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Archives 01-02-2008

Sports

Cats place 5th in Invitational
Lady Cats take Williamson Co. Invitational championship
LA teams fare well in Christmas tournaments

Cats place 5th in Invitational

Mac McLeod/OCN file photo
LA sophomore Adam Wilson, #11, helped to the 5th place win.

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

Several things will stand out in the Livingston Academy’s fifth place finish in the first ever Williamson County Invitational Basketball tournament played in Franklin last week. One thing will be Chase Dunn’s nine point performance in an opening loss to Creekside High school of Georgia. It was Dunn’s lowest scoring game of the season thus far. But what might well be remembered most could be the third quarter performance by Adam Wilson that sparked an otherwise sluggish LA offense to a 56-43 win.

Leading by only one, 21-20 at the outset of the third frame of Saturday’s fifth place contest, Wilson came off the bench to pour in eight points and grab three critical rebounds. In the quarter, Dunn had seven points including a big three point basket, Deven Ramsey had the pull away score from close inside and Justin Poston pulled down several huge rebounds.
The 20-5 quarter may well have been the best eight minutes of the season so far for the Wildcats.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Livingston Academy in the tournament. After the opening loss to Creekside, the Wildcats struggled to get by Harpeth High, 64-55.

In the Creekside contest, Livingston took a 19-12 lead in the first quarter and led 33-26 at intermission. Heading into the final period, the Wildcats clung to a narrow 41-37 lead, but were outscored 21-9 in the final period to lose the game.

When the team got home Thursday night, coach Richard Melton took them to the gym for 20 minutes of rebounding drills.

“We just weren’t focused,” the LA coach said. “The second half of that game was horrible. We didn’t play well and our rebounding was just horrible. It really cost us. If we want to get to the next level, we have got to learn how to focus.”

Todd Smith led the Wildcats in the loss with eleven points while Ramsey added eight in addition to Dunn’s nine.

The loss forced LA to play an 11 o’clock game on Friday against Harpeth High School and late in that contest the outcome was in doubt despite a 25 point LA lead early in the third frame.

After leading by 20, 38-18 at the intermission, the Cats jumped out to a 25 point lead , then went frigid. Harpeth cut the lead to 15, 49-34 heading into the final quarter and at one point were within seven at 58-51 before Dunn took over and connected on two field goals and four straight free throws.

In the game, Dunn had 27 points while T.J. Smith added 15 and Todd Smith hit for five.

“T.J. (Smith) and Kendall (Melton) played well Friday and Adam (Wilson) came in and really gave us a big boost,” Melton commented before Saturday’s game against Buckhorn. “Chase is a little down on himself right now, but he’ll snap out of that. I told him to move in a little closer for his shot when the three pointers weren’t falling. He’ll be fine. We’ve struggled somewhat in the tournament, but we have learned a lot. These games don’t count, but they can certainly point out any weaknesses a team might have and we’ve found some to work on.”

In Saturday’s game for fifth place , Dunn opened with a basket then added a three pointer to give the Wildcats a quick 5-0 lead. During that same period, T.J. Smith picked up two personal fouls which would limit his playing time for the remainder of the game. At the end of the initial period, the Bucks led by one, 8-7.

Clint West opened the second period with a three pointer and a field goal to put LA back on top and a Jeremy McLearran bucket from in close gave the Wildcats a five point lead at 16-11. Late in the period though, the Bucks roared back to close to within one, 21-20 at intermission. Two straight baskets in the final seconds of the quarter by Melton kept Livingston on top.

Then Wilson came alive. With both Ramsey and McLearran in foul trouble with three apiece, the 6-1 sophomore went to work and his eight points in the period along with Dunn’s seven pushed Livingston out to a 41-25 lead heading into the final period. The five points scored by the Bucks in the period showed that the Wildcat defense was also doing its job.

Strong play by West, Todd Smith and Poston in the final frame pulled the Wildcats to their 12th win of the season against four losses.

Dunn led all scorers with 18 points while Wilson had ten, and West hit for nine.

With the fifth place finish added to the second place trophy in the Battle for the State tournament played the week before Christmas, the Wildcats finish tournament action with a 4-2 record. Livingston will return to regular season action Friday night against Jackson County in Gainesboro.





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Lady Cats take Williamson Co. Invitational championship

Mac McLeod/OCN file photo
Chelsea Carr’s 3-point shooting was vital in the championship.

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

Sometimes it takes skill and sometimes it takes luck and as Livingston Academy basketball coach Lesley Smith says, “sometimes lucky is better than good.”

After three games in the Williamson County Invitational basketball tournament last week in Franklin, Smith should be an authority on ‘luck’ and ‘good’.

“We played well at times and we need some luck,” Smith recalled. “The tournament was a pool play format and despite the fact we won our first two games, we needed a bit of luck to make it to the championship. If we had won our second game by 13 points we would automatically make the finals, but we didn’t do that so we had to wait and see how the next game came out. As it did, Summertown beat Ravenwood and that left only us and York as undefeated. That put us in the final game.”

And in the final contest, the Lady Wildcats combined luck and skill to come away with a 67-60 overtime victory over the Lady Dragons and the tournament championship.

And to add to everything else that happened in the three day tournament, when it came down to the final pair, it was two teams from District 7, 2A that proved to be the best of the eight team field.

“Kinda funny that two teams that are only thirty miles apart (Livingston and Jamestown) had to travel 100 miles to play for the championship,” one observer noted.

The road to the final game for both squads sometimes seemed more than 100 miles.

In the tournament’s opening game Livingston took on 3A Ravenwood that brought an 8-3 record into the contest compared to LA’s 12-2 season mark.
And it only took eight minutes to see that Ravenwood was no match for the powerful Lady Cats.

Chelsea Carr opened the game with a three point basket, followed by a pair of field goals by Kendria Kilgore, and a three pointer by Shelby Taylor. At that point, LA had blasted out to a 12-3 lead. Carr and Alyssa Thompson each nailed three pointers before the quarter end and at the horn, Livingston had raced out to an 18-5 lead that would never be challenged.

After scoring 18 in the first period, the Lady Cats added 15 in the second frame, 18 in the third and 14 more in the fourth. In the meantime, the LA defense held Franklin to five in the first, seven in the second, 10 in the third and a mere three in the fourth.

The 65-25 LA win would be the most one sided victory of the tournament.
The defense also forced 24 turnovers. Adrian West paced the winners with 12 points while Kilgore added 10, Mallory Mahaney hit for seven, Carr, Mackenzie Sells and Samantha Maya each collected six, Taylor would gather five and Alissa Sells would only tally three. Sells’ three points should have been a warning for upcoming opponents as she would later turn out to be one of the key factors in the championship.

With the “stroll in the park” mauling of Ravenwood all the Lady Cats needed to do was beat Franklin by 13 points on Friday to be assured a spot in the finals.

And with a 31-16 lead at intermission, it appeared that mission would be no problem. Problem was, everything turned around in the third quarter when Franklin outscored LA, 20-6 in the third period and trailed by only one, 37-36 , heading into the final eight minutes of the game.

As it turned out, it would take overtime for LA to pull off a 64-55 win.
Franklin roared out to a 10-0 streak in the opening minutes of the third period and in the meantime, Livingston went stone cold. Everything the Lady Rebels threw up went in and everything the Lady Cats threw up missed the mark.

“We definitely lost control of the game in the third period and once we started missing our shots, we lost confidence,” Smith continued. “We tried everything, but nothing worked.”

Franklin used two free throws to open the fourth period to take a one point, 38-37 lead, but at that point, the Lady Cats came back alive. Kilgore put the Lady Cats back on top with a basket followed by a pair of free throws , a three point basket and a field goal by Sells, to cap a nine point run and get back on top, 46-38.

But Franklin refused to fold and a three point basket at the buzzer knotted the regulation score at 50 and forced an overtime.

In the additional four minutes, Livingston got points from Mackenzie Sells, Kilgore, Adrian West, Alissa Sells and Carr that added up to 14 while Franklin was held to only five points.

Alissa Sells would lead the LA attack with 20 points with Kilgore adding 15 and West getting eleven. Mackenzie Sells had eight and Carr would pick up six.

“At the time, I was glad to see the overtime,” Smith would later say. “It would give us a little experience in that situation that could come in handy down the road.”

Thing was, it would come not further down the road, but right down the road like in the very next game.

In an earlier meeting between York and Livingston, the Lady Cats easily handled the Lady Dragons, 70-56. This time York came with more determination and it almost proved fatal for Livingston.

Except for a quick 2-0 lead to start the game, the Lady Wildcats would trail almost the entire night until it came down to “crunch time”.

York led 16-12 at the end of the first period, 27-21 at intermission and 39-32 going into the final frame. The fourth period and overtime finally allowed the Lady Cats to pull out the victory.

“To be quite honest, I didn’t think we would pull this one out,” Smith added. “York is a good team and they played well, but I think our players finally realized that losing to a district team would not be a good thing even though it really didn’t mean a thing here in the tournament. They finally got it together and did what they had to do.”

It was the critical fourth period that got the fans on their feet. For the first two minutes, neither team scored and for the next 90 seconds, York played “keep away” nursing a 39-32 lead. With three minutes to play, the Lady Dragons still held the upper hand at 48-40.

Then Alissa Sells came to life. The normally hot shooting junior had spent much of the night on the bench simply because she could not find the range, but with three minutes left and her team trailing by eight, she hit two straight three pointers to narrow the gap. West then nailed a three pointer with 30 seconds remaining to pull LA to within two. A free throw by York upped the margin to three but with only five seconds remaining, Sells took “the shot” and it went down.’

Game tied 50-50.

“I took the shot earlier and it missed, but we got the rebound and they gave it back to me,” Sells would later admit. “The shot was there and I took it. It felt good as soon as I turned it lose.”

Sells opened the overtime with her fourth three of the game (all in the span of less than three minutes) and ended it with a pair of free throws.
West led all scorers for Livingston with 17 while Sells had 14, Kilgore 10 and Carr, 9.

“It was a good tournament for us and I really think we learned a lot,” Smith concluded.

“Normally, you learn your most valuable lessons when you lose, but I think we learned a lot in winning. The overtimes were good for us, but we found out we need a lot more work on defense. Shooting is one of those things that you always work on and sometimes they just don’t go in. That usually works itself out.

”Now it’s back to the regular season and we’re looking forward to that. Our younger players saw a lot of playing time in the tournaments and down the road, that will only help us as a team.”

Livingston will be in action Friday night against powerful Jackson County in Gainesboro.

 


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LA teams fare well in Christmas tournaments

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

It wasn’t quite the presents the Livingston Academy girls and boys basketball teams were asking for, but a third and second place finish in two separate Christmas tournaments were nice none the less.

For the girls, it was a third place finish in the Midsouth Classic and for the boys, it was second place at the Battle for the State tournament.

After a thrilling 60-51 win over Heritage High of Maryville in the opening round of the Midsouth event, the Lady Cats ran into the powerful Lady Blue Devils of Jackson County in the semi finals and fell, 77-70.

In the battle for third place, Livingston faced Dyer County. The Lady Cats brought a 9-2 mark into the event while Dyer came in with a 9-4 record.

Despite the fact the Lady Cats were in control most of the way, in the end, it was a tight contest with time running out on Dyer. Livingston led by as many as eleven in the event and trailed by three early in the contest.

Four Lady Wildcats ended the game in double figures with Alissa Sells leading the way with 15 while Adrian West added 14 and Mackenzie Sells and Kendria Kilgore each connecting for 12.

Livingston led by three, 67-64 with only 30 seconds left in the game, but with 13 seconds remaining, Dyer closed the gap to within one, 67-66.

Alissa Sells hit a pair of free throws with ten seconds left and Chelsea sealed the win with another pair for charity tosses with less than two seconds left.

The win left the Lady Cats with a 10-2 record.

In boys action, the Livingston netters battled through two nail biters in the Battle for the State tournament before reaching the finals played in Nashville. The string ran out against the state’s number one Single A team, Union City.

Opening with a cliff hanger against Brentwood Academy, the Wildcats used a three point basket by Clint West with only two seconds left to take a 70-67 decision.

In the semi finals, Livingston faced Independence High of Franklin, a team they had defeated earlier in the season by 16 points. This time it was much tougher.

Chase Dunn opened the scoring for the Wildcats with ten of LA’s 24 points in the first quarter for a 24-14 lead. But the Eagles came back in the second period to close the gap to six, 36-30 at intermission. At one point in the first half, LA led by as many as 17 markers and appeared to be on cruise control.

Then a 19-point outburst by the Eagles in the third period gave them a 49-47 lead going into the final frame. A pair of free throws with time running out by Dunn secured the win. On the night, Dunn had 30 points to lead all scorers while Deven Ramsey and Jeremy McLearran each hit for eleven.

In the finals against powerful Union City, Livingston ran out to a 4-0 lead on a pair of baskets by Dunn, but from that point on, it was all Union City. The Golden Tornadoes led 24-13 at the end of the first period and 38-22 at intermission. The winners nailed eleven three point baskets and dominated on the boards to take the win.

Dunn again paced Livingston with 16 points while West had 12 and Adam Wilson added ten.

The Wildcats finished the event with a 10-3 record.

Following the final game, two Livingston players, Dunn and T.J. Smith were named to the All Tournament Team. Union City’s M.J. Brown, last year’s “Mr. Basketball” in single A competition, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

 



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