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Archives 03-07-2007

Sports

Lady Cats State Tournament bound
LA Wildcats' season ends in Region 4-AA Tournament
Golf Pass Key available to area golfers
County athlete receives academic honor
Kellie Thurman eclipses 1,000 points



 


Lady Cats State Tournament bound

Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Region 4-AA Runner-Up, and now state bound, members of the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats are, kneeling from left, Alyssa Thompson, Devin Thompson, Amber Welch, Shelby Taylor, Alissa Sells, Chelsea Carr, Kendria Kilgore, standing, Adrian West, Jada Ledbetter, Britany Smith, Brittany McCoin, Alison West, Ashley Matthews, and Mallie Stephens.

Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Named to the All-Region 4-AA Team are, from left, Kendria Kilgore, Britany Smith, Alison West, and Ashley Matthews.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
And now there are only eight.

After four months, 30-35 games played, and wins and losses on both sides of the column, there are only eight teams remaining in the elusive chase for the girl's state basketball championship.

And one of those is the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats, who will see opening round action in the Class AA title chase Wednesday night in Murfreesboro against Booker T. Washington, starting at 8:30 p.m.

"This has been our goal for a long time," senior Ashley Matthews beamed after she and her teammates toppled Region 3 winners McMinn Central 54-45 in sub state action at Inglewood on Saturday, March 3. "We remembered what happened here last year, and we were determined that it wouldn't end up like that this time.

"I can't remember being on a team that was so determined to win."

After falling to Upperman earlier in the week in the Region 4 title game, 54-37, the Lady Cats knew it would be a tough road to Murfreesboro, since they had to play on the road and this wasn't the first time they had been to McMinn Central. Only last year Livingston lost a heartbreaker 62-60 to the Chargerettes. This time they were determined things would be different.

"That's all we thought about this week," Matthews continued. "We all remembered what happened over here last year, and when they got close in the fourth period, I thought we might let it get away again.

"But everyone stepped it up a notch tonight. I think we were so much more mature this time.

"Late in the regular season, we started changing. And this time when the game got close, we didn't fold, we just played that much harder.

"Brittany (McCoin) was just outstanding inside, and Chelsea (Carr) came off the bench to nail that big 3-pointer, then did a great job in handling the ball. Kendria (Kilgore) stepped up when Alison got in foul trouble, and it just goes on and on.

"Our goal was to get to Murfreesboro, and nothing was going to stop us.

Matthews was right on the mark.

McCoin has steadily improved over the season, and Saturday her shooting and her rebounding were superior. Her 10 points were big, but her rebounding inside was even bigger.

"I don't know," the easygoing senior said. "It just felt good tonight when I shot that first shot (a 3-pointer that put Livingston up 3-2 in the first period), and it went on from there.

"McMinn was a physical team, and we had to get physical, and tonight I just did. We all wanted to win so badly, we just played as hard as we could."

After McCoin put her team on top 3-2 early in the game, Matthews followed with another three and West hit a pair of free throws to move the Lady Cats out to an 8-2 lead. But McMinn roared back with 8 straight points to lead 10-8 at the end of the frame.

McMinn hit the first 3 points of the second period, and led by 5 moments later, despite a basket by Matthews. Kilgore then came in and went to work. The young sophomore connected on a field goal and a free shot, and when Mallie Stephens hit a 3-pointer with 4 minutes left in the half, the Lady Cats trailed by only a point, 17-16.

West then tied the score with a free throw, Kilgore put up 4 more points, and Matthews ended the half with 4 points. At intermission, Livingston led 25-21.

A quick 4 points to open the third period by the Lady Chargers knotted the score at 25, but McCoin connected on her second 3-pointer of the night to put Livingston up by 3 at 28-25, and the Lady Cats never looked back.

Britany Smith followed McCoin's three with a field goal, Matthews added another, then Carr upped the lead to 7 with a field goal with 3 minutes left in the period. Kilgore's basket with a minute left pushed LA out to a 10-point advantage, 37-27, then Carr slammed the door shut on the home team with a mammoth 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the visitors out to a 13-point lead to start the final period.

When McMinn went on a run late in the game to close the gap to 4 at 49-45, Matthews calmly paraded to the foul line three straight times and connected on 5 of 6 attempts. In the final period, the hot shooting senior attempted 10 free throws and connected on 8, and made a field goal. She led the LA scoring attack with 19 points.

Matthews said, "Chelsea did super getting the ball in to me every time, and then, since I had the ball, they fouled me. Tonight I hit most of them.

"This is so big for us, I can't hardly explain it, and it was such a team win. Every player on this team contributed to this, and now we're going to Murfreesboro. This is what it's all about."

Kilgore had 11 points in the win, McCoin added 10, West and Carr each had 6, Stephens 3, and Smith 2.

Stephens said, "Four years ago we went to the state championship and won, but that was like riding the bus. We were all freshmen. This time we're going back, and we're driving the bus this time.

"LA Coach Lesley Smith said, "From my seat, it was just an outstanding defensive effort. They (McMinn) tried to drive it down our throats tonight, and we stopped them.

"Earlier I thought they manhandled us a bit, but once we realized it was going to be a physical game, we got physical.

"Brittany (McCoin) played one of her best games ever, especially rebounding, and our guards handled the pressure extremely well.

"After Brittany made her first 3-pointer, I told her to just keep shooting, and I think she only missed one shot all night. That was outstanding.

"Chelsea's 3-pointer at the buzzer in the third was huge, and I thought we kept our poise late in the game.

"Ashley did what she has been doing for four years, and that was make the shots when they were so important.

"And when Alison got in foul trouble, Kendria went in and played outstanding," the coach added.

"We know from here on out, you either win or go home, and naturally, we want to win. But for this team to reach the final eight teams in the state is just great. We'll go to Murfreesboro and see what happens."

Earlier in the week, the Lady Wildcats lost to Upperman in the Region finals. Upperman's Lady Bees, like the Lady Wildcats, won their sub state game on Saturday night, and somewhere down the line, if both keep winning, they could meet again for the fifth time this season.

West said, "I would like to face them one more time, this time on a neutral court."

Upperman beat Livingston three times in Baxter this year and the Lady Cats took the fourth game at Livingston. The Lady Cats' record now stands at 28-8 on the season.

 

 

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LA Wildcats' season ends in Region 4-AA Tournament

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Way back in December, Livingston Academy head basketball coach Richard Melton observed, "If they are going to get us, it had better be this year."

Coach Melton was referring to the fact that his team was very young this season and would only get better with age and experience.

When the final buzzer sounded Tuesday night, Feb. 27, the young Wildcats were heading home after suffering a second round regional loss to Station Camp, 62-52, but the fact that all but one player would be returning next year could only bring smiles to the LA coach and followers.

"We always set our goals high, and we didn't get as high as our goal was this year, but we went one game better than last year (Livingston lost in the first round of the regional tournament last season)," the coach pointed out.

"Station Camp was a good team, and we were a good team, and tonight the better team won. We didn't shoot well tonight, and we broke down on defense at times.

"Chase (Dunn) played his heart out, and Jeremy (McLearran) has come so far this year. How could you not be pleased with our season?" Melton added.

Of the 34 teams the Wildcats faced this season, only 11 "got them" this year, and next year's goal has already been set to make it to the state tournament. It's a lofty goal, the coach knows, but he believes his players can achieve it.

"We achieved so much this year," Melton continued. "We played 34 games and won 21, that in itself says a lot about our team. We started the season with only one senior and two juniors, and we won all those games, the regular season district title and the district tournament championship.

"We achieved more than I thought we would with this young of a team. I can't wait to get started on next season."

In last week's regional game with Station Camp, the Wildcats were up by 5 at 19-14 at the end of the first period, but lost the scoring touch in the second period and only hit for 6 markers. The game was tied at 25 at intermission.

A 5-point spread in the third period and a 5-point spread in the fourth period accounted for the 10-point margin of victory for the Bisons.

"We just didn't play well," LA's Deven Ramsey pointed out. "I got in foul trouble early, and couldn't get too aggressive inside, and as a team, we didn't shoot well at all.

"When you get this far and lose, it hurts, but you have to realize that that's the way it goes sometimes.

"We'll be back next year."

Dunn led the LA scoring with 27 points, one more than he needed to take his place in the elite 1,000 points club at the school. McLearran was the only other Wildcat to reach double figures. He had 10.

In the regional championship game, Station Camp went on to beat White House for top honors in the state sectionals.

Dunn and McLearran were named to the All-Regional Team.

Coach Melton said, "I'm ready to take some time off. But I'll be ready when we get started again in November. This team has the potential to do some great things, and I don't think they will be satisfied with anything short of reaching the state finals.

"Looking back over the season, we matured so much. Early in the season, we would get a big lead and kinda go on cruise control. Later in the season, even when we got behind we didn't fold, and usually came back to win. That's the mark of maturity.

"I hate we didn't go farther for Tyson (Stover). He has meant so much to this team, and he has been a great player. I will have to say that Tyson took a charge better than anyone, and I mean anyone, that I have ever seen play the game. He had the play down to perfection, and there were times when it was so critical. I never tired of watching him take a charge," the coach went on.

"Last year we lost six seniors from a team that went 23-9. This year we lose one from a team that went 23-11. We are moving forward. The players worked extremely hard this year, and they will work even harder, if that's possible, next year.

"I was so proud of Jeremy and Chase making the all region team. If there was an award for Most Improved Player, Jeremy would get it. He's already working in the weight room getting ready for next season.

"Now, this season is over and its time to move on," the coach concluded. "We'll take some time off, rest up a little, then get ready for next year. The district is strong, and we will need to be better, and I think we will."

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Golf Pass Key available to area golfers

Tennessee PGA's 2007 PassKey Golf Savings Book offers golfers the opportunity to enjoy over 150 golf facilities across the state while also helping to support the association's many Growth of Game Initiatives programs.

The 2007 PassKey booklet offers golfers savings on rounds of golf, lessons, merchandise, range balls and more. For $39 (tax, shipping & handling included) golfers can play more than 500 rounds of golf at facilities such as Gaylord Springs Golf Links, the five Bear Trace golf courses, all of the Metro Nashville courses, and all seven of the Tennessee Golf Trail state park courses, among many others.

Tennessee PGA, one of the 41 Sections of the PGA of America, is dedicated to growing the game by introducing golf to individuals, regardless of ability, from across the state. A portion of the PassKey membership fees helps support Growth of Game Initiatives. Programs such as the Special Olympics Golf Program, Blind Golfers Program, and the Tennessee PGA Junior Golf Academy are just a few of the programs that are supported.

Previous PassKey members can also reap benefits with the PassKey Advantage Referral program -new for 2007. When current PassKey members have a friend purchase a PassKey booklet, the referring member automatically receives two sleeves of Top-Flite premium golf balls as well as being entered in a contest to win a Grand Prize of a free round of golf for them and a friend at any golf course in Tennessee.

Many facilities are offering weekend and holiday play, and unlimited visits that allows one round of golf per day at the discounted rate.

For more information on how golfers can save on golf this year call Tennessee PGA at (615) 790-7600 or visit the website at http://golfhousetennessee.com/passkey.

Participating courses include Ironwood Golf Course, White Plains Golf Course, and Southern Hills Golf Course in Cookeville, Mountain Ridge Golf Course in Monterey, Deer Creek Golf Course, Lake Tansi Village Golf Course, and Four Seasons Golf Course in Crossville, Fairfield Glade Country Club in Fairfield Glade, Smithville Golf Course in Smithville, and Tennessee Golf Trail at Fall Creek Falls in Pikeville.

 

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County athlete receives academic honor

Megan Thompson of Overton County was recently named to the TranSouth Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.

Thompson plays for the Freed-Hardeman University Lady Lions basketball team.

To qualify as a TranSouth Scholar Athlete, a player must be at least a sophomore in academic standing, and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

 

 

Kellie Thurman eclipses 1,000 points

Former Livingston Academy standout Kellie Thurman scored her 1,000th point as a Bryan College Lady Lion in a game against Virginia Intermont on January 30

In the game, she scored 18 points, made 4 assists, and had 5 rebounds.

She ended the regular season ranked 23rd in free throw percentage in Division II, at 83.1%.

Seeded 4th in their bracket, the Bryan Lady Lions will open the NAIA Women's Basketball Division II National Championship Tournament against No. 3 Ottawa (Kansas) on Thursday, March 8, at 2:15 p.m.

Bryan is 25-7 on the season.

 

 

 

 

 

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Overton County News
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