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Archives 02-27-2008

Sports

Tennessee Guardsman to compete in Iditarod
Cats take 7-AA Tournament championship, win in Regional
Lady Wildcats season ends by 2 points in Regional
LMS Lady Tigers take championships
Baseball try-outs set for March 8
Ball park sign-ups to be held Saturday

Tennessee Guardsman to compete in Iditarod



Rodney Whaley, first Tennessean ever to compete in the Iditarod, makes a practice run with his team of sled dogs.

A master sergeant in Tennessee Army National Guard will become the first Tennessean in history to compete in Alaska’s 2008 Iditarod, billed as “The World’s Last Great Race”.

Rodney Whaley, a veteran of 24 years in the Guard, is one of only 102 people in the world to qualify for the 1,159-mile race. Of that number, 52 are from Alaska, 14 from other states, and 16 from foreign countries.

The 56-year-old National Guardsman from Franklin will run 16 sled dogs in the event which starts Saturday, March 1, in Anchorage, AK. The mushers will be on the trail from 10 to 17 days, accompanied only by their dogs as they battle the elements along the dangerous route.

The Iditarod is considered by many to be the most grueling and demanding individual sporting event in the world today.

The 2-week race will take the Tennessean over frozen rivers, jagged mountain ranges, dense forests, desolate tundra, and miles of windswept coast. Added to that are temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, long hours of darkness, and treacherous climbs on side hills.

Master Sgt. Whaley, who lived his childhood in Alaska, is being sponsored by Army National Guard. As a boy, he raced in junior sled dog competitions but has always remained passionate about the sport. In recent years, he has raced in British Columbia, Canada, Washington state, and northern Michigan.

“The Iditarod is the ultimate experience and my life-long dream,” Whaley said. “Now, utilizing what I’ve learned in the Guard and with their sponsorship, it’s a reality.”

To qualify for the Iditarod, Whaley was required to successfully complete two sanctioned races, one of 300 miles and the other of 200 miles. He began full-time training in October of last year in Michigan and Minnesota, but he’s been a familiar site in his Franklin neighborhood during the cold months as he ran his team using a “dogsled-on-wheels”.

The rules of the race lay out certain regulations by which each musher must abide. There are also certain pieces of required equipment: an arctic parka, an ax, a heavy sleeping bag, snowshoes, musher food, dog food, and boots for each dog’s feet to protect against cutting ice and hard-packed snow injuries.

On the trail every musher has a different tactic. Each one has a special diet for feeding and snacking the dogs. Each one also has a different strategy. Some run in the daylight; some run at night. Each has a different training schedule geared to the dogs’ stamina and the musher’s own personal stamina.

The Iditarod Trail had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from coastal towns to the interior mining camps. Men and supplies went in; gold came out, all via dog sled.

In 1925, part of the trail became a life-saving highway for epidemic-stricken Nome. Diphtheria threatened the populace and serum had to be rushed in, again by intrepid mushers and their faithful, hard-driving dogs. The Iditarod is a commemoration of those early years, a not-so-distant past of which the Alaskans are particularly proud.

Continually updated information on Master Sgt. Whaley and the Iditarod may be found at: http://tndogmusher.com.


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Cats take 7-AA Tournament championship, win in Regional

Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Todd Smith fires in a 3-pointer as the Livingston Academy bench looks on in the District 7-AA Tournament championship win against Upperman High School’s Bees.

Mac McLeod photo
Jeremy McLearran pulls in a rebound for Livingston Academy.

Mac McLeod photo
Deven Ramsey, #52, extends past a Goodpasture player for a basket in Livingston Academy’s Region 4-AA Tournament opener.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Last week was an important one for the Livingston Academy Wildcats for two reason: (1) a perfect District 7, 2A record and (2) a chance to advance one step closer to the state championship.

On both occasions, the Cats came out on top and now head to Nashville for the second round of the Region 4 playoffs.

“Last week was for pride and survival,” pointed out senior guard, Todd Smith. “We really wanted the perfect season in the district and we knew in order to keep playing, we had to win our first round game in the region. We didn’t play all that well against Upperman in the district tournament, but we won, and against Goodpasture, we played much better.”

After beating the Bees twice in the regular season and posting a perfect 12-0 regular season record, the Wildcats only need to knock off Upperman one more time for the district championship and an unblemished 14-0 district record that included two games in the tournament.

And for two periods, it looked like an easy march to the title, but sluggish performance in the final two periods turned what seemed like a routine win into a battle that would be decided in the final seconds.

The Wildcats finally came out on top, 51-48.

“I don’t really know what happened, but I do know we really stumbled in the second half,” LA head coach Richard Melton pointed out after the win over the Bees. “Perhaps sometimes it’s just hard to beat a team three times in a season. Nobody was really pleased with the way we won, but we did win and for the team, I was happy.”

In the title game, Livingston went on a tear right from the start hitting four three point baskets and taking an 18-12 lead into the second period. Chase Dunn opened the scoring with a three followed by a three pointer from Todd Smith. Clint West nailed the third three pointer and Kendall Melton put in the fourth before the buzzer sounded.

And it got even better in the second period. Dunn again opened with a three that started the Wildcats on a 12-4 run early in the frame. When the first half ended, Livingston held a convincing 31-16 advantage.

But the always tough Bees refused to fold. The third period didn’t settle much with Livingston scoring 15 points and Upperman putting in 18.

Then in the final period, the Bees came alive. They cut a 12 point lead to eight with five minutes remaining then narrowed the gap to six, minutes later. A three point basket cut the margin to three at 48-45 with three minutes left.

Todd Smith finally broke the LA drought with a big lay up with just over two minutes remaining then Upperman connected on a second three point shot to cut the margin to two, 50-48, with a minute and half left.

From that point on, it was just a matter of hanging on and the Wildcats managed to do just that and nothing more. Upperman outscored Livingston, 14-5 in the final eight minutes, but the early lead was just a little too much to overcome.

In the first half, Livingston hit 38.5 percent of its shots. In the second, it was only 32 percent while Upperman hit almost 41 percent of its shots in the comeback.

Dunn had 19 points in the win to pace the Wildcats while Todd Smith added nine, West seven and Deven Ramsey six.

With Upperman out of the way and the tournament championship trophy sitting nicely next to the regular season hardware, the Wildcats returned to the friendly confines of their own gym Saturday night to host Goodpasture in the opening round of the Region 4 championships.

This time there would be no doubt from the opening buzzer to the final whistle who was in control. The Wildcats, who had lost to the Cougars in the first round of the region event two years ago, 71-53, weren’t about to allow a repeat.

They sent the visitors home with a 62-43 whipping.

“I’m always nervous just before the opening tip,” confessed T.J. Smith after the game, “but once it gets started, everything is alright.”

Smith controlled the opening tip then hit a three point basket seconds later to put the Wildcats on a run that would lead to a 22-12 first period lead.

Todd Smith added a three moments after T.J. then Dunn and T.J. Smith closed the period with threes for the convincing lead.

And while the baskets were piling up, it was defense that really settled the issue. West led his teammates in the defensive department as the Wildcats made ten steals, blocked three shots and grabbed 33 rebounds. In the rebounding department, Smith and West each pulled down seven missed shots, and Jeremy McLearran and Ramsey each grabbed five.

In the second period, Ramsey put his overpowering size to work, hitting three critical baskets, two to open the period and one to end it as the Wildcats streaked to a 35-22 halftime advantage.

In the second half, LA put the game on cruise control, making baskets when they needed them and holding the Cougars to only 21 points over the final sixteen minutes.

“Tonight we get a A plus for defense and a C plus for patience,” Melton surmised after the win. “We played great defense tonight, but we got a little impatient offensively and forced the issue. We felt like we could win by 40 before the game and just weren’t satisfied all through the second half.

“Clint (West) was outstanding on defense and T. J. (Smith) finally found his scoring range again. Deven (Ramsey ) and Jeremy(McLearran) did a good job inside and everybody just stepped up and did their job. “

“It finally started feeling right tonight,” T. J. Smith said about his shooting after the game. Tonight my shot started to fall again, but it was more the defense than anything. We really played good defense tonight.”

Smith led the LA scoring attack with 15 points while Dunn added eleven and McLearran put in ten. Ramsey had eight on the night while West was good for six and Melton came through with five.

Livingston will carry a 26-4 record to DCA Tuesday night to face Station Camp in the second round of the regional tournament. A win will advance the Wildcats on for at least two more games while a loss will end the season.

“They don’t get any easier from here on out,” West pointed out. “They just get more important.”



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Lady Wildcats season ends by 2 points in Regional

Dewain E. Peek/OCN file
Kendria Kilgore led LA in scoring against Upperman in the Region 4-AA semifinal game with 19 points.

Dewain E. Peek/OCN file
Alissa Sells made big plays in the Lady Cats’ Region 4-AA play.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Three times Livingston Academy and Upperman met and three times it was close, but when it counted and when everything was all even, the Lady Bees got the final shot and made it good in the Region 4 semi finals played at Donaldson Christian Academy Monday night.

In a heartbreaking loss, the Lady Wildcats fell 71-69, ending their outstanding season with a 25-8 record.

In the two regular season encounters, Upperman came out on top, winning the first time by eight points and the second by four. In both games, Livingston led at the half, but faltered down the stretch. In Monday’s meeting it was much the same story as the Lady Cats took control early, led at the intermission, but stumbled in the third period and could not put the Lady Bees away in the final eight minutes.

“When you get to this point,” pointed out LA’s Adrian West before the game, “there are no 30 point wins left. From here on out, its only the best teams and you have to play your best to advance.”

And it appeared that the Lady Cats would finally get the best or their rivals as they took a 19-17 point lead into the second period and a 37-32 advantage into the locker room at half time.

In the first half, Livingston connected on seven of eight free throws and nailed four three point shots. In the process, the Lady Cats jumped out to an eleven point lead midway through the second frame, 34-23. In the rebounding department, the smaller Livingston team managed to out rebound the taller Upperman squad, 12-11. Each team committed eight turnovers.

Kendria Kilgore paced the Lady Cats in the first half with 15 points and Mackenzie Sells was good for eight.

Then came the third period. After hitting just about everything in the first half, the Lady Cats went cold from the floor and managed only nine points while Upperman got its rhythm going and with Karissa Dyer and Lashay Davis taking charge, the Lady Bees ripped the cords for 20 points and a 52-46 lead going into the final eight minutes.

And early in the final period, it appeared that Livingston could only wait out the clock as Upperman forged ahead by 12 points, 63-51 with 3:30 remaining in the game.

But the Lady Cats refused to go away. Alissa Sells nailed a big three pointer to narrow the gap to nine and Mackenzie Sells followed with another three seconds later and suddenly, with only three minutes remaining, Livingston had closed the gap to eight. Shelby Taylor came through with two baskets to narrow the lead to six and 67-61 then Mackenzie Sells pulled the Lady Cats to within one at 67-66 on a pair of field goals and a free throw.

Livingston trailed by two with 12 seconds left, but once again, the freshman Sells calmly walked to the free throw line and bombed in both shots to knot the game at 69. It looked like overtime.

But as she is well capable of doing, the much bigger Dyer took a pass down court, dribbled the ball one time and put it in for the winning basket.
“Its been a very good season for us, regardless of the outcome of this game,” LA coach Lesley Smith said before the game. “We are a very young team, but a very talented one. Our fans have been outstanding this year in their support and for that, we are grateful. When you look at District 7 and see three teams in the semifinals it’s a shame one of those teams will end its season tonight. This is a very strong district with Upperman and York and Livingston. Somehow when they all get to Murfreesboro, you will always believe more than one or two teams from this district should be ther.”

Kilgore led the LA scoring attack with 19 points while Mackenzie Sells added 18, Alissa Sells had 15, West added nine and Taylor ended the night with 8.

To reach the semifinals of the region, the Lady Wildcats took on White House in the opening round on Friday night on the road and won handily, 69-42. The two teams met last year in the first round of the regional tournament and LA came out on top in that one, 54-37.

Livingston took a commanding 16-3 lead in the first period then led the Lady Devils back in the game in the second frame. At the half, the Lady Wildcats held a six point, 22-16 lead.

Alissa Sells took matters in here own hands to open the third period hitting a pair of three point shots then added four more points in the period.

Kilgore then slammed home a pair of threes and two field goals and when the period was over, the outcome was no longer in doubt as LA raced to a 43-29 advantage with eight minutes to go.

In the final period, just about everyone got in on the action. Kilgore ripped the nets for nine points, Alissa Sells slammed down her third three pointer of the night, Chelsea Carr hit her second three of the evening, Mackenzie Sells put up four points, Alyssa Thompson was good for a three and Tori Stocking and Samantha Maya each posted a field goal.

“The worst part of the entire thing was the long drive over and back,” Smith pointed out after the game. “Defensively, it was one of our best efforts of the season,” the coach added. “We got in a little foul trouble early, but our bench is so strong it wasn’t a factor and we got some good playing time from our bench. Thompson played very well, especially passing the ball and Kendria (Kilgore) had another great night. Alissa really took charge there at the start of the third period and that was big I think she had enough getting banged around inside and not drawing a foul. Overall, it was a good effort.”

Kilgore led the Livingston attack with 23 points while Sells was good for 13. Mackenzie Sells and West each added eight, Carr had six, Taylor four, Thompson three, and Stocking and Maya two.


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LMS Lady Tigers take championships



Livingston Middle School Lady Tigers ended their 2007-2008 basketball season with a Varsity State Championship in the Springfield T-N-T AAA State Tournament.

Their first game was against Fort Loudon (T-N-T defending champions of 2007), which they won 46-32. In their second game, the
Lady Tigers played Medina and won 39-37.

The championship game was February 16 against Waverly, and LMS won 39-32. Four LMS team members were named All-State and two were honorable mentions.

The LMS Lady Tigers Bantam team ended their season with their second consecutive Overton County championship. The bantam girls defeated Allons to win the 2008 championship.

 

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Baseball try-outs set for March 8

Try-outs for Overton County baseball leagues at Livingston City Park will be held Saturday, March 8.

Only players participating in the 9-10 year-old Minor League Division, 11-12 year-old Major League Division, and 13-15 year-old Babe Ruth Division are required to be at try-outs. All other divisions will be contacted by a coach.

The try-out schedules are as follows: Minor League – 11 a.m.; Major League – noon; Babe Ruth – 1 p.m.

All try-outs will be held at Livingston City Park.


Ball park sign-ups to be held Saturday

The last sign-up session for baseball and softball players will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 1 at Livingston City Hall.

Players may also sign up at City Hall through Friday.

All players must sign up to be eligible to play.

 




 

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Overton County News
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