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Archives 01-30-2008

Sports

Livingston Academy Wildcats tied for district lead
Lady Wildcats receive wake up call at York Institute
LMS holds 8th Grade Basketball Night
Ball park sign-ups to be held Saturday

Livingston Academy Wildcats tied for district lead

Mac McLeod photo
Justin Poston, #5, fights for his balance to keep the ball inbounds in Friday night’s Livingston Academy win over DeKalb County.



Mac McLeod photo
Kendall Melton, #3, breaks loose for a shot against DeKalb.

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

Livingston Academy’s junior guard Chase Dunn is a man with few words but off the court, a man always with a smile on his face. Opposing teams usually walk away with a frown.

“I really don’t know how to explain it,” Dunn will say, always moving while he talks. “I just get the ball and if nobody else is open, I shoot. I miss some and make some.”

That’s about the extent of the conversation, but long after his words are gone, his actions on the floor are still remembered.

Heading into last week’s action, Dunn had collected 1,643 points in his three seasons as a Wildcat and when it was over, the deadly shooting point man had added 54 more to the total and two more opponents were added to the list of those who had tried—and failed. When the weeks were over, Livingston had rolled up an impressive 19-4 overall record and more importantly, no less than a tie for the District 7-2A league championship on a perfect 7-0 league mark.

“We’re playing pretty good right now,” senior Todd Smith pointed out after Friday’s win over DeKalb County. “We need to be a little more intense and a little more consistent, but overall, we’re working on weaknesses every day and now we just need to keep it going.

“Chase and T.J. (Smith) are putting up points and Deven (Ramsey) and Jeremy (McLearran) are getting better and better inside so that has allowed us to do more things and the more we can do, the better we will be. Right now, it’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait til the next game.”

Prior to Friday’s scrappy win, the Wildcats had disposed of a good York squad, 53-47 on the road Tuesday as the regular season quickly draws down to its final two weeks. Only district games with Smith County, Cannon County and Upperman remain on the schedule.

“I didn’t think we played all that good against York,” LA head coach Richard Melton pointed out Friday. “Don’t get me wrong, we’re winning and that’s the first priority, but I just didn’t think we played smart. Tonight we made far too many mental mistakes that resulted in turnovers. On the other hand, everybody we play wants to beat us so every time we go on the floor, we have to bring our best game. Its tough to stay that focused all the time, but that’s what we’ve worked for and that’s what we have to continue to try to do.”

Whether they brought their best games to the floor last week or not, the results were perfect. Both York and DeKalb put up strong showings, but in the end, both fell and that was the main thing.

“The district is stronger than it has been in a long time, from top to bottom,” McLearran explained, “and we have to play better and better. I think since Christmas, our inside play with Deven and Adam (Wilson) has improved and we needed to improve to allow the outside people to get better shots and more of them. If we can control inside and pull down rebounds, then that’s more opportunities for us to score on both ends of the floor.”

Such was the case, especially against DeKalb on Friday. Although the Tigers stayed close through the first two periods, it was inside strength that got the Wildcats the ball and the results were Dunn and Smith lighting up the score board for a combined total of 55 points. Only 14 short of the entire output of the entire DeKalb squad.

At Jamestown on Tuesday, the Dragons were determined to hand a loss on the Wildcats and stayed close almost the entire game. Livingston led 14-11 at the end of the first period but the score was knotted at 27 at intermission.
Then at the outset of the third period, Livingston went on a big 10-0 run that finally put some daylight between the two teams. Smith opened the period with a basket followed by a steal and bucket by Dunn. Clint West then put back a shot followed by another pair of baskets by Smith and Dunn.

At the start of the final frame, the Wildcats were up by nine. York ran off six straight points midway through the period to close the gap to five, 46-41 then ripped off two straight three point baskets to pull to within two, 49-47 with a minute remaining. In the meantime, Kendall Melton and Wilson hit for three free throws and down the stretch, Dunn hit a pair, Todd Smith added one and T.J. hit for a final point for the margin of victory.

“York played a very good game and they are a good team,” Ramsey explained. “It was tough inside tonight, but everybody on the floor gave a good effort and our balance pulled it out. That’s what we can expect every time we play from here on out. Every team we play gets up for us and we’ve finally realized that. It will require our best effort every time.”

Dunn led the LA attack with 22 points while T.J. Smith added 14. West had five and McLearran was good for four.

It was much the same story Friday night as DeKalb used the long range shooting of Payne Denman to hang tough until midway through the third frame, then the Wildcat scoring machine of Smith and Dunn got intense. Denman hit seven three pointers on the night, but it couldn’t over come the 55-point effort of Smith and Dunn.

Livingston edged ahead in the first period, 15-11 and held a seven point, 39-32 lead at intermission.

Then, like they did against York on Tuesday, the Wildcats ripped off 15 unanswered points to start the third frame and the outcome was never in doubt. In the third period, Dunn was good for eight points and McLearran added four more to the 19-point outbreak.

Dunn opened the final period with a three point basket then stole the ball and raced the length of the court for another easy basket and at that point, Livingston was out to a big 63-45 advantage. Smith, Justin Poston, West, Melton and Dunn dominated the final eight minutes with basket after basket and the 24-point fourth quarter attack.

“DeKalb played hard and they just wouldn’t go away ,” Ramsey added. “But when our guys find the shooting range, we’re hard to stop and that’s what happened tonight. Chase and T.J. did their normal thing but Kendall (Melton) and Justin (Poston) came off the bench and played well. It was good team ball.”

The Wildcats will be at home both nights this week, hosting Jackson County on Tuesday in a non-district contest, then greet Smith County, a team they defeated on the road earlier in the month, 73-56 on Friday.


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Lady Wildcats receive wake up call at York Institute

Mac McLeod photo
Adrian West is surrounded by Lady Tigers in Friday’s game.

Mac McLeod photo
Shelby Taylor, #5, looks for the open range against DeKalb.

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

When the week started last Tuesday, the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats found themselves in a three way battle for the top spot in District 7, 2A with Upperman and York Institute. Heading into Friday’s contest with DeKalb, they suddenly discovered they were out of the top spot and were looking for help to get back in a three –way tie.

“They just rammed it down our throats,” Assistant Livingston coach Lora Franklin pointed out trying to find the right words to describe Tuesday’s 66-56 loss to York on the road. “They came out and hit everything they threw up and we found ourselves in a situation where we were down 12 points right off the bat and that’s something that hasn’t happened to us this year.

“We finally put it back together, but it was too late, especially against a good team like York. Maybe we found out that there are several good teams in the district this year. Maybe it was a good wake up call.”

For the past several years the race in the district has been mostly a Livingston-Upperman party with the other teams on the outside looking in. Not so this time around. In addition to Upperman, York has come on strong as has Macon County. This year all of the top teams will be looking from some help from the other squads to sort out who ends up the regular season champs and right now, with a 6-2 league mark, Livingston is the one looking for an upset somewhere in the final two weeks of the regular season.

Heading into Tuesday’s game at York, the Lady Wildcats kinda knew what to expect since LA and the Lady Dragons had already clashed twice this year and both times, the Lady Wildcats had come out on top. In a meeting in Livingston back in early December, LA posted a 70-56 win and in the final’s of a Christmas tournament in Franklin, LA again was the winner, but this time it was in overtime.

“They (York) were a much better team the second time we played them,” Alissa Sells pointed out. “I don’t think we overlooked them at all Tuesday. They came out and just burned the nets and we couldn’t stop them early. Then we had to play catch up and it just didn’t work out. Sometimes it just works that way.”

In Tuesday’s game, York scored first and Sells answered followed by a basket by Kendria Kilgore to giver LA a 4-2 lead. Adrian West kept the LA lead at 6-4, then suddenly the Lady Dragons were almost unstoppable, running off 26 points in the initial frame while LA could only manage 13.

“If you look at the scoring from then on, it was fairly even,” Mackenzie Sells added. “But that big first quarter knocked us back hard.”

For the remaining three periods , the game stayed close. York was one point , 12-11, better in the second period and dropped two points, 13-11 and 19-17 in the second and third frames. The final margin of ten points were determined in the first eight minutes of the game.

Sells led the LA attack with 14 points followed by Mackenzie Sells and Kilgore with 12 each and West’s 10. Chelsea Carr and Mallory each hit for three and Alyssa Thompson added two.

It was a different story Friday night at the LA gym as well it should have been. The Lady Tigers entered the contest with one of the most unwanted distinctions in Tennessee High School basketball—105 straight district defeats. As a matter of fact, DeKalb’s last win in Livingston was in January of 1985.

There was little reason to figure this would be nothing short of another blowout—and it was.

To get things started, Livingston ran off 18 unanswered points in the first period and only a free throw with 15 seconds remaining in the frame, got the Lady Tigers on the boards.

And it didn’t get any better for the visitors. With just about every player LA coach Lesley Smith putting in the game scoring, the Lady Wildcats were ahead 27-7 at intermission and up 44-14 when the final eight minutes started. The clock finally stopped the one sided event at 57-26.

“When you look at the final score you get the wrong impression about the game,” Smith later pointed out. “We played pretty good, but DeKalb didn’t play as badly as the score indicated. The scrapped hard, but they just couldn’t score and some of that was because of the tempo our team played.

“Looking back at the week, I think I’m more disappointed in the effort and intensity at which we played more than anything,” Smith continued. “I don’t know what we were thinking at York and their quick start certainly had a lot to do with the outcome. I do think we found out that nobody is going to roll over for us and this district has several contenders for the championship. If you learn anything from getting beat, I hope we learned that every time we take the floor we are gong to have to be ready as soon as the ball goes up. You can’t wait around for something to happen. We have got to make it happen ourselves.”

And the coach made a quick look down the road.

“If you look at Livingston, Upperman and York there are only three seniors among all three. This is going to be a tough league for the next several years and nobody is going to get an easy pass. It should be very interesting.”

Aside from getting a little confidence back, the Lady Wildcats also got a lot of players a lot of playing time. Mackenzie Sells led the LA scoring attack with 13 points and Alissa Sells added nine. Kilgore and Mahaney each contributed seven, West five, Carr and Shelby Taylor connected for four and Tori Stocking and Samantha Maya hit for two.

“We’ve had a tough season and we’ve come a long way,” Alissa Sells concluded. “Now we’re down to the final couple weeks and we’ve seen everybody so there are no surprises left. We played Upperman, Smith County, Cannon County and Cookeville already. Now we have to reestablish ourselves as contenders and go out and get it done. We could use a little help from somebody, but we know we can get our part of the job done. We’ve already done it once and there’s no reason we can’t do it again.”

Rival Jackson County comes to LA Tuesday night for a non-district game then Smith County and 6-8 Kaycie Ferriss rolls into town on Friday.


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LMS holds 8th Grade Basketball Night



Livingston Middle School held 8th Grade Basketball Night on January 10. Girls Basketball team and managers honored are, front row from left, Shelby Grimsley, Hannah Blankenship, Olivia Long, Rachael Kingery, Sarah Aronson, Cetera Walthall, back row, Coach Kim Dillon, Jessica Sells, Haley Dixon, Julie Ann York, Meriam Maynord, Aspen Smith and Coach Craig Cantrell.

LMS Boys Basketball players and managers honored on 8th Grade Night are, front row from left, Jonathon Ledbetter, Zack Castle, Brannon Roop, T.J. Hammock, back row, Asst. Coach Lance Ruble, Jim Officer, M.J. Lockhart, Ricky Lisi, and Coach Steve Mosley. Not pictured, Asst. Coach Billy Maynord.

LMS Cheerleaders honored on 8th Grade Night are, from left, Tasha Taylor, Leanne Hickle, Coach LaDonna Jackson, Courtney Godsey, and Chelsea Blakely.


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Ball park sign-ups to be held Saturday

Another sign-up session for baseball and softball players will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at Livingston City Hall.

Livingston City Park personnel will also be conducting a survey of girls ages 9 to 16 who are interested in playing in a girls fast-pitch softball league this fall. Those who are interested in girls fast-pitch softball should call or visit City Hall and speak to Jeanette Ferrell.

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