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Wildcats defeat Lions and Dragons at home
Lady Cats take first loss to Cannon Co. since 1991
Kentucky faces Clemson in Music City Bowl

Wildcats defeat Lions and Dragons at home


Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Kendall Melton is determined to get in position.


Mac McLeod photo
T.J. Smith brings the ball around for Livingston Academy.


Mac McLeod photo
Hayden Hill drives in for a shot against York Institute.


Mac McLeod photo
Mason Ramsey powers in for a 2-point shot over York.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Livingston’s T.J. Smith scored 20 points against York on Tuesday night, Dec. 8 and 16 against Cannon County on Friday, Dec. 11. It appears that Tuesday’s performance might be a little better than Friday’s, but those who saw both games as well as many other games the fine shooting senior has played in, may point out that Friday’s game may have been one of his finest ever.

“I think it was, “ said a happy Richard Melton following the 64-55 win over the
Lions. “It was a great game for T.J. He shot well, took good shots, and really played hard on the boards. It was a more complete game than just scoring.”

Melton had more to smile about Friday after the Wildcats posted their sixth win of the season against three losses than he did on Tuesday despite a 62-53 victory over rival York. Both games were played at home.

Although his team won on Tuesday, Melton told them after the game that the performance “was not good enough. It was below average and no one was taking charge”

After Friday’s win, the very competitive Melton was more positive praising his team for playing “better together and having a more positive attitude.

“I realize we are a young team and these kids are playing together for the first time and that takes time to get used to, but this group has a lot of talent. Tonight there were several players from last year’s team here (Chase Dunn, Clint West, Deven Ramsey) and they all came over and chatted. Those guys played together for years so they were familiar with each other. This team will have to get to that point and I really believe they will. We’re young, but we’re getting better.”

“I’m not shooting good at all,” Smith said before the game. “I will just have to keep shooting until it starts to fall. That, plus this is a young team and we are going to have to start playing better as a team. It takes time to plug in new players and get things clicking, especially after the past several years when we were together for so long. It will happen before long.”

In the game with York, the Dragons started off tough and hung close, actually leading most of the way, until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. It was with only two minutes remaining that the Wildcats took over and the Dragons faded away.

Smith opened the game with a three-pointer then followed with another and suddenly Livingston was on top, 6-1. A basket inside by freshman Mason Ramsey upped the lead to 8-1 then the bottom fell out. York would take the lead, 11-10, at the end of the frame.

Kendall Melton would tie the game at 12 early in the second period, but York would then race away to a 23-22 lead at halftime and maintain the one-point lead at the end of the third frame, 35-34.

York led 42-38 early in the final eight minutes, but Ramsey and Smith went into action. With four minutes remaining, Ramsey scored from the lane to give LA a 46-44 lead. At the two minute mark, a basket by Smith gave LA a five-point lead, 50-45, and from that point on it was a parade to the foul line. Kailen Melton had four points from the line while Smith had two and Ramsey added four more.

Ramsey paced Livingston with 26 points while Smith added 20. The Melton brothers, Kailen and Kendall, each had four points while Hayden Hill, Logan Beaty, Brock McCoin, and Brad Jackson were good for two.

It was the first district game of the season.

On Friday, Cannon came out shooting from everywhere, hitting 10 three-pointers before the night was over, but this time around, the Wildcats were ready for almost anything and answered each basket with points of their own. Smith would have four three pointers on the night for part of his 16-point game total.

Livingston trailed the hot shooting Lions 18-17 at the end of the first period, but a pair of three-pointers by Kailen Melton to open the second period put LA up by five, 23-18, early, putting the Wildcats ahead to stay. Livingston led 32-24 at intermission.

Things got a little interesting in the second half, and at one point it looked as if the Wildcats would let the game get away.

Late in the third period, Mason Ramsey nailed a beautiful hook shot in close to put LA up by 15, 47-32, but with 4:21 left in the game, the Lions had rallied to within four, 51-47. Livingston’s lead was actually cut to two, 53-51, with 2:30 remaining.

Then Ramsey, Kailen and Kendall Melton started the march to the charity stripe and five straight shots to make the final score 64-55. Actually , in the final period, LA not only went 5 for 5 from the line, but hit on five of six shots from the field.

Livingston benefitted from a balanced scoring attack. Ramsey led the way with 17 while Smith added 16 and Kailen Melton nailed 11. Colby Reeder had his best game of the season, hit for 8, Jake Huitt put in six, Jackson was good for four, and Kendall Melton, playing his usually high spirited game, added two.

The Wildcats are now 2-0 in the district and after visiting Smithville Tuesday night, Dec. 15, for another district game, will head into the Christmas break starting in Cookeville Saturday.

 

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Lady Cats take first loss to Cannon Co. since 1991


Mac McLeod photo
Alyssa Thompson grabs a rebound for LA against York.


Mac McLeod photo
Shelby Taylor grabs some air on her way to the basket in the win over York’s Lady Dragons.


Mac McLeod photo
Tori Stocking pulls up for a shot in the win over York.


Mac McLeod photo
Abby Miller reaches up for 2 points against York Institute.


Mac McLeod photo
Mallory Mahaney brings the ball down the court for LA.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

For years Cannon County has been easy prey on the road and pretty tough at home. The Lionettes won the state championship in 1989 and last defeated Livingston’s Lady Wildcats in 1991. Things have changed over the past several years, and Friday night, Michael Dodgen’s rebuilt team showed they would be a team to be dealt with before it’s all said and done.

“They are a very strong team,” LA coach Lesley Smith pointed out after a 52-41 loss to Cannon County. “Michael (the head coach) has worked hard over there and it is starting to pay off. They beat us on the boards and they beat us in other phases of the game. I think perhaps tonight our players finally see what coach (Lora) Franklin and I have been preaching all season. We are making far too many little mistakes and they finally showed up.”

Smith’s team rolled over York, 76-56 on Tuesday, Dec. 8 and despite the victory, the coach was not pleased with her team’s performance.

“It’s hard to stand there and point out mistakes when we are winning by 20 points the veteran coach explained. “They ( the players) don’t understand, but in our complicated system, little mistakes will kill you, and tonight it finally showed against a very good team. I think now they believe us.”

The point was apparently well taken.

“We made too many turnovers and we struggled in transition. We lost their key players on the transitions and they also beat us to death on the boards, senior Shelby Taylor pointed out. “And we didn’t rebound either.”

“Cannon is going to be one of the best teams in the district,” sharpshooter Mackenzie Sells explained. “Tonight, all the things our coaches have been trying to get us to correct came true. We have got to get back to basics and also, play better team ball.”

In Tuesday’s roll over York, it appeared from the stands that the Lady Cats were
once again rolling towards Murfreesboro and another run at the state championship.

After all, they had won the first seven games of the season, and after a slow start against the Lady Dragons, ripped off 19 straight points in the second frame to take the easy win.

But after the win, Smith described her team’s performance as “unfundamental”.

“I told the team that unless we played better than we did tonight, we would get blown out Friday (against Cannon County),“ Smith said on Tuesday.

Her prediction was dead on.

In Tuesday’s win, Alyssa Thompson and Sells paced the Lady Cats out to a 5-0 lead, but York came roaring back and actually led by three, 16-13, at the end of the period.

Then in the second period, Taylor hit the first two baskets of the frame, then it was Thompson, then Taylor, then Mallory Mahaney, then Tori Stocking and all of a sudden Livingston led 31-16. For almost six minutes York was held scoreless.

The Lady Cats led 35-23 at intermission.

Taylor, having her best offensive game of the season, started the third period with a basket and Abby Miller followed and from that point to the final buzzer it was almost who wanted to take the shot.

Taylor had 22 points in the win while Thompson added 15 and Miller and Sells each added 12. Stocking and Mahaney came through with five each and Amber Welch rounded out the scoring with two.

And while Tuesday’s win appeared easy, there was nothing easy about Friday’s game.

After Sells opened with a basket and Thompson followed with a three-pointer, LA eased out to a 5-2 lead, but the Lionettes were simply biding their time. Playing extremely strong defense and controlling the boards on both ends of the floor, Cannon County took an 11-7 lead at the end of the first period, and was just waiting
to break the game open.

After Miller got things going for Livingston in the second frame, the visitors used a couple long baskets to move ahead by five. Sells closed the gap to three at 16-13, but from that point on it was all Cannon County. At the buzzer, Livingston trailed 26-17.

A basket by Welch late in the third period closed the gap to five, 34-29, but every time it appeared the Lady Cats were coming back, Cannon would slam the door.

In the final period, Cannon made nine straight to seal the outcome.

Sells led Livingston with 16 points, Taylor added seven, Miller six, Mahaney five, while Welch and Samatha Maya each had two.

After traveling to DeKalb County on Tuesday, Dec. 15, LA will play in the Mid State Classic in Cookeville starting Saturday.


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Kentucky faces Clemson in Music City Bowl
Representatives of the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl announced Sunday, Dec. 6 that University of Kentucky will represent Southeastern Conference (SEC) in the 12th annual Bowl and face off against Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) Clemson University. Kick-off will be at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27 at LP Field in Nashville.
The game will be televised live on ESPN.

Bowl Chair Christine Karbowiak said, “The Bowl is thrilled to once again host the student-athletes, administrators, and fans from the University of Kentucky and Clemson University. Music City has proved to be a great destination for both teams, and we welcome both teams to our first primetime game in Nashville.”

Kentucky Wildcats are making their fourth Bowl appearance in Nashville, led this year on offense by all-purpose performers Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke. Cobb, who plays wide receiver and quarterback, finished the regular season second for the SEC in touchdowns, third in all-purpose yards per game, and third in punt return average. Locke leads the team in rushing and is second in the SEC in all-purpose yardage. It has been a year of milestone victories for the Wildcats as they won at Auburn for the first time since 1961 and at Georgia for the first time since 1977.

Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky director of athletics, said, “We’re honored to be invited to the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl.”

Clemson Tigers are making a return to Nashville after playing Kentucky in the 2006 Bowl. Senior running back C.J. Spiller was named the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Offensive Player of the Year for the 2009 season. Spiller, along with tight end Michael Palmer and safety DeAndre McDaniel, were given first-team All-ACC honors. C.J. Spiller also holds the NCAA record for kick-off returns for touchdowns in a career, and is the only player in the NCAA to score a touchdown every game during the 2009 campaign.

Clemson finished third in the ACC in total defense, second in scoring offense, second in passing defense, and third in rushing offense.

Terry Don Phillips, Clemson University director of athletics, said, “We are excited to be selected for the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. This will be our second appearance in this bowl and it was an outstanding experience for our program the first time around. Nashville is a great city and has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment for our fans. It is also a game that will take place in a state-of-the-art NFL facility against Kentucky.”

The 2009 game will mark the fourth Bowl match-up between the SEC and ACC in Nashville. SEC teams have won the first three conference matchups under the current Bowl contract with the ACC.

Bowl tickets are available for purchase through Ticketmaster online at Ticketmaster.com/MusicCityBowl or at any Ticketmaster location. For more information call the Bowl office at (615) 743-3130, visit the Bowl online at MusicCityBowl.com or follow the Bowl on Facebook and Twitter.

Fans planning to attend the game may visit MusicCityBowl.com to purchase game day parking. Several parking options are available, but for those wishing to park in a stadium parking lot at LP Field, passes must be pre-purchased. No parking passes at LP Field will be available to purchase on game day.

For more information call the Bowl office at (615) 743-3130 or visit the Bowl online at MusicCityBowl.com.

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