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Archives 01-14-2009

Sports

Cats devour Blue Devils
Lady Wildcats fall short against Jackson County
Just Thinkin

Cats devour Blue Devils


Dewain E. Peek photo
Chase Dunn tosses in 2 of his 18 points in Friday’s win.


Dewain E. Peek photo
Brad Jackson goes around a Blue Devil defender for points.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

On some nights, the ball just does not go in. Hopefully on those same nights, a team does other things right to make up for the shots that do not fall. Friday night against Jackson County, the Livingston Academy Wildcats had both things happen in the boys half of the double-header.

Shooting 34% can get you, and most of the time will get you, but fortunately, the Jackson County Blue Devils were smothered by the Cat’s defense, managing only 11 points in the first quarter alone, with only 2 made field goals. But the Cats only put up 17, and knew that to win, they must do the small things to make up for the poor shooting.

In the second frame, the Cats flexed their defensive muscles, allowing 3 points in the whole quarter, scoring 13, to take a very comfortable lead, 30-14, after one half of play. The Cats knew, however, that the intensity of play could not go away and let the visiting Devils back into the game.

But in the third, the Cats caught fire, scoring 21 in the quarter, allowing 16, taking a 51-30 lead into the final frame; showing just how the #3 team in all of AA should play, and just how dangerous the Cats can be in one quarter alone with a 21-point outburst.

In the final frame, the substitutions began for both squads, but the intensity was present, as the Cats allowed only 4 points in the quarter, scoring 18, and cruising to a profound 69-34 win over the Blue Devils of Jackson County.

On a night when shooting was somewhat bad, the leaders still found a way to put the ball in the hole. On the night, the Cats were led by Chase Dunn, 18 points, Will Peterman, who put together an impressive second straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Deven Ramsey with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and T.J. Smith with 8 points and 4 rebounds.

One very bright spot for the Cats has been the strong play of junior post player Brad Jackson. On the night, Jackson put up 6 points, with 6 boards, to give Livingston a big threat on the block.

After Livingston Academy 17-1 (4-0 in 7AA) travels to play Pickett County on Tuesday night, Jan. 13, who they took care of 72-25 on November 25, the Cats will come home to face off against the Smith County Owls on Friday, Jan. 16. The Cats still find themselves at #2 in the mid-state, and an impressive third in Class AA.

The Cats will travel to Baxter on Tuesday, Jan. 20 for a district game against Upperman’s Bees.



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Lady Wildcats fall short against Jackson County


Dewain E. Peek photo
Kendria Kilgore fires a 3-pointer from in front of the Livingston Academy bench.


Dewain E. Peek photo
LA’s Alissa Sells turns the corner toward the basket.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

After giving up a season high of 83 points in regulation to Station Camp, the Lady Cats took a week off and focused primarily on defense. After 4 days of hard grueling practice, the girls took the floor Friday night against arch rival Jackson County.

The Lady Cats came out looking very much inspired, playing pretty great defense all in all. A very strong, quick group from Jackson County looked to continue to give Livingston woes defensively, but the Lady Cats never broke, though they did bend at times. After all, the Lady Cats only gave up 7 points in the first, scoring 5, to make the score 7-5 after one.

In the second, the Lady Devils jumped out on a huge run to take a 17-7 lead, but the determined Lady Cats chipped away at the lead, one bucket at a time. After forcing Blue Devil star Laken Leonard out of the game with two fouls, the Lady Cats came closer, and with a beautiful three-pointer at the buzzer from Kendria Kilgore, the Lady Cats found themselves down only 19-16.

In the third, the Lady Cats just could not get anything to fall. The visitors could and did, although the Devils only managed to score 11 in the third frame, the Cats could only muster 7 in the same period, and after 3, found themselves in a deeper hole, 30-23.

In the final frame, the ladies in blue showed a determination and grit, refusing to give up, and fighting with each offensive and defensive possession. After allowing the Lady Devils to take a 34-23 lead, senior guard Alissa Sells caught fire and scored 10 of the next 14 for Livingston, and with a Kilgore lay-up, pushed the game to 39-39 with under two minutes remaining.

After a Jackson County three, and free throws from Shelby Taylor, the Cats found themselves tied again at 42 with just over 55 seconds remaining. But the free throws would be all she wrote for the Lady Cats while Jackson County scored 7 straight and escaped from Livingston with a 49-42 win.

LA Coach Lesley Smith said, “We played great defense and made a good effort to come back against a team that I expect to be in the Single A state championship, but we need to make a higher percentage of our shots to be more consistent.”

Now the Lady Cats, 11-8 (3-1 in 7AA), looked to end a two game skid Tuesday night, Jan. 13 when traveling to play Pickett County, who the Lady Cats handled with ease in the first meeting, taking a win 70-30. The Lady Cats will come home Friday night, Jan. 16 to play the Smith County Lady Owls. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.

The Lady Cats will travel to Baxter on Tuesday, Jan. 20 for a district game against Upperman’s Lady Bees.






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Just Thinkin
by Mac McLeod

One of the things I promised myself to do this year was to sit down in front of this computer and write some more stories. If I can just get started on some stuff, I can usually roll off an old sports story or hunting story without any trouble. It’s like a lot of other things anymore though, I have to get started.

So to get this year started off on the right track, I’ve decided to pick on the Livingston Academy boy’s basketball – see, I’ve already started picking the easy stuff.

If you have even the slightest desire to watch high school boys basketball, don’t let this season slip by without seeing the Wildcats at least once. They are that good. If you miss them this time around, its likely to be a long time before a group this good comes around again. It’s kinda like the 2005 football team. If you missed them, no telling how long it will be before that caliber of team returns.

Last year if you missed seeing them play, one could always say:”I’ll catch them next year” and they would have been okay. This time, after playing as a team for three straight seasons, four players will graduate, thus breaking up one of LA’s finest hoop squads of all time.

You can’t get this group back, ever again.

Is this the best team ever at LA? That’s a question that can only be answered “yes” if it wins the state championship. Last year, this very same group went to Murfreesboro to the state tournament but fell in the opening round. In 1982, the Wildcat team went to the final game before losing, and in 1965, the school’s team ripped off 16 straight wins to start the season.

Obviously , there have been some fine Livingston Academy basketball teams, and even legendary coach, Derward Vaughn is politically correct enough to only classify this team as “one of the very best”.

But facts are facts and this year’s edition of the Wildcats can make a strong case of being one of, if not the best team in school history.

Over the past two and a half seasons, this LA team has won 93 games and lost only 26. It has lost only twice in district play during that time, and won the district title the past two seasons straight. It has reached the regional tournament twice, and played in the finals both times, winning once and losing once.

One of its players has set the school’s single game scoring record and is only 67 points away from setting the school’s all-time scoring mark.

And despite one player’s outstanding accomplishments, this is far from being a one-man team. As a matter of fact, this team has so much talent that its starting five changes just about every night and its starting ten could be better than any team in the state.

“And this team is just so much fun to be around,” explains head coach Richard Melton. “We are like a big family, and I’ll be honest with you, graduation night is going to be very tough on me. These kids love to play basketball, and they have talent on top of that. Desire and talent are a hard combination to beat, and now we have convinced ourselves that we are pretty good and we can make another run at the state championship.”
So where does one start when describing this team? Let’s head for Chase Dunn, the obvious.

Dunn will be the first to redirect the attention to others, like Clint West or Brad Jackson, but he can’t hide from the fact that he now holds the school’s single game record of 49 points and will break his coach’s school mark of 2,250 within the next four or five games. Dunn is a talented player with a heart as big as a gym. He plays with tremendous emotion and when he’s on the floor, even the floor isn’t safe.

“Coach tells me every game now how many I need for the record, and he’s determined that I’ll get it. He just wants it to happen at home. I got my 2,000th at home, and breaking the record at home would be cool.

“But it’s not the record, it’s how far this team can go that’s important. I’ve had a lot of breaks in going for the record. Looking back at my freshman year, Wilson (Cates) was still playing football, so I got to play a lot early.

Those were additional games. Then this team has been so good we go to the playoffs every year, and all those games add up. I’ve been lucky to have played on good teams with good teammates.”

Then there’s West, the most overlooked player on the floor on any given night, but a definite “most valuable player” every game or tournament. Clint controls the game, sets the tempo, directs the play, and usually scores five or six points. Most fans look for the points and the most points always win, but behind the points there always has to be a player like West that made the entire thing work, and work correctly.

In the middle is Deven Ramsey. Deven has the curse of being the “big
man”, and despite all he does, for most basketball fans, it’s never enough.

In his sophomore and junior season, the big 6-7 center was in foul trouble more than not, and on more than one occasion it would frustrate him. This time around, it doesn’t and his fouls have gone down and his scoring up.

This season he’s averaging 7.5 points a game, has 14 blocks, and is second in rebounding. His soft touch in the lane has made him a much bigger threat inside, and occasionally, the big guy will nail a three-pointer.

“I just like playing the game,” the quiet spoken Ramsey will admit. “Its been a real honor and pleasure to be with this group and I’m also proud of Brad (Jackson) who has come along so strong. He makes me work much harder now.”

Will Peterman has to be the senior surprise of this team, and his hustle has made him one of the top players in the district.Peterman leads the team in rebounding, is third in blocked shots, and averages almost eight points per game.

“Will has been a big plus in this year’s team,” his coach points out. “We knew we should be better than last year simply from an experience
standpoint, and Will has added to all of that.”

With those four seniors on the floor and the deadly shooting of junior T.J. Smith ripping the chords for over 13 points per game, and a strong presence inside on rebounding , the 2008-09 edition of the Livingston Academy Wildcats will certainly go down so close to the top of the list of great teams at the school that whoever is second will be “the other great team”.

But the starting five are only that – five players to start the game. There’s Justin Poston and Kendall Melton, Adam Wilson and Jackson, Kailen Melton and Jake Huitt, Hayden Hill and Logan Ramsey, Colby Reeder and Logan Beaty and Dakota Key. They all contribute big time to the team.

“One of the keys to the success of this team is they all think highly of each teammate,” Melton adds. “They are good, honest, deserving kids with a good ability to play basketball, and that makes them good.

“The fact that they have played together for a long time also helps. The elementary school programs in this county are outstanding, and all that leads to the high school. If you don’t think there’s pressure to win at the elementary school level, just go to one of their games. Man, the pressure is on. That makes it work here at the high school.”

It’s been a great season so far with 17 wins and only one two point loss. It will be even better from here on out with the wind up of regular season play in February then tournament action leading to regional and state tournaments.

If you haven’t seen them play, don’t miss them. As they always say about super events, “don’t miss it cause it probably won’t come back around any time too soon.”

That’s certainly true about this year’s Wildcat team. They are good, very good, and best of all they are a great bunch of youngsters.

Thanks for all you guys go to entertain us on long, cold winter nights.


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