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Archives 01-09-2008

Sports

RES holds Basketball 8th Grade Night
LA Wildcats pounce on Blue Devils 77-47
Lady Cats break Jackson Co. win streak

RES holds Basketball 8th Grade Night

Rickman Elementary School held Basketball 8th Grade Night on December 20. RES basketball players honored were Kelsey Copeland, daughter of Mike and Rita Copeland, Ashley Boykin, daughter of Richard and Regina Boykin, Abby Miller, daughter of Jon and Julie Miller, Haley Norris, daughter of Meredith and Vickie Norris, Abby Stephens, daughter of Eddie and Samantha Stephens, Dakota Thompson, daughter of Keith and Melissa Thompson, Kelsey Webb, daughter of Donnie and Trish Webb.

 

Rickman Elementary School held Basketball 8th Grade Night on December 20. Honored were cheerleaders Rachel Allred, daughter of Vickie Winstead and Ryan Allred, Kristin Nelson, daughter of Danny and Rhonda Nelson, Meagan Poston, daughter of Doug and Marlene Poston, Sarina Surridge, daughter of John and Pamela Surridge, and basketball players Zach Edmonds, son of Rod and Melinda Edmonds, Dakota Key, son of Kelly and Missy Key, and Justin Poston, son of Horace and Marcie Poston.

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LA Wildcats pounce on Blue Devils 77-47

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
T.J. Smith fires a shot from long range at Gainesboro last week.

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Will Peterman is determined to score against Jackson County during Friday night’s Livingston Academy Wildcats’ win.

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

“When you get off to a start like that, hardly anybody can come back and beat you.”

Livingston Academy’s T.J. Smith is a man of few words, but those were his thoughts right after Friday’s one-sided 77-47 romp over Jackson County.

The start Smith was referring to was seven straight three-point baskets to put the Wildcats up by 21 points almost before the final notes of the national anthem had settled in the gym.

“That had to be our best start of the season,” Smith continued. “Coach has been telling us that, but until Friday night, we just hadn’t done it. It was fun to see everything we threw up fall in.“

And it wasn’t just shooting that dominated the game. It was also a torrid defense that the Blue Devils just couldn’t handle. From start to finish, it was all Livingston.

“We did shoot well, but look at what we did on defense,” LA head coach Richard Melton pointed out. We held them to under 50 points and we’ve done that in several of our last few games. That’s what makes it easier to win. If the other team doesn’t make over 50 and with the shooters we have, we’re in good shape.”

Opening with 29 points in the first quarter, 21 from three-point range, the
Wildcats put the game totally out of reach early. To go along with the 29 offensive points, Livingston held Jackson County to only nine. And things didn’t get any better for the home team. In the second period, LA outscored the Blue Devils 19-10, and 22-18 in the third period. It was only in the final period that Livingston fell behind in the scoring, 7-10, but by that point, the outcome was decided and Melton had cleared his bench.

Livingston controlled the opening tip and Clint West opened the scoring with a three-pointer from the left corner. On the next trip back down court, West found the range again. Then it was Chase Dunn’s turn. The team’s leading scorer connected on the next two-pointers, then T.J. Smith got into the action. Smith slammed home two more long-range baskets, followed by the final one in the series by Todd Smith.

“We did shoot well,” Todd Smith laughed. “Funny thing about that was we know we can shoot that well, but we just haven’t been able to do it. All season long we have come out and struggled during the first period. Not tonight. Clint is the best shooter on the team, so it wasn’t surprising that he nailed those first two. It was just good to see him get back his confidence and that kinda set the tempo for the rest of us.”

In the second period, Melton, now convinced that his team had found the long range, wanted the ball to go inside more. T. J. Smith continued his hot hand from in close and Jeremy McLearran muscled in four points inside followed by four from Deven Ramsey.

At the intermission, Livingston was cruising along, 48-19.
“Once we established the fact we could hit the long ball, I wanted to see how we would do inside,” Melton said. “I told them to go inside and on the next shot, it was a three. It was good, but they hadn’t followed instructions so I pulled out those five players and put in five new ones. They got the message.

“Inside I thought we played well, especially on defense. We boxed out well and got the rebounds. Over the Christmas tournaments, we found out just how important rebounding is and tonight we did a good job. Basketball is a game of offense and defense although tonight, defense was a little
overshadowed,” the coach laughed.

“I really think that those tournaments over Christmas really made us a much better team,“ Melton went on. “We played some of the best teams in the state and came out with a 4-2 record which isn’t bad, but more importantly, we learned some valuable lessons.

“Tonight we played much better team ball,” he continued. “Chase only got 10 points tonight, but he passed off so many balls that turned into points. I was really pleased with that. as I was with the team play of Kendall (Melton). He had an outstanding game even though he didn’t score a point I don’t think. Todd (Smith) found out you don’t have to be tall to rebound and had a very good game, offensively and defensively, and I was well pleased with our younger players like Brad Jackson. He’s going to be a player that will get so much better with playing time. You get the ball close to him and he’s going to do something with it if he has to knock out two or three players to do it.”

On the night, the Wildcats placed four players in double figures with T.J. Smith leading the way with 20, followed by Todd Smith with 12, West with 11 and Dunn with 10. The Wildcats ended the night with nine three-point baskets.

Livingston, now 13-4 on the season, will be at home Tuesday night to face always tough Pickett County in a non-district contest then head for Smith County on Friday to head down the stretch with district matches.

“We think we’re the best team in the district,” Todd Smith confessed, “but there are some really good teams waiting for us. Our play so far this year has been against some very good teams, so we have a lot of confidence and tonight’s game didn’t do anything to change that. As a senior, this is a lot of fun, and everybody on this team thinks we can go a long way to the state championship. “


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Lady Cats break Jackson Co. win streak

Mac McLeod
Kendria Kilgore, #54, takes a shot against the Lady Blue Devils.

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Coach Lesley Smith instructs the Lady Cats during a time-out in Friday night’s comeback win.

 

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

Livingston Academy and Jackson County don’t play in the same classification or the same district, but when they do play it’s almost like playing for the state championship.

Friday night, when they clashed in Gainesboro the Lady Blue Devils where trying to continue an undefeated season and the Lady Wildcats were looking for a little revenge for an early season loss in the Midsouth Classic.
When it ended, Livingston had its sweet revenge and Jackson County had suffered its first defeat in 18 games.

“It is always a big game for both of us,” Livingston’s Shelby Taylor explained after the game. “When we played them back in December we played horrible and lost by seven so we knew if we played better we could beat them. They are a good team, but so are we and tonight we got it all together, played very good defense and got points at the right time.”

The combination of good defense and sharp shooting , especially in the final period, saw the Lady Wildcats overcome a seven point deficit in the third quarter to rally to a 50-42 victory and moved their season mark to 15-2, while Jackson County will pick up the pieces and continue on at 17-1.

“We expected a tough game,” Jackson County’s successful coach Jim Brown said after the game, “but we didn’t expect to play as bad as we did. Livingston gets some of the credit for that, especially in the fourth period when we only scored seven points.”

The seven points the Wildcats held the Lady Devils to in the fourth period, in addition to 17 of their own, was definitely the key to the victory.

“I was getting pretty tired there in the fourth period, probably from trying to play defense,” Adrian West confessed. “I hadn’t made a point in the first half, but that three-point shot in the third (LA was up by 28-25 with 5 minutes remaining) got me going and then in the fourth, I just shot and they just fell. It was due mainly to being open and that’s credit to my teammates.

They got me the ball at the right time.”

The two teams battled to a draw in the first period, each scoring 11. At the intermission, Jackson County held a slim four-point advantage at 25-21, and only a Jackson County shot at the buzzer gave the home team the advantage going into the final eight minutes at 35-33.

“Coach (Lesley Smith) told us before the game and said it again at the start of the fourth period that if we would box out under the basket we would get the rebounds and if we played good defense we would win,” Kendria Kilgore explained. “She was right. We really played great defense in the fourth period and we managed to get a lot of rebounds. Actually, I think we played good defense all night and it finally showed late in the game.”

West hit a big three-point basket early in the fourth frame to tie the game at 39. Kilgore grabbed a rebound on the other end of the floor and got it to West, who nailed a long-range three to put the Lady Cats ahead,42-39.

Alyssa Sells grabbed a big rebound moments later and got it to Kilgore who drove it home in the lane and suddenly, Livingston was on a roll and up by five, 44-39.

But the Lady Devils weren’t about to fold. They hit a three-pointer to close the gap to two moments later, but West continued the hot hand for Livingston with a bucket in close. With two and a half minutes remaining, Livingston had the ball and a 46-42 lead.

“At that point, we slowed it down and that was the toughest two minutes in my life,” Taylor admitted. “Trying to keep the ball away from a team like Jackson County is about as tough as trying to come back from 10 points down. You’ve got to keep the ball moving and not make a bad pass. I thought we did a great job of doing that.”

Indeed the Lady Cats did. Jackson County would not get a single point in the final two minutes and 20 seconds. At that point the home team had to foul and the Lady Cats responded. Alyssa Sells nailed two big charity shots with 33 seconds left to put LA up by six, 48-42, and with five seconds remaining, West would hit two more for the final eight-point margin of victory.

In addition to the solid defensive showing, the Lady Cats spread the scoring around as well with three players hitting double figures, led by West with 14, Kilgore with 12 and Chelsea Carr with 12. Alyssa Sells had five points, Taylor added four and Mackenzie Sells rounded out the LA total with two.
“I think we went into this game totally focused on what we had to do, knowing if we did it we would win,” West pointed out. “Everybody that got on that floor played outstanding. Alyssa (Sells) got some big rebounds late in the game, Kendria (Kilgore) dominated inside and Shelby (Taylor) really did a great job of keeping the ball away from them (Jackson County) late in the game. Chelsea had a good night shooting and when we can put all that together, we’re not a bad team at all.”

Tuesday night the Lady Cats will host a scrappy Pickett County team, then hit the home stretch in District 7 2A. The first test will come on the road Friday night at Smith County against the Lady Bees and their 7-foot center.



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