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
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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,
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
"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
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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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
"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
"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
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
"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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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
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
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,
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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
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of golf for them and a friend at any golf course in Tennessee.
Many facilities are offering weekend and holiday play, and unlimited
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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
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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
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.
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
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570