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Archives 01-27-2010

Sports

Junior Wildcat cheerleaders compete in Hixson
LA battles Ensworth to within 1 point
Lady Cats defeat Upperman
Jolley earns special honors at competition

 

Junior Wildcat cheerleaders compete in Hixson


Overton County Junior Wildcats traveled to Hixson on Saturday, Jan. 23 to compete in Gameday Cheer Competition. The squad earned 2nd place in both Cheer and Pom competitions. Plans are underway for the Junior Wildcats to host their own Gameday Cheer Competition for the Upper Cumberland Area on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010.

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LA battles Ensworth to within 1 point


Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Kailen Melton, #31, is a millisecond from a hard landing against Ensworth on Saturday afternoon. Despite a scrappy effort, Livingston Academy dropped a 1-point decision.


Mac McLeod photo
Brad Jackson goes up for a rebound against Upperman.

Mac McLeod photo
T.J. Smith is presented a plaque by Coach Richard Melton commemorating his scoring 1,000 points.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

To say Livingston Academy head basketball coach Richard Melton was “very competitive” would be a total understatement. In Melton’s mind, there’s either winning or losing and very little room in between, but moments after a thrilling one-point loss to powerful Ensworth Saturday night, the coach was a little more than pleased with his Wildcats’ performance.

“You know I have little use for ‘moral victories’,” the coach smiled, “but I am so proud of that team over there (pointing to the LA dressing room). Ensworth is a very good team and we never gave up. We played hard. When we got down late in the game, we kept coming back. Now I hope we can take this and finish the year with the same focus we had tonight. I am extremely proud of this team.”

In the LA dressing room, there was a little dejection, but not much. Every player on the team knew he had given it all and had come up just a little short, but it was not for lack of effort.

“It was one of those games where you feel like you should have won, but didn’t. You also know you could have lost so you hope you did the best you could and move on. Tonight, we made too many turnovers and lost our shooting touch there at the start of the fourth quarter. Other than that, we played as hard as we could.”

Smith, a senior, remembers going to Ensworth last year and dropping a close 67-65 contest to the powerful independent school from Nashville.

“We should have won that one too,” the soft-spoken veteran smiled. “Playing teams like Ensworth really let you know just how good or bad you are. Last year we were good and this year we are too. Against good teams, one-point wins or one-point losses are good indicators of where your program stands. “

Saturday’s setback was just one of three games for the Wildcats last week, which ended with two wins and one loss. On Tuesday, LA hosted district 8 2A rival Upperman and came away with a 65-45 win that was not nearly the runaway score indicated, and on Friday, cruised to 76-35 rout of Clarkrange. Livingston now stands 15-6 on the season, but more importantly, 5-0 in district play.

Before the start of Tuesday’s contest with Upperman, Smith was honored for scoring his 1,000th career point as a Wildcat. He marked the occasion by adding 18 more in the win over the Bees.

But it was the revival of the play of Brad Jackson that sparked the win. Jackson, a senior, was expected to be the spark for this year’s club but got off to a slow start, playing mostly in a substitute role. Tuesday the physical and high spirited Jackson played by far, his best game of the year.

“I can’t explain it,” he said after the game. “I don’t know what happened, but I do know I enjoyed it.”

Jackson’s 14 points were important, but his control of the boards was a big key to the victory.

After taking a 16-7 lead the first quarter, Livingston held on for a 32-26 margin at halftime. Then in the third frame, the Bees came alive and went ahead 35-34.

Jackson then tied the score at 35 with a free throw and Kailen Melton and Brock McCoin put the Wildcats back on top. McCoin’s three-pointer gave LA a 40-37 advantage then his basket at the buzzer put the Wildcats on top 44-37 going into the final eight minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Smith took charge. His 15 points in the last frame all but wiped out the Bees.

“Maybe I just got excited,” Smith laughed when informed of his 15 points in the period.

In addition to Smith’s 18 and Jackson’s 14, Mason Ramsey put in 10, Jake Huitt 8, McCoin 7, and Kailen Melton 6.

On Friday night, Mason Ramsey scored the first four points and Heath Thompson the final four and in between, the entire LA squad simply fired away and hit more than it missed.

Livingston scored the first 20 points of the game and led at intermission, 51-17. Every player who dressed out scored, and only one player, Logan Ramsey with 15, hit in double figures.

Kailen Melton had 9, Smith 8, Huitt, McCoin, and Colby Reeder 7, Logan Beaty 6, Mason Ramsey and Thompson 4, Hayden Hill 3, and Bubba Jolly 2.

“It was good that we got to use all of our players tonight,” coach Melton pointed out after the game. “I’m worried about tomorrow (Saturday’s game with Ensworth), but tonight we played well and had a good time. “

Saturday’s contest was all Melton expected and everyone who bought a ticket got his or her’s money worth.

Rick Watson opened the game with the first of his five 3-pointers of the initial half, but the shooting of Mason Ramsey and Smith put the Cats up by four, 15-11, at the end of the first period.

The second period was a true indication of just how close that game would be. Back and forth the teams went and back and forth the score changed. Smith hit the first field goal of the period to give LA a 20-11 advantage and his three-pointer seconds later put the home team up 23-15 with a little over four minutes to go.

Watson then really found the three-point range and his three 3-pointer’s helped knot the score at 40 at intermission.

In the third period, both teams traded baskets until the score reached 50. Then two critical turnovers by Livingston in the waning minute and 30 seconds allowed the visitors to race away to a 60-54 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

For two minutes and 30 seconds to open the final period, Livingston failed to score a field goal while the Tigers ran off nine straight points. Then the Cats started to claw back, trailing 69-57. Logan Ramsey scored from in close then Smith nailed a basket from the lane. Jake Huitt pulled the Cats to within six with a basket, and two free throws by Kendall Melton got Livingston to within four, 69-65, with a pair of free throws.

With one minute remaining, Smith scored to make it a 73-69 game then Kailen Melton nailed a three-pointer with 14 seconds left to get LA to within one, 73-72. A three-pointer by Ensworth’s Watson sealed the decision, but Kailen Melton put in a three at the buzzer to let the visitors know the Cats weren’t going down without a fight.

Smith had 17 points and 15 rebounds to pace Livingston while Jackson had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Mason Ramsey was good for 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Kailen Melton added 13 points and 8 rebounds. Logan Ramsey gave the Cats 10
points and Huitt rounded out the game that saw 55 total fouls called against the two teams, with six points.

Livingston will play three times this week, after traveling to York on Tuesday night, Jan. 26, the Cats will go to Jackson County for a make-up game on Thursday, Jan. 28 and be at home Friday night against DeKalb. Then on Tuesday, Feb. 2, LA will host Jackson County.

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Lady Cats defeat Upperman

 
Mac McLeod
Livingston Regional Hospital CEO Mike Meadows presented pink socks for breast cancer awareness to Assistant Coach Lora Franklin and the Lady Wildcats before the Upperman game. Robbie Melton, far right, of Overton County Team-Up and Upper Cumberland Komen Affiliates was also on hand for the presentation.


Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Mackenzie Sells struggles for possession of the ball in Friday’s home loss to Class A powerhouse Clarkrange.


Mac McLeod photo
Mallory Mahaney moves behind teammate Samantha Maya for a shot against Ensworth.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Playing three games in any one week can be tough on any high school team. Playing three of the best teams in Middle Tennessee can really put a strain on any team. Last week, the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats hosted district rival Upperman, defending single A state champs Clarkrange and one of the top independent programs in the state, Ensworth.

“That was one tough week,” explained senior Shelby Taylor late Saturday afternoon.

“And we get to do it all again next week.”

Playing three games in one week was part of the bad news. The other part was the Lady Cats lost two of the three. The good news was the only one that really counted, Upperman, they won.

“If we could only win one, Upperman was the one we needed,” pointed out team leader Mackenzie Sells. “Now its time to head into the district and I really think we are ready.”

Six of the next seven games will be district contests then it will be on to the tournament.

“I think we learned tonight (Saturday) that we have got to get a little more physical,” Sells added. “This week we played three games and lost two, but we won the game that counted the most and I think we learned a lot from this game (the loss to Ensworth) that could help us down the stretch.”

Tuesday’s opening game with Upperman was the one contest that drew the most attention since it was a game against the district’s two most successful programs and it was one that could be used to draw a comparison on what’s going on in the league.
This year, Cannon County has come on strong to challenge Livingston and
Upperman for the top spot. Earlier in the year, the Lady Lions beat the Lady Cats 52-41. Shortly after that, Upperman beat Cannon by 10 points, so the “what if” started to roll.

If Livingston lost to Cannon by 11 and Cannon lost to Upperman by 10, how many points did LA need to beat Upperman by to get a mental victory?

Did the final 46-39, overtime outcome produce enough points to give LA any kind of an edge?

“When we go to Cannon County later on (February 9) we know it will be tough,” Taylor explained, “ but the win tonight (Over Upperman) should give us a lot of confidence.”

Both LA and Upperman started slowly, as they usually do, feeling each other out. Taylor had Livingston’s first four points and Alyssa Thompson and Sells the next for the Lady Cats 8-4 first period lead.

Then the Lady Bees got hot, and despite a three by Sells and baskets by Thompson and Amber Welch, LA trailed at intermission, 15-17. It stayed close in the third period with Livingston leading by only three, 29-26, heading into the final period.

Sells scored seven of the Lady Cats’ eight points in the fourth period to keep the game close, then with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, she hit a shot in the lane that tied the game at 38 and sent it into overtime.

In the extra four minutes, Sells had a field goal and two free throws while Samantha Maya added two free throws as did Taylor. In the meantime, the LA defense held Upperman to one meager free throw.

“That was two good teams playing good defense out there tonight,” LA coach Lesley Smith pointed out after the game. “Mackenzie and Shelby each had real good second halves and our defense in overtime was the key.”

The win left LA with a 4-1 district record and 17-3 overall mark.

Clarkrange came to town on Friday night led by its legendary coach Lamar Rogers ( 957-199­) and shooter Molly Heady. From the outset, it looked like the game it turned out to be.

LA scored the first night points, but Rogers kept his team calm and at the end of the first frame, Livingston led by only two, 11-9.

At the intermission, Clarkrange had reversed the margin, leading 21-19 going into the second half, and at the end of the third period, the Lady Wildcats trailed by only four, 29-25.

Talyor got her teammates off to a good start to begin the final frame, hitting her first three shots and tying the game at 32 with a little over five minutes remaining. Then the lid fell over the LA basket and the Lady Buffaloes went ahead 41-32. Taylor would score five more points in the period, but late in the frame, LA was forced to foul and Clarkrange was deadly at the charity stripe.

“When you shoot like that, you won’t beat anybody,” a disappointed LA coach Lesley Smith said after the game. Shelby (Taylor) had a great game, but we didn’t get her much help. Too many turnovers and poor shooting will beat you every time.”
Taylor had 18 points on the night and Sells had 10. Mallory Mahaney had four points while Abby Miller and Maya each had added three.

With one win and one loss on the week, the Lady Cats entered Saturday’s contest with Ensworth looking for ways to stop the fast paced Lady Tigers.

”Our best chance is to slow them down,” Smith explained before the game. “They have some outstanding athletes and we have to stay away from a running game. We also need to shoot better than we did last night (against Clarkrange.)”

Smith got part of the plan in that Livingston kept the Lady Tigers from getting much advantage out of their speed. She also got some good shooting from her crew, but in the end, the physical aspect of the game didn’t go to the Lady Cats.

Livingston led 17-8 at the end of the first frame, then Ensworth adjusted its defense, did a good job of taking Sells away from the basket, and led by one, 28-27, at intermission.

Miller hit a three-pointer early in the third period to give LA a 33-30 lead, but on the next trip down court, went down hard on the floor and didn’t return to the game.

Livingston trailed 45-41 going into the final period, and despite four points from Maya, three from Taylor, and two from Sells, the Ensworth defense proved fatal.

“If we learned anything,” Sells explained after the game, “is we have to be more physical. They (Ensworth) were and down the stretch, we weren’t.

Sells paced Livingston with 16 points while Maya added 10. Taylor had 8, Miller 7, Mahaney and Thompson 4, and Tori Stocking 3.

The Lady Cats will be in action three more times this week, after traveling to a big game on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at York, LA will host Jackson County on Thursday, Jan. 28 in a make-up contest before hosting district foe DeKalb County on Friday. LA will then host Jackson County on Tuesday, Feb. 2.


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Jolley earns special honors at competition


Out of the over 100 cheerleaders and dancers participating in the competition, Overton County Junior Wildcat Hannah Jolley was chosen by the judges as one of only 5 Players of the Game. Jolley is a 7th grade student at Rickman Elementary. She cheers for the OC Junior Wildcats and the Rickman Bulldogs Basketball Cheer Squad. She is the daughter of Joe and Valerie Jolley.


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