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Archives 02-18-2009

Sports

LA honors ‘99 State Champs
Cats win in OT for share of season title
Lady Cats fall short again against Upperman
Titans’ Hope joins Get Fit Tennessee
State bass tournament to be held April 4 on Center Hill

LA honors ‘99 State Champs


Becca Savage photo
Ten years after, Livingston Academy honored the 1999 State Champion Lady Wildcats again in a ceremony held Tuesday, Feb. 10. On that team roster were, front row from left, Sharon Smith, Paige Smith, Kaci Norrod Garrett, Jenna Baltimore Medley, Heather Walker Dyer, back row, Coach Eddie Linder, manager Lance Stephens, Andrea Brown Rigsby, Christy Hastings Windle, Amanda Jackson Hastings, Jennifer Ledbetter, Stephanie Sullivan Cowan, Ashley Pealer, and, not in attendance, Jessica Leach Allen, Korie Cravens, Jennifer Franklin Masters, Kim Matthews, Renee Melton, Joie Puckett, Amanda Vaughn, and Katie Winningham Williams.



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Cats win in OT for share of season title


Mac McLeod photo
Wildcats Coach Richard Melton is congratulated by Livingston Academy Principal Harold Watson on reaching 100 wins.


Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Clint West and Kendall Melton contain a Lion.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

It really didn’t matter who won Friday night’s Livingston Academy-Upperman regular season ending game before a jammed packed audience at the Wildcats’ gym. After all, both teams would advance to the semi-final round of this week’s District 7, 2A tournament and both teams would move on to the first round of the regional tournament the following week.

Both teams would be favored to win their opening games in the tournament and it was a foregone conclusion that they would probably meet again in the event’s finals. So why was every seat in the gym full, every available spot in all four corners and most of the sideline space lined with fans and why was the noise level so high the officials had to use their hands to direct the sound of their whistles?

“We didn’t want to finish second,” pointed out Wildcat T.J. Smith. “That’s why we played and that’s one of the big reasons why we won. Second was not part of our plan.”

Livingston didn’t finish second by virtue of an 88-82 overtime victory.

A tie for first place wasn’t part of the plan either, and with a 25-2 overall record going into the game, one could have assumed that first place was never in doubt. Problem was, one of the two losses had come earlier in Baxter against the Bees and that left the Wildcats with a 10-1 district against a perfect 11-0 mark for the visitors.

When the two clashed in Baxter back on January 20, most expected the state’s number two ranked 2A team, Livingston would have little trouble.

After all, last year, the Wildcats cruised by Upperman in both regular season encounters with ease. In fact, in the first meeting, LA won by 30 points.

Didn’t happen. Upperman slammed the Wildcats 81-69.

“They were a very good team last year,” LA head coach Richard Melton pointed out shortly after Friday’s game. “We caught them when they had several players out sick on both regular season games last year, but if you’ll check, they played us very strong in the tournament and we only won by three points.”

So the stage was set for the biggest game thus far in the season for both teams, and both were ready for the challenge. It would all come down to breaks, long range shooting, and who could survive the longest.

What went on the first 31 minutes of the game was mostly routine.

Livingston led, 15-11 at the end of the first period, and the game was tied at 37 at intermission. Upperman took control in the third period and led by five, 59-54, headed into the final eight minutes of regulation play.

Early in the final period, Deven Ramsey grabbed a rebound, one of his 12 for the night and found Smith open. The hot shooting Smith nailed a three-pointer and the comeback was on. Down by two, 66-64, with 3:30 showing on the clock, Clint West hit his fourth three-pointer of the night to put Livingston ahead for the first time in a long time, 67-66.

At that point it appeared LA might finally put things away. Dunn hit a three for a four-point LA lead, but Upprman just wouldn’t quit and a three-pointer by the Bees at the buzzer knotted the game at 76 and sent it into overtime.

Upperman took the quick lead, but Smith knotted it at 78 and Brad Jackson put back a missed shot underneath to push LA ahead 80-78.

Upperman again tied the score at 80, then West nailed his fifth three of the night and Livingston never trailed. Justin Poston hit a free throw and Jackson added two more with less than 20 second remaining to seal the deal.

“That was all anyone could ask for in a high school basketball game,” Upperman coach Bobby McWilliams said after the game. “Both teams were ready to play and both teams wanted it badly. I’m proud of my kids and I congratulate Livingston. It was a very physical game as we expected it would be, but both teams handled themselves well. You hate to lose those kinds of games, but it was a lot of fun to be a part of. I hope we play again soon”

“It was everything I thought it would be,” Melton pointed out. “We missed nine free throws, which could have made a difference, and little things we didn’t do kept the game close.

“It would be hard to point to any one player in this game, but Deven had a fine game with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Clint just sparked the team when it needed a spark with his threes. Chase had 26 points, and you can’t explain what that means to any team, and T.J. has just been steady over the past several games. You know he’s going to give you a big play when you need one.”

“When I hit the first three it felt good,” West explained, “then I missed a couple. Coach told me to keep shooting and I did and it worked out. And I can’t say enough about the crowd. They really kept us fired up and I’ll always be glad I was a part of this game. It was a fun game to play.”

When he walked to the foul line with only seconds left on the clock in the overtime, Jackson knew he could ice the win. With a four-point lead and less than 20 remaining, a couple free throws would put it out of reach.

“No, I wasn’t nervous,” the quiet-spoken Jackson said. “Actually, I didn’t feel any pressure. We wanted it so badly, and when they fell in, it just felt good. It’s so much fun to be a part of this team.”

“It was just fun,” Will Peterman added. “That kind of game brings out the best in both teams and I think that’s what happened tonight. Both teams played the very best they could. It was a physical game, but that’s what rivalry games are about. I had a lot of fun.”

Dunn led Livingston with 26 points while Smith had 16, West 15, and Ramsey and Peterman each were good for 11. Jackson put in six, Adam Wilson was good for two, and Poston rounded out the scoring with one.

In the week’s first game, Smith was perfect on the night, hitting 11 of 11 shots, five being from three-point range to lead LA to a 96-55 romp over Cannon County. Smith opened the game with three straight threes, and at that point, the outcome was never in doubt.

Smith’s 28 points led the Livingston attack while West was warming up for Friday’s game with 15 points. Dunn and Jackson each were good for 14.

Peterman and Ramsey had six each, Logan Beaty had four while Hayden Hill, Kendall Melton, and Kailen Melton each added three.

With the win, the LA boys end the regular season with a 26-2 mark and 11-1 in the region. Upperman ended its regular season at 22-5 and 11-1.

As of press time, Livingston’s boys with play Saturday at Tennessee Tech at either 12:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.

 

Lady Cats fall short again against Upperman


Mac McLeod photo
Kendria Kilgore is congratulated by Coach Lesley Smith on attaining the 1,000-point club at Livingston Academy.


Mac McLeod photo
Mallory Mahaney dribbles as she moves toward the basket.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

After posting a 9-2 District 7, 2A record this season, the Livingston Academy girls wanted only one more thing: a win over rival Upperman. It wasn’t too much to ask since an early meeting proved the Lady Cats had what it would take to knock off the 28-1, 11-0 Lady Bees. Just play 32 minutes of perfect basketball.

Back in January, Livingston traveled to Baxter, a place that had not been very kind to them over the past several years. In what could have been their best game of the season, the Lady Cats fought and clawed all the way to the final minutes and a half before suffering a heartbreaking 57-55 loss.

It wasn’t the loss that hurt, it was the fact that they should have won that was hard to swallow. Livingston led the entire game and with a little over four minutes remaining, still held a three-point lead.

Now the only thing left was wait for the rematch – on LA’s home court. In the span of eight games since the loss to the Lady Bees, the Lady Cats would win five and lose three, two of which were district games. Nothing mattered. When the two collided Friday night, it was all about pride. Both teams were assured of a one-two regular season finish, a pass through the district tournament and a first round game in the regional event.

And when it all finally counted, the Lady Cats again let the opportunity slip through their fingers, this time by five points, 68-63.

“It’s a tough loss to handle,” Shelby Taylor would say after the game. “We came close at their place and had a good chance to win and tonight we thought we had a good chance. We simply made too many mistakes tonight, and against a team like Upperman, you don’t get away with mistakes. They make you pay.”

“To beat a team that good,” explained LA head coach Lesley Smith, “you had better shoot your best and play your best. Tonight we shot something like 30 percent, and that’s certainly not good enough to beat Upperman.”

The loss was the end of a regular season that started with a lot of anticipation and drifted from good to not so good then back to good throughout the 29-games. It was a season that presented a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. The talent was there, the desire was there, but on at least 11 occasions they both didn’t show up at the same time.

Tuesday’s game with Cannon County was a good example. Senior Kendria Kilgore controlled the floor, Taylor had a hot hand shooting, and junior Alyssa Thompson played the best game of her career, and the result was a never in doubt, although close at times, 72-53 win over the Lady Lions.

By the end of the third period, the Lady Cats were in control. Smith had another chance to let her bench get some experience. By that time Kilgore had added 15 points to her career total, Thompson was red hot from all over the floor with 14 points, and Taylor, not normally a high scorer, had 11.

Mallory Mahaney would complete the double figure scores with 10, and Alissa Sells with knock down eight. Before it was over, Amber Welch, Taylor Eldridge, and Heather Cravens would each get two and Samantha Maya would be good for four.

That warm up set the stage for the big game Friday with Upperman. It was a forgone fact that the Lady Bees would finish first in the district regardless of the outcome of the game and the Lady Cats would finish second, win or lose. Both teams would advance through next week’s district tournament at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville and both would move on to the first round of the regional tournament to be played at Baxter.

So now it was time for pride to take over and before the game, there was no lack of confidence on the LA side.

“I think we’re ready,” Adrain West would say. “My ankle is okay and we remember how close we came at their place. We believe we can win.”

And she was probably right.

West opened the game with a basket to put LA out front, but before the first period would end, too many bad turnovers would lead to a 20-14 Upperman lead.

But don’t go away. Sells opened the second period with a basket and a three-pointer followed by a three-pointer by Maya and with 6:39 left in the half, the game was tied at 22. A basket by Kilgore and a three by Taylor moments later put the home team up by five at 27-22 and it appeared that Friday night might just be Livingston’s night.

Then the Bees came alive and ran off a 10-1 run and at the intermission LA found itself on the short end of a 39-30 score.

Upperman continued the run to open the third period, running off seven straight points before Sells connected on a big three that brought spark back into the LA attack. A basket by Taylor and a three by Kilgore brought the Lady Cats back to within 13, 57-44, when at one point, the difference had been 20.

In the final eight minutes, Livingston tried its best to get back on top. Sells hit another three as did Mackenzie Sells, and Kilgore and West all connected on field goals, but the lead was simply too much to overcome.

“We’ll probably see them again in the tournament,” West commented, emotion running down both cheeks. “Tonight we made bad passes, left players unguarded, and let them have too many easy layups. You can’t do that against Upperman and expect to have a chance. We played them pretty good both times, but pretty good isn’t enough. Maybe we’ll get one more chance.”

Sells paced the Lady Cats with 20 points while Kilgore added 18, and Mackenzie Sells was good for 12. Taylor and West each had five markers and Maya put in three.

Livingston will play Saturday morning, Feb. 21 at 11 o’clock in the district tournament.




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Titans’ Hope joins Get Fit Tennessee
Tennessee Titans All-Pro and Pro-Bowl star strong safety Chris Hope has joined Get Fit Tennessee as a volunteer spokesperson for the statewide program dedicated to improving the health of Tennesseans.

Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN, is delighted to welcome Hope to Team Tennessee.

“Chris sets a wonderful example for everyone by living healthy every day,” said Cooper, who leads the Get Fit Tennessee effort. “He’s already a positive role model for adults and children alike. Not only is he physically fit, but Chris’ positive attitude and lifestyle will help show all Tennesseans that starting where they are today, everyone can make small changes on their journey toward better health.”

Chris Hope is one of the premiere safeties in the NFL, having played a key role in the dominant Titans defense throughout 2008. The strong safety is set to make his first Pro Bowl appearance, representing the league’s 5th-ranked pass defense. He said he’s eager to begin working with Get Fit Tennessee to make a difference in the health of Tennesseans.

Current statistics show more than 30% of Tennesseans are obese, and nearly 726,000 of the state’s residents are living with diabetes.

Hope said, “Now is the time to show Tennesseans how important it is to make healthy choices. I’m excited to play a role on the Get Fit Tennessee team and help educate Tennesseans on the importance of moving more and eating healthier every day.”

Hope was recently nominated for the 2008 Titans Community Man of the Year, and was chosen by teammates to receive the 2008 Ed Block Courage Award. He joins the ranks of several other celebrity members of Team Tennessee, including former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George and NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” contestant and Tennessee resident David Griffin.

As a Get Fit Tennessee spokesperson, Hope will participate in events and promotional activities across the state. Along with being one of the premiere safeties in the National Football League, Hope is the host of
“Offense/Defense with Chris Hope”, a weekly radio show on ESPN 106.7 The Fan. He is also a national spokesperson for Soles4Souls, a nonprofit charity dedicated to providing shoes to children worldwide.

Get Fit Tennessee is a statewide awareness program developed by Governor Phil Bredesen to address the rising epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and risk factors that lead to diabetes, such as obesity. This initiative is aimed at educating both adults and children that Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented with modest lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity and eating healthier.

For more information on Get Fit Tennessee, including free fitness and nutrition tools, visit http://www.getfittn.com/.


State bass tournament to be held April 4 on Center Hill

Bass fishermen across Tennessee will compete Saturday, April 4 for the title of Tennessee State Bass Champion and more than $12,000 in prizes.

The Bank of Putnam County Tennessee State Bass Championship, scheduled for Saturday, April 4 on Center Hill Lake’s Ragland Bottom launch, will offer fishing competitors the title, bragging rights, a $4,000 guaranteed grand prize, and their name on the Governor’s Cup tournament trophy.

Tony Peek, tournament chairman said, “This is among the largest prize packages for a fishing tournament in this area. After the success of last year’s event, the competitor field is already filling up fast.”

Cash prizes range from $4,000 for first place to $160 for 12th place. A big bass pot with 60 – 40 percent split, a $500 cash draw-down, a $300 pick-three and a variety of door prizes are also included in the tournament.

Interested fishermen can register online at http://www.TNbassChampionship.com, by calling 931- 526-3672, or at the tournament site on the day of the event (late registration fee applies).

The entry fee is $160 per boat for each two-person team if paid by March 28, with a $25 late fee applied to registrations beginning March 29.

The tournament, in its fourth year, is sponsored by The Bank of Putnam County. It is organized and planned by Leadership Putnam, a personal development program that helps participants enhance the quality of their leadership in service to the community.

The tournament has been designated as the official Tennessee State Bass Championship through a State Resolution passed in 2006 by the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Other sponsors include Outdoor Dream Store, The Country Giant, Coca Cola, Lamar Advertising, Bartlett Surveying, Charter Communications, WCTE television and Streamliner Creative Group.

For more information on rules and tournament registration, visit www.TNbassChampionship.com.




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