Lady Cats defeat Jackson County, David Lipscomb
TTU Night to be held at LA Saturday
Cats lose close to Devils, run over by Mustangs
Cats defeat Jackson County, David Lipscomb
Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Chelsea Carr wins the battle for the ball on the LA gym floor in
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
"Without Jada, we're a good team," Livingston Academy's
team leader Ashley Matthews pointed out Friday night, Jan. 5, "but
with her, we were awesome."
Matthews was referring to Jada Ledbetter, the inside strength of
the Lady Wildcats until an injury to her left leg last week put
her on the sidelines, perhaps for the remainder of the season.
"But," the senior point guard continued, "Brittany
(McCoin) and Britany (Smith) have really picked us up, and they
are playing as hard as they have played in their entire careers.
Tonight (Friday), both of them played like it was a state championship
game, and getting a win over Jackson County was so big for our entire
team. We're going to be all right."
Friday's game at home against old foe Jackson County was the first
of two very tough games for the Lady Wildcats, and by the time the
final buzzer sounded Saturday evening, Livingston had put away two
talented opponents, and in the process, gained a lot of confidence
in addition to moving their season record to 14-4.
Jackson County fell to LA 53-48 in overtime, and Saturday, a very
good David Lipscomb squad dropped a nail biter to LA, 52-51.
Before Friday's game, Jackson County Lady Blue Devils Coach Jim
Brown said he was working with a team that wasn't quite as good
as teams in recent years, and an 11-6 record proved his point.
"We've beaten the teams we should have beaten, and lost to
the teams we should have lost to," Brown explained, "which
means we should probably lose tonight."
As sly as an old fox, Brown was hiding the fact that regardless
of records or past performances, when his team takes the floor against
Livingston Academy, it's anyone's game to win or lose, and Friday
was no exception.
Both teams started slowly, going over two minutes before a single
point was scored. Alison West put LA's first two points on the board
from inside, then Smith followed with another inside bucket. McCoin
then connected twice, and Shelby Taylor hit a pull-up jumper from
the key as the buzzer sounded to give the home team a 12-7 first
Taylor started things off in the second period and Matthews put
in a basket as the Lady Cats took off on a 6-0 run and appeared
to be headed for an easy win.
But that wasn't the case at all. After trailing 18-7 midway through
the period, the Lady Blue Devils struggled back with a pair of long
3-pointers while slowing down the pace, and at intermission the
game was tied at 20.
West got the hot hand in the third frame, scoring 9 points, and
Livingston led by 6 at 36-30 when the final quarter started.
Again Jackson County refused to go away, and with 3:10 remaining
in regulation, the Lady Devils took the lead 42-40. From that point
on, it was a see-saw battle with Jackson controlling the tempo of
the game by getting a slim one or two-point lead, then slowing it
At the end of regulation, the game was tied at 45, but in overtime,
McCoin put the Lady Cats ahead with a good inside basket, and Matthews
scored six straight points, one from the field and four from the
foul line. Livingston outscored Jackson 8-3 in overtime.
"I guess I finally figured out that I had to get more aggressive
inside with Jada out," McCoin grinned after the win. "It
was a real team win tonight and it was fun just being a part of
it. Mallie (Stephens) was so important tonight on her defense, and
we had a good balanced scoring game.
"Jackson County is always tough, and they were again tonight,
so that makes this even more fun."
Matthews led Livingston with 15 points, while West ripped the cords
for 13 and McCoin had 14, one of her highest scoring games in three
years. Smith added 5 points, and Taylor put in 4.
And if the packed house on Friday thought that was a good game,
those who came back Saturday saw an even better one.
Lipscomb came to Livingston with a 13-3 record, and one of the
biggest teams the Lady Cats had seen thus far this season, but the
scrappy Lady Cats discounted that fact and anything else as they
pulled off one of the season's biggest wins.
From start to finish, the outcome was always in doubt. Livingston
led 12-11 at the end of the first period, and was on top by a point,
26-25, at intermission.
At the end of the third frame, Lipscomb managed to get out front
by the same margin, 38-37.
But it was the fourth period that separated winners and losers.
Lipscomb ran off five unanswered points to start the final frame,
but McCoin and Matthews pulled the Lady Cats back to within two
at 43-41 at the 5-minute mark. Lipscomb then went on a 6-0 run that
upped the lead to 49-43, but Livingston never gave up.
Pressure on the ball forced several key turnovers down the stretch,
and two straight LA baskets, one each by Matthews and Taylor, pulled
the Lady Cats to 51-50 with 40 seconds remaining.
A walking violation by the Lady Mustangs gave the ball back to
Livingston with only 9 seconds left, and Matthews then went to the
free throw line and sank both shots for the 52-51 win.
Lipscomb had one last shot, but strong inside play by LA got the
rebound as time ran out.
"That was fun," Lady Cats Coach Lesley Smith said smiling
when it was over. "Both teams were fairly even, but our kids
just wanted it more tonight. This entire team played as hard as
it could. Nobody ever thought we would lose and we didn't.
"I was really proud of them tonight."
Stephens said after the win, "Brittany (McCoin) and Britany
(Smith) really played good tonight. They know what they have to
do and they are getting it done. We played two tough games this
week and they really came through in both of them."
As for Matthews, the wins were outstanding, but, "I really
don't want to see them (Lipscomb) again. They were very good."
Actually, Matthews and her teammates would like to see the Lady
Mustangs one more time and that would be for the state championship.
As for Jackson County, they will meet for a second time in Gainesboro
on January 30.
Matthews led Livingston in scoring with 20 points, while West and
Stephens each had 8, and McCoin added 5.
After travelling to Byrdstown to face Pickett County's Lady Bobcats
on Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Lady Cats will return home on Friday, Jan.
12 to host Smith County in a District 7-AA contest that begins at
6:30 p.m. LA will then host Cleveland High School the following
evening in a game set to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Upperman High School will host the Lady Cats on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Mallie Stephens brings the ball down the court for LA.
Night to be held at LA Saturday
In recognition of the partnership between Overton County and Tennessee
Tech University, a celebration of the partnership will be held at
the Livingston Academy basketball game on Saturday night, Jan. 13
at 5:30 p.m. when the Wildcats take the floor against Cleveland
Robert Bell, president of TTU, is scheduled to attend with several
TTU administrators, faculty, and staff to express appreciation to
education partners in the Overton County School System, Tennessee
Technology Center at Livingston, Volunteer State Community College,
and other numerous partners throughout the community, as well as
to all the TTU students, alumni, employees, and those who have supported
TTU throughout the years.
TTU will then host "Overton County Night" at the Hooper-Eblen
Center at 5:30.on Thursday, Feb. 1.
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lose close to Devils, run over by Mustangs
Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Deven Ramsey powers in for a shot in Saturday's game against David
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
After winning the championship at the East Literature Classic back
in December, it appeared the Livingston Academy Wildcats might have
finally gotten back on track and could be well on their way to a
district championship and even more.
Two games later it appears as if there has been a big train wreck
and some major repairs are in order to get things rolling again.
Now that the season has hit its second half, and from this point
on most games lead to tournament action, the Wildcats are at best
in disarray, losing their last three straight home games, and falling
to single-A foe Jackson County and double-A opponent David Lipscomb
over the weekend.
"We did exactly opposite of what we have been trying to do
all season," LA head coach Richard Melton explained Saturday
before the Lipscomb game. "We have worked hard on making the
other team play more defense, and last night we were the ones playing
most of the defense.
"I hope we do better tonight. Last night was horrible."
"Last night" was Friday, Jan. 5 and District 7-A power
Jackson County brought to town a game the Wildcats were never able
to adjust to. As a result, the Blue Devils came away with a 66-62
Junior Jeremy McLearran tried to explain before Saturday's game,
"We just aren't doing what Coach has been trying to get us
to do. Last night our defense just wasn't there. We didn't get the
rebounds, and we didn't block out at all under the boards.
"They got most of the rebounds, shot very well and controlled
the tempo of the game. As long as they got the rebounds and had
the ball, they could do what they wanted to, and it got us totally
out of our game.
"You have to give them credit, they played well, but we have
got to start doing better.
Jackson brought an 11-5 record to Livingston, and from the opening
whistle, never doubted they could win. The Blue Devils hit their
first two 3-point attempts of the night and raced out to a 6-0 lead.
Chase Dunn did his best to answer with a basket and a pair of three's
himself. Tyson Stover hit a three, and Clint West hit two threes,
but it was not enough.
At the buzzer ending the first frame, Jackson's Tyler Cassety nailed
a 3-pointer from half-court and the Devils led 21-19.
Things stayed fairly even in the second period with Livingston
finally taking the lead at 32-29, but again Jackson County nailed
a 3-pointer, then moved ahead 37-34 at intermission.
At the end of the third period, Livingston trailed by 6 at 56-60,
then things really took a turn for the worst. Todd Smith injured
a foot and went to the sidelines.
If that wasn't bad enough, Stover fouled out with 5 minutes to
play, and with 2:39 remaining, LA's only real offense, Dunn, picked
up his final foul.
"With everything else that was happening to us, we lose those
three players and we're out of it," McLearran added.
With the lead and the basketball, Jackson County went into a very
slow offense and held on for the 66-62 win.
The loss dropped the Wildcats to 11-7 on the season.
And after the poor showing on Friday, the last thing the Wildcats
needed was a very powerful Lipscomb team coming to town Saturday
"We know what we need to do," McLearran said before the
game. "Now it's up to us to go out and get it done.
"We know we're a young team, but that's not an excuse. We
just aren't doing what Coach Melton has been trying to teach us
"We have to get stronger on the boards, and we have got to
block out better after shots."
Two hours later none of the above had happened and two more critical
aspects of the game entered the equation: poor ball handling and
Lipscomb opened the game with a 5-0 run and never looked back.
The Mustangs led 20-9 at the end of the first period, and were well
in control at 51-27 at intermission.
Even a pep talk at the break didn't seem to change things. The
visitors roared away to a 67-42 lead at the end of the third period,
and then simply coasted to the 77-55 win.
Dunn was the only Wildcat in double figures as he led LA in scoring
with 12 points. West had 9, Stover added 8, and Deven Ramsey and
T.J. Smith each hit for 6.
Coach Melton said later, "This may not sound exactly right,
but I wasn't all that disappointed in tonight's game.
"Lipscomb was just a better team than we were, and you will
run into that if you play this game long enough.
"Now, Friday night is a different matter. I was not happy
at all with the way we played because we just didn't come to play.
"I was impressed with the way Lipscomb played, and I was encouraged
with the way we came out and played the second half," Melton
continued. "They scored 51 points in the first half, and only
26 in the second half. So that showed me we never quit trying, and
in that effort, I am pleased.
"We played hard the entire game, especially in the second
"Lipscomb is such a good, fundamental team. and they shot
so well, I knew by the end of the first period we were in trouble.
"I will say this -I was so impressed with the way they played
I'm going to watch the film and try and install some of their offense
in our offense. It was that good."
With things appearing to be on a downhill slide, the Cats were
next headed to a tough Pickett County pack of Bobcats on Tuesday,
Jan. 9. In the first meeting of the season between the two, the
Wildcats won by 9, but it was a hard-fought game all the way.
Smith County comes to Livingston on Friday, Jan. 12, and Cleveland
High School will be in town on Saturday, Jan. 13.
"Next week will be important to us," Melton said. "We
need to have some good games to get ready for the district run,
which is the most important thing right now.
"We have some tough games ahead. The entire district from
top to bottom is so much better than last year, and most of our
opponents are veteran teams.
"We might be the youngest team in the district, but if we
can get back on track, I think we should be okay."
Upperman High School will host the Wildcats on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Chase Dunn looks for a teammate to inbound the ball.
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