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Archives 03-03-2010

Sports

Junior Wildcats place first in final competition
Kat Nigro honored at Livingston Academy
LA hits 15 three-pointers in rout of Bledsoe
Lady Wildcats season ends in region semifinal

Junior Wildcats place first in final competition


Overton County Junior Wildcats brought home two first place trophies from their final competition for the 2009-2010 season. The squad earned first place in both Junior High Cheer and Pom divisions at the Cheer Ltd. Competition held at Cookeville High School on February 20. They earned bids to the Cheer Ltd. National Competition in Myrtle Beach this March.

Tryouts for next year’s squad will be in April. Information packets are available in all Overton County elementary school offices. Students in sixth through eighth grade next school year are eligible to tryout.

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Kat Nigro honored at Livingston Academy


Mac McLeod photo
Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year Kat Nigro was honored at Livingston Academy at half-time of the boys basketball region tournament game Saturday, Feb. 27. The LA junior, who is now a finalist for Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year, was joined on the court by her parents, Liz and Tony Nigro, her coach, Ethan King, and LA Principal Lesley Smith.

The 5-foot-5 midfielder recorded 34 goals and 15 assists this past season, leading the Lady Wildcats (13-6) to the Division I A/AA regional semifinals. She has already recorded 108 goals and 60 assists in her high school career. She plans to continue her soccer career at University of North Carolina.


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LA hits 15 three-pointers in rout of Bledsoe


Mac McLeod photo
Kendall Melton shoots for a 3-pointer in Saturday’s win.


Mac McLeod photo
Brad Jackson rises above the competition for points against Bledsoe County in Saturday’s Livingston Academy victory.


Mac McLeod photo
A Bledsoe Warrior finds himself surrounded by Wildcats in Saturday’s region tournament game

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Bledsoe County knew enough about Livingston Academy not to try and run with the powerful Wildcats so they took the other approach – use a zone defense and try to keep the score close enough to possibly pull an upset in the opening round of the Region 4 basketball tournament Saturday night in Livingston.

And that may have well been the best approach, but unfortunately for the Warriors, the fourth place team in District 7, 2A, the talented Cats simply went to the long ball and hit almost everything they threw in the direction of the basket. The zone didn’t keep the score close and it certainly didn’t create a situation where an upset had even a most remote possibility.

“Coach told me if the shot was open, take it and it was open a lot tonight,” senior T.J. Smith pointed out after he paced his Wildcat teammates to a 72-45 rout of the visitors from Bledsoe County. “I’m sure they knew enough about us to try and keep the game slowed down, and tonight we just hit every three-point shot we threw up there.

It was one of those games where when you hit one, you have to try another and then another, and the more they fall, the more you want to shoot.”

Smith connected on five three-pointers on the night, and his teammates poured in 10 more. On the night, Livingston’s three-point baskets accounted for the total points for the visitors. In addition, the Wildcats hit just 12 field goals, three short of their 3-point goals.

“I think I had six threes once,” the easy going Smith recalled after the game.

“Tonight they (Bledsoe) stayed back and we just kept shooting. Those kind of nights are fun from a shooting angle, but I also believe we played pretty good defense as well. Overall, I think we had a pretty good game.”

As far as head coach Richard Melton was concerned, his team did what it had to do to win and actually didn’t realize his Cats had lit up the scoreboard with so may three-pointers.

“I didn’t know how many we had,” the coach smiled after the game. “Oh, that many,?” when informed it was 15. “Well, I knew they kept going in and I told the players to take the shots if they were there and apparently they did what I said. We shoot well here anyway so it was a good game from that standpoint. I also felt we did a good job on defense tonight. When we put pressure on the ball, it gave them (Bledsoe) trouble.”

On the night, aside from Smith’s five threes, Mason Ramsey, Kailen Melton, and Jake Huitt each added a pair of long balls while Kendall Melton, Colby Reeder, and Adam Wilson each accounted for one.

Twelve of Bledsoe’s 45 points also came from the three-point range as the Warriors connected on four threes.

Livingston opened the game with a basket inside by Brad Jackson then Smith hit his first three and the Cats were away and rolling. Jackson put back a missed shot seconds later followed by Kendall Melton three from the left corner. Huitt hit a pair of threes down the stretch in the initial frame and at the buzzer, LA held a commanding 19-5 lead.

Bledsoe opened the second period with a long ball basket, but Smith immediately answered with his second of the night and nothing changed. Smith went inside for his next points then followed with his third three and from that point on, it was a matter of running out the clock and getting ready for Tuesday’s match against Grundy County in Sparta.

Livingston led 45-22 at intermission thanks to additional threes by Kailen Melton and Reeder. At the break, LA had nailed 10 threes.

The onslaught continued in the third frame. Smith hit a three then Jackson exploded inside for two. Mason Ramsey hit two straight threes late in the frame and the Wildcats carried a 64-31 lead into the final period.

At that point, Melton got all his players in action. Hayden Hill and Adam Wilson closed out the three-point assault down the stretch and Heath Thompson dropped in the final LA basket to close the show.

Smith led the LA attack with 21 points while Jackson put in 10. Mason Ramsey had nine, Kailen Melton, 8, Huitt 6, Wilson 5, Reeder, Hill and Kendall Melton 3, and Thompson and Logan Ramsey with 2 each.

Livingston would then face Grundy County in the second round of the Regional Tournament in Sparta Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Grundy County clipped Cannon County, 61-59, on a last second three-point shot Saturday night to advance to the second round.

For Bledsoe County, the season ended with an 11-14 record. Livingston advances with a 26-6 mark.



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Lady Wildcats season ends in region semifinal


Mac McLeod photo
Livingston Academy’s Mallory Mahaney, #12, scrambles to gain control of the basketball in Monday night’s region semifinal game against Upperman’s Lady Bees.


Mac McLeod photo
Abby Miller moves in for a shot against Upperman.


Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Shelby Taylor is smothered by Upperman’s Lady Bees.


Mac McLeod photo
LA senior Amber Welch, #32, looks to take a shot in Monday’s semifinal region tournament game against Upperman.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Anyone who knew anything about girls basketball in Region 4 2A understood full well that the outcome of the Livingston-Upperman game, although for only a chance to advance to the championship, was in fact, the title game. The only difference was the winner moved on to the championship game and also to the sub-state while the loser went home.

It was as simple as that: either bring you’re ‘A’ game or spend the next 12 months at home looking for it. It was the game of games on the plateau and it was for all the marbles.

And it lived up to expectations. Everyone knew the two best defensive teams around were on the floor at White County Monday night and one had to be sleeping under a rock not to know just how physical this game could be. In three previous meetings this season, Livingston had won two and Upperman one. This was the one that actually counted.

As a matter of fact, over the past several years the two titans of District 8, 2A have squared off numerous times, but only once in the past four years has the results been so critical. In 2006-07 the pair clashed in the finals of the regional tournament and Upperman took a 54-37 win. Both advanced to the sub-state and the Lady Wildcats clipped McMinn and advanced to the second round of the state tournament. In 2007-08 they met in the second round and the Lady Bees won that one, 71-69, closing out the LA season.

In 2008-09, they met once again. This time in the region finals and Livingston got a 50-48 decision. Upperman stumbled on its way to the state tournament and the Lady Wildcats played in the championship game, only to lose to Gibson County.

So Monday’s meeting was nothing out of the ordinary for the two rivals and in the end, Upperman again managed to come through when it really counted, sending LA home with a 43-36 loss and the end of a 25-9 season.

And as it has been in the past, it was a duel to the wire. Actually, at some points it appeared more a football game than a non-contact basketball game. With so much on the line, it was not unusual to see bodies flying across the hardwood in desperate attempts to pull in loose balls, move in for blocks or screens and simply just to play the game like there was no tomorrow.

And there wasn’t.

Livingston reached the semi-final game with a convincing 62-50 victory over Chattanooga Christian while Upperman upended Sequatchie County on Friday night in the opening round of the regional tournament.

In that contest, the Lady Cats used Mackenzie Sells’ 25 points and Shelby Taylor’s 15 to claim the win. The game opened rather slowly for Livingston and the Lady Cats actually trailed by one, 14-13, at the end of the first period. Sells caught fire in the second frame with 11 points and at intermission, LA was on top, 29-26.

Abby Miller joined Sells and Taylor in the scoring department in the third frame and at the end of the period, LA was ahead by 15, 48-33, and pulling away.

Miller’s 10 points gave the Lady Cats a trio in double figures while Mallory Mahaney added three and Amber Welch and Samantha Maya each put in two.

Monday’s meeting saw a full house in Sparta and the only ones disappointed were the ones who didn’t enjoy a top notch basketball game. Either team could have won and either could have lost. It was that type of contest.

First period action was a strong indication of what was to follow – super defense and only critical offense. Upperman took a 9-4 lead after the first eight minutes, but Miller’s three-pointer to open the second frame was the catalyst LA would need to take a slim 19-16 halftime lead. In the period, Taylor had two critical baskets, Maya drove in the lane for two and Mahaney nailed a three.

But as expected, the Lady Bees were not going to be down long. In the third period, the two team back and forth and at the horn, it was a dead heat at 30 all.

Sells opened the final frame with a basket for the Lady Cats and at the 3:50 mark, Upperman tied it again at 32. Then, with 2:30 showing on the clock, the Lady Bees got a big three-pointer from Alyson Roberts that lit up the Upperman attack and from that point Livingston never regained the lead. With 36 seconds showing, Miller put back a missed shot to close the gap to 36-39 but Upperman hit four straight free throws to settle the issue.

Sells led the LA scoring with 15 points while Miller added 7, Taylor 6, Maya 4, Mahaney 3, and Thompson 1.

For seniors Taylor, Thompson, and Welch, it was their final game for the Lady Wildcats, but it was a successful four season as they were part of 104 victories and two trips to the state finals.

Upperman will play Cannon County for the region championship. Cannon County defeated DeKalb County 59-48 in Monday’s other semifinal game.

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Overton County News
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Livingston, Tennessee 38570
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