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Archives 01-10-2007

Sports

Lady Cats defeat Jackson County, David Lipscomb
TTU Night to be held at LA Saturday
Cats lose close to Devils, run over by Mustangs

 

Lady Cats defeat Jackson County, David Lipscomb

Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Chelsea Carr wins the battle for the ball on the LA gym floor in Saturday's victory.

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 period lead.

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 down.

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
.

 

TTU 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 High School.

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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Cats 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 Lipscomb High
.

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 win.

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 night.

"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 to do.

"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 weak shooting.

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 half.

"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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