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Archives 03-10-2010


Sports

Cats win third straight region championship
Parkway hosts boys’ basketball team
Cats’ season ends in double OT sub-state

Cats win third straight region championship


Mac McLeod photo
Livingston Academy’s Wildcats won the Region 4-AA Championship, 67-60, over York.


Mac McLeod photo
Logan Ramsey stepped up to help LA to another title.


Mac McLeod photo
Mason Ramsey fights to control the ball in the physical championship game against York Institute.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

As a freshman last season on a Livingston Academy team loaded with talented seniors, Logan Ramsey probably felt like a button in a snowstorm – lost and looking for help. This season, the 6-9 center has steadily improved until he has found his way into the Wildcats’ regular rotation and has responded well.

Thursday night at the White County gym, in the finals of the Region 4 tournament against rival York Institute, Ramsey was forced to step up when his younger brother, freshman Mason, turned an ankle early in the third period. Down the stretch he scored six vital points and pulled in a handfull of rebounds to help the Wildcats capture a third straight regional championship, 67-60, over the Dragons.

“I really wanted to find a place for him against Grundy County (opening round Monday night) but the game stayed so close it just didn’t happen,” Melton explained after the game. “Tonight, he had to play and he played well.

What a time to come through. I’m so proud of him as I am of this entire team. We had two very tough games this week and the team responded to both occasions. It shows a lot of maturity and they deserved to win.”

“I really didn’t have much of a choice,” the likeable sophomore grinned in the dressing room after the game. “Mason got hurt and it was my job to get in and play hard. I really had fun out there, and it’s great being on a team with all this talent.

Everybody stepped up this week and played their hearts out.”

As it was Logan’s turn to shine on Thursday night, on Tuesday, senior Kendall Melton had perhaps the best game of his four-year career. The scrappy forward knocked down six critical points spread through the first three periods, then pounded the boards for big rebounds down the stretch when the outcome could have gone either way.

“That was a tough game,” Melton pointed out, “but it was fun. Winning close games is really what it’s all about and Grundy came to play and we did too. It was pretty physical, but that was okay with me. I just had fun out there and that’s about all I can say about it. “

With the exception of a close 79-73 win over now Vanderbilt standout, John Jenkins and his Station Camp teammates in 2008, Livingston has breezed through the regionals with ease both last year and this year. The Wildcats pounded Goodpasture 62-43 and White House 70-52 in 08, then came back last year thrashing DCA, 65-46, DeKalb, 68-41, and Upperman for the title, 75-46.

Following the titles in both years, the Wildcats went on to victories in the sub state then lost in the opening rounds of the state tournament in Murfreesboro. Realignment this year appears to have made the road to the state tournament a little tougher.

Grundy County was the first opponent to stand in the way for the Cats and a return
trip to the state playoffs and little was known of the Yellow Jackets. It didn’t take long to find out they were a very physical team that knew how to play.

Jake Huitt got things rolling for LA with a three-pointer to start the show and Mason Ramsey added to the score. Huitt made it 6-2 early, but 7 straight points to close the frame by Grundy put the Jackets on top, 18-12, heading into the second period.

In the second eight minutes, Kendall Melton took a pair of charges and scored once to aid the LA cause and Brad Jackson’s five points kept things from getting out of hand. At intermission, Livingston had closed to within 3 at 30-27, but poor shooting from the Cats left the outcome totally in doubt.

T.J. Smith, one of the all-time clutch players for Livingston Academy, came through again as the senior nailed a three-pointer to open the third period, then added eight more points throughout the frame to knot the score at 46 going into the final eight minutes.

Things couldn’t get any closer in the final period as each team answered the other’s basket time after time. Jackson knotted the score at 52 with five minutes remaining, then put the Wildcats ahead for good, 54-52, less than a minute later with a strong basket inside. Mason Ramsey made a lay-up with 4:10 showing and Smith nailed a field goal at the 2:40 mark to put LA up, 58-52.

From then on things got a little rough. Forced to foul to have any attempt to get the ball back, Grundy County turned routine fouls into muggings. With 1:00 remaining in the game, Jackson went to line twice and Mason Ramsey once only to miss the front end of a one and one. In the meantime, Grundy nailed a three to make it a 58-57 game with eight seconds to go.

Then the Jackets made a fatal mistake. They fouled Smith and the cool senior walked
to the line and nailed a pair of free throws for the final 60-57 margin of victory. Only seven seconds remained.

Smith led the LA attack with 23 big points followed by 13 from Jackson, 11 from Mason Ramsey, seven from Huitt, and six from Kendall Melton.

Thursday’s championship game marked the third time this season Livingston and York have clashed. In regular season District 8, 2A competition, the Wildcats won, 62-53, at home and took a 70-63 decision in Jamestown. Both games were close and both had every right to expect a win in the regional contest.

But things just didn’t start out good for the Dragons. Mason Ramsey connected on a
three-pointer just 10 seconds into the game and following a pair of free throws by Jackson, added another three. Huitt then nailed a long range shot and by the end of the period, Livingston had moved out to a 22-15 lead.

And that was only the beginning. In the second period just about everything Livingston threw at the basket went in and under the defensive boards, Jackson, Logan and Mason Ramsey were grabbing every rebound. In the period, LA outscored York, 16-7 and held a commanding 38-23 lead at intermission.

Kailen Melton finally got LA going in the third period as the Cats cooled off considerably and his three-pointer moved the advantage to 41-27. Moments later, at the 4:30 mark, Mason Ramsey suffered his injury and Logan immediately went in the lane for a field goal. He had four more points in the period, but a three-pointer at the buzzer fired York back into the game. LA led at the point, 51-39.

With Mason on the bench, and Livingston missing more shots than it was making, the Dragons made a final charge. They would get as close as three points, but the strength of the Wildcats just proved too much.

Kailen Melton led the Livingston scoring with 14 points while Jackson was good for 12, Mason Ramsey 11, Logan Ramsey 10, Smith 8, Huitt 7, and Kendall Melton 5.

After the game, the All-Tournament team was announced with Jackson, Kailen Melton, and Smith being named to the squad. Mason Ramsey was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and it is believed to mark the first time a freshman has received the award.

Livingston’s Mackenzie Sells and Shelby Taylor were named to the girls’ all-tournament team as well.

 

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Parkway hosts boys’ basketball team


Parkway Resturant hosted the Livingston Academy Boys' Basketball team to a meal on Saturday, March 6 in honor of this year's accomplishments and to wish them good luck in upcoming games.


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Cats’ season ends in double OT sub-state

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Last year when Livingston Academy’s boys basketball team went to the state playoffs, it marked the first time in nine tries that the Wildcats had made the trip in back to back seasons. Monday night, after another outstanding season and a 28-6 mark, the Cats came up two points short of a third straight trip to Murfreesboro.

And the double-overtime outcome against Howard of Chattanooga, 73-71, was a fitting performance by both squads for the coveted prize at the end. Howard, the second place team in Region 3, 2A, now moves on to the state finals next week with a 26-4 record while the Wildcats start looking forward to next season with much the same anticipation as they had at the start of this one.

Livingston got off to a slow start against the Tigers, committing seven turnovers in the first eight minutes and falling behind as much as 11-2 in the early going. Mason Ramsey put back bucket came at the 5:00 mark, the first points for LA on the night. With put backs from Logan Ramsey, a field goal from T.J. Smith and a three-pointer from Mason Ramsey over the haul, the Cats pulled to within four, 17-13 , at the end of the first period.

Brad Jackson went inside to get LA off on the right foot in the second period, and Smith’s first three of the night at the 6:20 mark knotted the score at 18. From that point until the final buzzer of the night, neither team got more than five points away from the challenger.

At intermission, the game was tied at 34.

Howard ran off the first five points of the third period to take a 39-34 lead, but again LA came back on baskets from Jackson and the Ramsey brothers. Jake Huitt’s three with 35 seconds remaining pulled LA to within two at 43-41 going into the final frame.

Mason Ramsey drew his fourth personnel foul to start the fourth period and that
situation hampered Livingston’s game plan, but the big freshman managed to hang on for the remainder of regulation play and all the way to the 1:43 mark of the second overtime.

Meanwhile, the two teams went back and fourth until the Tigers grabbed a 50-45 lead with 2:41 remaining in regulation. Smith cut the lead to three then Logan Ramsey cut it to one, 50-49. With 26 seconds showing, Mason Ramsey hit one of two free throws to make it a 51-50 game then Logan Ramsey walked to the line with a mere six seconds left and missed his first try. With all eyes of a full house watching, the cool sophomore nailed the second free throw and regulation play ended in a deadlock, 51-51.

With 2:52 showing in the first overtime, Mason Ramsey nailed a three-pointer to give LA a 56-53 lead and at that point, it looked as if the Cats had grabbed the momentum and could pull out the win.

Then, a minute later, the Tigers produced a three of their own. The game was tied at 56. Free throws gave the visitors a 59-57 lead with less than 20 seconds showing, but Kailen Melton bulled his way inside for a layup to knot the score at 59 and force a second overtime.

In the second overtime, Howard attempted 10 free throws and connected on nine and
that spelled the difference in the outcome. T.J. Smith hit the last shot of his career at Livingston Academy and it turned out to be his trademark shot – a three-pointer.

On the night, Livingston made 15 turnovers while Howard had 19. In the free throw department, the Wildcats were 16 of 26 while the Tigers nailed 27 of 37.

The loss ended the careers of the four senior Wildcats, Smith, Jackson , Kendall Melton, and Adam Wilson.

Smith paced the Wildcats with 21 points while Mason Ramsey added 18 and Logan Ramsey put back 12. Jake Huitt was good for seven points while Jackson had five, and Kendall and Kailen Melton each contributed four.



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