"We have worked on turnovers all season, and tonight we only had three. That's good. Now we have to keep it that way.

"Defensively, we played well this week. Now we have to keep that up, and you always want to keep scoring points."

With only five regular season games remaining, the main goal now is to make sure the Wildcats win the three district contests and go into the tournament with a perfect record and the number one seed.

Homecoming activities will be held at Livingston Academy on Friday night, Feb. 3 and the Wildcats will host district foe Smith County, a team they defeated 65-51 earlier this year.

On the following day, the Cats will travel to Cleveland for a non-district contest. The following week, the Cats will be on the road for two district games, at Cannon County on Tuesday, Feb. 7 and at Upperman on Friday, Feb. 10 before closing out the regular season at home against Jackson County on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

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