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Archives 02-06-2008

Sports

Brenda Jones wins Fall 2007 Walk Across TN
Cats clinch regular season district championship
Lady Wildcats defeat Jackson, Smith teams

Brenda Jones wins Fall 2007 Walk Across TN

Brenda Jones, of Rickman, was the individual winner of the Fall 2007 Walk Across Tennessee.

Jones was on the Happy Hikers team from Livingston Middle School which came in 1st place. She alone walked a total of 500 miles in an eight week period. For this accomplishment, she received a gift certificate from Hall’s Shoes, a new Walk Across Tennessee shirt and a certificate.


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Cats clinch regular season district championship

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Clint West pulls the ball back inbounds against Jackson County.

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Chase Dunn fires a 3-point shot from near the LA bench.

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

Ho Hum, another one.

For the third straight year, the Livingston Academy Wildcats have nailed down the regular season championship in District 7, 2A, earned a bye into the semi finals of the district tournament and a spot in the regional match up and have extended their season at least two weeks.

To say the least, it has been a most successful season for the Wildcats and there are still three regular season games remaining.

After a district loss last season, LA head coach Richard Melton flatly stated that if opponents were going to get his Wildcats, they had better do it then simply because his team was only going to get better and better.

This season the Cats proved their coach right. With only two more district games remaining on the schedule, LA is perfect with a 10-0 league mark and an outstanding 21-4 record overall.

To say the least, it has been a good year for the Blue and White.

“Of course winning the regular season title was one of our goals,” Melton pointed out Friday night after his Wildcats crushed Smith County, 73-40.

“Its our third straight title and that’s something to be proud of. The players have worked very hard for this and I’m extremely proud of their effort and their success.”

On Tuesday, Livingston fought off a late charge by Jackson County to win, 80-67.

Not to mention the fact that in his three seasons as head coach, Melton has three trophies to add to the trophy case.

And the additional games that come with the championship will give junior guard Chase Dunn more opportunities to add to his career scoring totals.

Currently, Dunn has 535 points on the season and a total of 1736 for his career which puts him in third place on the Livingston Academy all time scoring list and 104 behind third place Jeff Hummel. Jimmy Miller is second on the list at 1983 and Melton himself heads the list with 2250.

Dunn, before his career is over, could top both players ahead of him.

“I hope he does,” Melton smiled when reminded of the mark. “Chase deserves it and it will be a long time before another player comes this close.

And while Dunn and the championship and all the other conversation about this year’s team and its accomplishments are discussed, there’s a matter of finishing out the season in fine fashion.

“There’s a lot going on right now,” Melton continued, “not to mention what we did tonight and Tuesday night. Tonight (Friday) we played pretty good overall, a lot better than we did Tuesday night against Jackson County. We won both games and that’s the good news,” he added. Tuesday’s win was just plain and simple ‘ugly’.

An 80-67 win over Jackson County might have been ‘ugly’ to some, but to others it would have been just fine. While most teams struggle for wins, Melton wants the best from his chargers and he felt , and rightly so, he didn’t get it.

What made Tuesday’s win ‘ugly’ might have been the fact that finally this year, the inside play of the LA big men, Jeremy McLearran, Deven Ramsey and Adam Wilson all came together and was dominating. In addition to the 34 points they combined to produce, they dominated the boards on both ends of the floor.

“Maybe it was because we were bigger than they were,” Ramsey laughed after the game. “Really though, we did play pretty good inside, but on the other hand, the ball handling and turnovers were not all that good.

Fortunately, we can have a game like this and still win, but we know that we need to put it all together every night simply because, it only gets tougher the further down the road we go.”

Inside play did draw praise from Melton, but the disappointment of not playing smart perhaps overshadowed the over all performance of the team.

“We didn’t play smart tonight,” the coach added. “We had a chance to put them (Jackson County) away and we didn’t. You can’t afford to do that. It wasn’t because we didn’t play hard, we just didn’t put them away when we had the chance and they came back several times. The further you get into the season, the more important that becomes.”

Melton was dead on in his observation.

After racing out to a 21-12 first period lead, the Wildcats lead by only ten at intermission, 39-29. Then in the third period, LA raced ahead to a 16-7 advantage only to see the visitors put 31 points on the boards in the final frame to erase what should have been a 25-point win to only a 13 point victory.

Dunn lead the LA scoring attack with 18 points while Kendall Melton got back on track with 15. McLearren had 14 including the first eight points of the game, Ramsey and Wilson each put in ten and Todd Smith had a good night with eight.

Things changed somewhat Friday.

T.J. Smith got back in stride after having “a horrible game” on Tuesday with 17 and ten rebounds to lead the Livingston attack on Smith County.

“That was much better,” Smith admitted after the game. “Boy, Tuesday was just really bad (only three points). It was my worst game of the year.”

After Dunn opened the game with a basket, Smith got four of the next six points. Dunn then slammed home a three point basket and Todd Smith made three the old fashion way with a basket and a free throw. Ramsey rounded out the first period scoring and Livingston was off and running, 18-9.

Justin Poston got things rolling in the second period, the Todd Smith upped the lead by two and Dunn nailed two three pointers in a row and with a 28-12 lead with a little more than a minute left in the half, the Wildcats were off and running.

A 22-12 advantage in the third frame removed any doubt about the outcome and Melton then cleared his bench, giving everybody playing time.

“I was pleased with the way the bench responded,” the coach added. “It was a good change for them to get in valuable playing time and I thought they did well.

Dunn again paced LA’s scoring attack with 21 points that included five three point baskets. T.J. Smith put in 17, Poston was good for eight, Todd Smith and Ramsey each contributed seven, Kailen Melton had three and McLearran , Hayden Hill , Jake Huitt and Brad Jackson all were good for two.

“Tonight we got ahead and didn’t back up,” the coach concluded. “That’s what we have to do from here on out. It was good to see T.J. come back and have a good game and overall, it was a good game for the entire team. We have to keep it going like that”.

Livingston will be on the road this week at Cannon County on Tuesday and at Baxter on Friday. The Wildcats will return home on Monday night for the final regular season game against Cookeville.



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Lady Wildcats defeat Jackson, Smith teams

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
LA’s Mackenzie Sells, #10, scrambles for the loose basketball.

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
Kendria Kilgore races toward a Livingston Academy score.

By MAC McLEOD,
OCN Sports

Adrian West doesn’t take credit for coming up with the saying “defense wins games and offense sells tickets” but she didn’t hesitate to use it after Friday’s district 7-2A contest with Smith County.

“That’s it,” West pointed out with a big grin. “ We used defense against Jackson County Tuesday night and again tonight and we won both times. It takes points to win a game, but defense determines just how many points the offense has to score.”

On the week, the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats’ defense held their two opponents to a total of 100 points while posting 120 of their own. The results were a thrilling 48-47 win over rival Jackson County on Tuesday and a crushing 72-53 romp over Smith County and its 6-8 sophomore center, Kayci Ferriss.

“That was a very big win for us,” LA’s Mackenzie Sells explained following the win over Jackson County on Tuesday. “It wasn’t a district game, but Jackson County is one of the best teams we face all year and to beat them, especially for the second time this year is big. When you beat Jackson you know you’ve done something. It was a game we wanted so badly and after winning it, our confidence is pretty high.”

With 21 wins under their belts and only four losses so far this season, it wouldn’t appear that confidence would be a problem for the Lady Wildcats, but as the season winds down, there is nothing that can replace it. This week, LA has two district games that could well determine the outcome of the regular season and what will happen in the district tournament as well as regional competition that will start the following week.

Currently, the Lady Cats are in third place in the district with an 8-2 record while Upperman leads the league with only one loss and York is in second place with a 9-2 record. This week Livingston will travel to Cannon County , a team they beat earlier in the year, 79-51, then move over to Baxter on Friday night to face Upperman. Two wins will throw the entire district in turmoil and it could take the flip of a coin to settle things.

“It gets a little confusing,” LA head coach Lesley Smith points out, “but our only concern this week is to win two games and let things fall where they may. By Friday night it will be much clearer.

“We had a good week last week,” the coach continued. “Defensively, we are playing much better now and we’re getting the offense we need to win. Adrian (West) and Chelsea (Carr) had outstanding defensive efforts tonight against Smith County and the entire team did a good job defensively against Jackson County. Kendria (Kilgore) has come on strong on both ends of the floor and I think Mac (Mackenzie Sells) is now feeling at ease on the floor and it shows.”

Earlier in the year it was the offensive production of West and Alissa Sells that were producing the victories, but during the Christmas tournaments, the Lady Cats bought in to the idea that defense would be the key to success in the stretch towards the district and regional tournaments. Since that time, only two poor defensive showings , against Upperman (55-63) and York (56-66) have marred their march to this point of the season.

“We know what we have to do now,” Kilgore explained. “I feel like I’m playing much better and so is everybody else. Right now we don’t have to have a bunch of three pointers to win, we have to be consistent and play good defense. We did this week and it was big. It was a very good week for us and next week is going to be very important.”

Before a packed house on Tuesday, the Lady Cats hosted Jackson County and as expected, the game went right down to the wire before a winner was determined.

Both teams scored eleven points in the first period and 13 in the second for 24-24 deadlock at intermission. Jackson County moved ahead by two points at the buzzer in the third period to take a 33-31 lead into the final period.

Early in the fourth period, Kilgore nailed a three pointer to put LA ahead, but Jackson County answered with a three to knot the game at 41. The visitors took a 47-46 lead with 17 seconds remaining, but a feed from Shelby Taylor to Kilgore with six seconds left gave Livingston the lead, 48-47. Kilgore stole the inbounds pass by the Lady Blue Devils, but had it knocked away to give Jackson one more chance with two seconds remaining. This time Mackenzie Sells stole the pass and there was nothing Jackson County could do.

“That was a great game,” Smith later explained.“Two very good teams playing as hard as they could and we happened to come out on top. It was a very big confidence builder for us. Our defense was the difference plus we had pretty balanced scoring.”

Kilgore led Livingston’s scoring with 17 points and Alissa Sells added 13. Mackenzie Sells was solid with nine while West was good for five and Carr rounded out the scoring with two.

With Jackson County out of the way, LA turned its attention to Smith County and its big center, Ferriss. At 6-8, she’s a towering figure to be dealt with one way or another. In the first meeting between the two, LA’s defense held here to 18 points. Friday night she got 31, but this time, it was the Livingston offense that was the difference. The Lady Cats put 72 points on the boards and eight players got in the scoring column.

To get things rolling, Kilgore, Alissa Sells (twice), and West hit on the first four shots of the game to push LA out to an 8-0 lead and at the end of the period, Taylor and Carr were on the scoring bandwagon to give the Lady Cats a 20-13 led.

Defense held the visitors to only six points in the second period while Mackenzie Sells had five of her game total 15 in the period plus a basket by Alyssa Thompson and free thows by Taylor and Kilgore to produced a 31-19 halftime advantage.

Carr and Kilgore each nailed three pointers in the third period as LA turned up the scoring heat to put 22 points on the board while holding Smith County to only eleven. Smith cleared most of her bench in the final period and Tori Stocking ended the scoring spree with a nice three point basket at the buzzer.

“I think it was my best game in a long time, if not the season,“ Carr grinned after the win. “It just felt good out there tonight and we were playing so good as a team. Ferriss got a lot of points, but she couldn’t overcome all the points our team was scoring. Now we just have to keep playing the way we are next week. Its very important.”

Kilgore had 20 points to pace LA. In addition to Sells’ 15, Carr had 12, Taylor, West and Alissa Sells each were good for six, Thompson added four and Stocking three.

With three regular season games remaining, the Lady Cats are now 21-4 overall and 8-2 in district play.


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Overton County News
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