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Archives 12-24-2008

Sports

Dunn scores 2,000th point, Cats win championship
Lady Wildcats win 2, lose 2
Sixers coach a former Golden Eagle

Livingston native runs in Richmond Marathon


Mac McLeod photo
Chase Dunn pulls back to shoot his 2,000th career point.


Mac McLeod photo
Livingston Academy’s Wildcats won the Mid-South Classic championship. Team members are, kneeling from left, #31 Kailen Melton, #5 Justin Poston, #4 Clint West, #24 Chase Dunn, #10 Hayden Hill, #42 Logan Beatty, #1 Jake Huitt, standing, #3 Kendall Melton, #23 T.J. Smith, #43 Will Peterman, #25 Dakota Key, #52 Deven Ramsey, #00 Logan Ramsey, #32 Brad Jackson, #11 Adam Wilson, #12 Colby Reeder.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Two years ago, the night the Livingston Academy Wildcats were to board the bus to Florida and a fun filled week at Disney World, they hosted District 7 2A foe DeKalb County. It should have been no contest, but instead it turned into a 56-53 DeKalb upset win. To say the least, the ride to the Sunshine State that night was anything but cheerful.

“Longest night of my life,” admits Wildcat center, Deven Ramsey. “It was not your typical ride to Disney World.”

Flash forward two seasons. The loss to the Tigers that night turned out to be one of only two district defeats that season as the young Wildcats began to stake their claim as one of the top teams in the area, but the loss to DeKalb has lingered as a reminder of what can happen when you don’t take an opponent seriously.

Tuesday night Livingston once again hosted the Tigers and this time it was a 78-61 “walk in the park”, but there were portions of the game that just didn’t sit well with head coach Richard Melton and he let his players know it. Practice on Wednesday was kinda like the bus ride to Florida two years earlier – it wasn’t fun.

“Its mainly a lack of intensity” Melton would explain later in the week.

“We are better than we are playing. Our best game so far this season was our first game. We’ve gone backwards since then.”

After disposing of the Tigers earlier in the week, Livingston took its talented, but so far, underperforming group of Wildcats to Cookeville for the annual MidSouth Classic. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Melton’s chargers put on their best performances of not only this season, but perhaps even last year.

After downing Clarksville, 54-38 in the opening round, Livingston came back to take on always tough Cookeville, and won in double overtime, 86-78. The championship game on Saturday night was a rerun of the season opener against Clarksville NE, and this time the Wildcats left no doubt that the 78-56 win back in November was no fluke. This time it was a 64-43 whipping.

In all three contests, the Wildcats were in total control, even in the overtime victory over Cookeville.

“It’s fun when you play with that kind of intensity,” Melton would explain after the championship win. “It was a good week and I can’t complain about the way anybody played. Every player that went on that floor played with the intensity that it takes to win. We played hard and shot well. I believe we can play with anybody as long as we play like this.”

Perhaps the motivating fact in it all was DeKalb County.

“The practice after the DeKalb game was tough. We didn’t want to go through that again,” senior Clint West laughed. “We played three very good games here this week and it shows us that we can do it if we play with intensity. That’s the key word. Tonight (Saturday) we kinda expected Clarksville (NE) to be stronger after we had beaten them earlier in the season, but we just played outstanding. Defensively, we held them to forty-something and Chase (Dunn) and T.J. (Smith) really got hot shooting.

Deven (Ramsey) and Will (Peterman) were strong on the boards and it was just a good, solid team effort.”

The championship title leaves Livingston with an impressive 12-1 record going into the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, the big news was Dunn scoring his 2,000th point in his
four-year career and moving him into an elite pair of players who have crossed over the 2,000-point mark. The only other player in LA history to score that many is head coach Melton, who holds the school’s record with 2,250 points.
Dunn scored 14 points in the first half of the DeKalb game to bring his total to 1997. With 1:41 seconds remaining in the third period, the Tennessee Tech bound athlete nailed a three-pointer from the left corner to go over the mark.

“That was kinda cool,” the laid back Dunn confessed. “I really didn’t know exactly how many I needed until I made the shot and all the students stood up with those signs. My teammates deserve a lot of credit too. Without good teammates, we would have never played this many games and given me all those opportunities.”

“There were many hours of practice that went into that,” Melton said. “Its huge and I’m so proud of him. Its only happened twice in the history of this school so that says a lot. It is a rare feat.”

Dunn would go on to score 100 points on the week and move to within 167 of Melton’s school record.

Friday’s semifinal match with Cookeville turned out to be the highlight game of the week. The Wildcats had beaten the Cavaliers earlier in the season in Livingston, 74-59, but playing in the Cookeville gym is a much different game.

After playing to an 18-18 deadlock in the first period, Livingston took a 40-34 lead to the locker room at intermission. It was 56-47, LA, heading into the final eight minutes, but Judah Akers caught fire for the home team and regulation play ended with the two teams tied at 76.

In the first four minutes of overtime, Livingston controlled the tap then held the ball and the Cavaliers were content for either team playing for a last second shot. LA got the shot but it didn’t fall.

In the second overtime, the Wildcats went full force and it paid off. After Cookeville took the lead with an opening basket, it was all Livingston. Smith tied the game at 78, then hit a smooth three-pointer to put the Wildcats ahead. Peterman hit a pair of free throws then Kendall Melton upped the margin by six at 84-78 and Dunn sealed the deal with a closing basket.
Dunn led all scorers with 34. Smith had 12, Peterman and Ramsey each hit for 11, Brad Jackson dropped in seven, Kendall Melton and Adam Wilson were good for five each, and Kailen Melton and West each had one.
Following the championship game, Smith and Peterman were named to the All-Tournament Team and Dunn was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

 


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Lady Wildcats win 2, lose 2


MacMcLeod photo
Shelby Taylor elevates for 2 of her 18 points against DeKalb.


Mac McLeod photo
Tori Stocking shoots from long range against DeKalb.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

It started out as a good week with a big District 7, 2A win over DeKalb County and a first round win over Columbia in the MidSouth Classic in Cookeville. Then things kinda turned around on the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats and two straight losses sent them into the Christmas holidays searching for some answers.

“It was a very tough week,” senior Kendria Kilgore said as she tried to turn a negative into a positive. “We started with a couple wins, then just didn’t shoot well at all against Cookeville and Shelbyville and lost. We’ll figure it out though and be ready next time.”

One of the biggest problems for the Lady Cats, especially against Cookeville, was the size difference. The Lady Cavaliers brought strength and height to the Lady Cats and then prevented them from shooting well from the outside.

Shelbyville brought in the intimidation of 10 state championships.

The combination gave Cookeville a 57-43 win and Shelbyville fought back a hard pressing LA squad for a narrow 49-45 win. In earlier games of the week, Livingston upended DeKalb easily, 73-38 , for the 55th straight time and had little trouble with Columbia in the opening round of the MidSouth Classic in Cookeville, 58-37.

Going into the game with DeKalb, Livingston had the knowledge that the Lady Tigers hadn’t beaten them since somewhere back in the mid ‘80s and there was little reason things should change now.

After staying close, 17-14, in the first period, DeKalb faded fast and only scored five points in the second period and only 19 in the entire second half.

Meanwhile, led by Shelby Taylor and Samantha Maya, the Lady Cats poured it on. Livingston led 46-19 at intermission and moved out to a 57-26 advantage going to the final period.

For Taylor, it was another night on the job with 18 points. For Maya, it was her biggest night yet as a Lady Wildcat as she was good for 17 markers.

“I really enjoyed that,” the soft spoken Maya explained. “I really don’t know why I scored 17 points, but coach did let me play a lot tonight.

Maybe that was it.”

Perhaps it was. For the four games on the week, Maya had 17 against DeKalb, seven against Columbia and Cookeville, and three against Shelbyville.

Mallory Mahaney aided the LA attack with eight points, Adrian West hit for seven, Alissa Sells added five as did Taylor Eldridge. Kilgore, Abby Miller, and Heather Cravens each hit for a pair.

Columbia was the second team to fall to the Lady Wildcats last week and much like the DeKalb game, it wasn’t much of a contest once things got in place.

West put Livingston on top for good early in the game and a solid LA defense flustered the Lady Lions all night. Livingston led, 6-4 at the end of the first period and 18-9 at intermission.

Mackenzie Sells got things started off right in the third period for LA and headed into the final eight minutes, Livingston led, 37-18. Coach Lesley Smith cleared the bench early in the final period and LA cruised to the 58-37 win.

Then things got a lot harder for Livingston. After beating Cookeville in overtime at Livingston earlier in the season, 54-53, things changed dramatically. Playing on Cookeville’s much larger gym floor presented one challenge for the Lady Cats and a much more intimidating Lady Cavalier defense proved another problem.

“We dug ourselves in a hole early,” Smith later recalled, and it was hard to dig out. I will say our kids did a great job of not quitting. They hate to lose and they fought back as hard as they could, but with Kendria (Kilgore) in foul trouble, it was hard for us to find somebody inside.”

Livingston trailed 9-19 at the end of the first period and pulled to within eight, 31-23 at the half. Mackenzie Sells, Kilgore, and Maya nailed the first six points of the third period to pull LA to within two, then Kilgore got her fourth foul and Cookeville took advantage of the situation and moved back out to a five-point lead at the end of the period.

It was all Cookeville in the final period as the Lady Cavaliers eased away to the 57-43 win. Kilgore led LA in scoring with 12, while Mackenzie Sells added 10, Maya seven, and Taylor six. Mahaney and Alissa Sells each added three.

In the battle for third place in the tournament, Livingston and Shelbyville, two names associated with excellent girls basketball in the State of Tennessee locked horns in a battle that was fitting for both squads.

The game stayed close throughout, but Livingston trailed at the end of each of the first three periods. In the final period, with almost six minutes Mahaney nailed a three-pointer and Livingston took a 41-40 lead for the first time since early in the game. The basket capped a 10-2 LA run that included points from Maya and Sells. Shelbyville then hit on the next two trips and the Lady Cats just couldn’t catch up.

“I’m not sure about the Cookeville game,” Kilgore added, “but we definitely should have beaten Shelbyville. I think we learned from the two losses and that will be good in the long run. After Christmas we’ll have to get in a groove because that’s when district play really starts. We’ll be okay.”

Livingston’s Lady Cats closed out the first half of the season with an 8-4 overall record and a 2-1 district mark. The Lady Cats will be in Scottsville, KY, over the holidays for the Lady of the South Invitational starting Saturday.





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Sixers coach a former Golden Eagle


Tony DiLeo, once a TTU basketball player is now the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tony DiLeo, the starting point guard for the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles during two years in the mid 70s, has been named head coach of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers.

DiLeo was named Saturday to replace Maurice Cheeks after the 76ers faltered with a 9-14 record in the early going of the 2008-09 season.

The naming of DiLeo to the position gives Tennessee Tech connections with head coaches in three of the nation's major sports leagues, joining Marynell Meadors as coach of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream and Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.

DiLeo played at Tech as a freshman in the 1973-74 season, and as a sophomore in 1974-75, both under head coach Connie Inman. He transferred to LaSalle in his hometown of Philadelphia for his final two seasons.

Playing in 50 games for the Golden Eagles, DiLeo dished out 272 assists, which ranked as the second-most in school history, only eight behind Wayne Pack’s school record. More than 30 years later, DiLeo's total still ranks 14th in the career record book.

Sixers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced that the team relieved Cheeks of his head coaching responsibilities. DiLeo, currently the team's Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager, will remain in the position through the end of the 2008-09 season.

"Decisions of this nature are never easy, and this was particularly difficult due to the great amount of respect I have for Maurice Cheeks,"
Stefanski said. "However, at this time I felt that it is in the best interest of this team to make a change while there is still time to accomplish the goals we set forth for ourselves at the start of the season.

"Tony DiLeo has a wealth of basketball knowledge and coaching experience both in the NBA and on the international level and is familiar not only with our current group of players but the style of play we are striving to attain on a consistent basis."

DiLeo is in his 19th season with the Sixers organization and his fifth as the team¹s Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager.

During his tenure with the Sixers, DiLeo has been involved in every aspect of the team's basketball operations. In his role as Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager, DiLeo was responsible for assisting Stefanski with player procurement via his evaluation of amateur and professional talent while supervising the team’s draft efforts and overseeing the college and professional scouting systems. Prior to that, DiLeo spent four seasons as the Sixers Director of Player Personnel (1999-2003) and has served as an Assistant Coach under Larry Brown, Jim Lynam, Fred Carter, John Lucas and Doug Moe.

DiLeo has extensive experience in international basketball as both a player and a coach. He coached the former West German men's and women's teams from 1979-90, winning nine national titles in that country's top division, earning Coach of the Year honors in 1987. Additionally, he was selected as the West German federation National Coach from 1981-85 and during that time, wrote and published the European Basketball Handbook, a guide designed to acclimate American players overseas.

A star at Cinnaminson (N.J.) High School, DiLeo went on to play at Tennessee Tech and LaSalle University, where as a junior he was named first-team Academic All-American and went on to graduate maxima cum laude from the LaSalle School of Business.


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