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Archives 02-01-2011

Sports

Kat Nigro named Scholar All-American
Win over Upperman moves Cats to 6-2 in district
Lady Cats remain perfect in district play

Kat Nigro named Scholar All-American

Kat Nigro

National Soccer Coaches Association of America selects All-America teams at every level of play.

This year Livingston Academy senior Kat Nigro received double honors in being recognized not only for her athletic excellence in soccer but also for her academic excellence. She was one of 30 players named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America Team.

Recently Nigro traveled to Baltimore, MD, to participate in the All-American award ceremony, where 1,800 were in attendance for the ceremony that consisted of college, high school, and youth athletes, coaches, and family members. She received the official All-America jacket, ring, and a trophy with certificates to be displayed at Livingston Academy.

Nigro was also honored for NSCAA Scholar All-Region Team, NSCAA High School Senior Excellence Award, and the Tennessee High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State Team. She is the first soccer player from Livingston Academy to receive the All-America, All-Region, and Senior Excellence awards.



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Win over Upperman moves Cats to 6-2 in district

Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Kailen Melton puts everything he has into every play and here the Wildcat senior gives a valiant effort to put up a shot despite being blocked by a DeKalb County player.

Mac McLeod photo
Upperman’s Chris Nash finds himself in a “Ramsey Sandwich” against Livingston Academy’s big men, Logan, # 00, and Mason, #25, Ramsey. The Ramseys won this mismatch and the Wildcats avenged an early season loss with an 8 point win.

Mac McLeod photo
Livingston’s Jake Huitt, #1, brings the ball around the corner and heads for the basket in last Friday’s game with Upperman. Huitt scored 6 points in the Livingston win.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Before Friday’s big game with Upperman, Livingston Academy’s Colby Reeder had one thing on his mind: to be better than the last time the two rivals met earlier in January. In that meeting, the Bees soundly whipped the Wildcats and Reeder and his teammates hadn’t forgotten it.

“I’ll guarantee you that won’t happen tonight,” Reeder said before the game. “We’re ready and we’re going to win.”

Get in line Joe Namath and Babe Ruth, you’ve got competition.

Back in early January, there was a lot going on in the LA basketball camp that included a new coach, several losses in holiday tournaments, and an overall feeling of searching for who they were. For several years the Wildcats were breezing through games, tough and easy and now it was getting harder.

When they tangled with the Bees that night in Baxter, it didn’t take long to see that it wasn’t going to be pretty and there would have to be a lot of soul searching if the Cats were to return to their place as the dominating factor in District 8, 2A basketball.
When the final buzzer sounded that night, Upperman had soundly whipped its rival Livingston by 18 points. It also marked the start of two straight district losses by an LA team, something that hadn’t happened in five years.

Friday the Cats had only one thing on their minds – get this done and done tonight.
When it was over, they had done exactly what they said they would do and did it to the tune of 51-43.

“I wouldn’t lie to you,” Reeder laughed in the dressing room after the game. “I told you before the game we would win. That mess in Baxter earlier was one of those games where nothing goes right and you do everything wrong to make it look horrible. We knew what we had done and we knew what we needed to do tonight. This was much better.”

Much like the girls team, the Wildcats were playing their third game of the week and all three were key to any chance of repeating as district champs. First there was a makeup game with a much improved Cannon County team and a scheduled meeting with a tough DeKalb County squad. Earlier the Cats had defeated DeKalb but had yet to face a Cannon County that was 16-7 overall and 4-1 in district play.

In the game with Cannon County, Livingston had to fight and fight hard for every point it got. In the end, it would take a key basket by Jake Huitt with only 50 seconds remaining to put LA on top then free throws by Reeder, Mason Ramsey, and Logan Ramsey to take the win, 75-71.

“Nothing comes easy to us,” head coach Jimmy Miller would laugh after the game.

“We have to fight for everything we get, which tells me the district is much better balanced this year and we’re still looking for some things that will make us more consistent. “

It got a little better on Tuesday night when the Cats hosted the Tigers from Smithville. Three LA players, Mason Ramsey, Jake Huitt, and Brock McCoin all hit double figures in a 71-54 victory.

Livingston took a slim 10-9 lead in the first period and led by five, 30-25, at intermission. In the second half, the Cats took the driver’s seat, reaching out to a 56-43 lead, on three-pointers by Huitt, McCoin, Kailen Melton, and Logan Beaty. From that point on, the outcome wasn’t in doubt.

McCoin and Huitt each had 17 points in the game and Mason Ramsey had 12.

Logan Ramsey was good for 8 points and Reeder and Beaty each added 7. With the win, LA moved it record to 14-10 overall and 5-2 in the district, good enough for a tie with Smith County and Cannon County for the top spot.

Now it was time to focus on Upperman. With the season winding down and only three district games remaining, winning is critical if the Cats intend to repeat as league champs.

“We are aware of that and know what we have to do,” Logan Ramsey would say after the game. “We’re the district champs and we want to continue being the champs. Upperman was tough tonight but we knew they would be. Nothing is easy, but I think we are up to the challenge.”

It certainly wasn’t easy Friday. After racing out to an impressive 13-1 lead to get things started before a packed house, the Cats allowed the Bees to actually take the lead, 16-13, at the end of the first period. In the final two minutes of the period, the Bees hit three straight three-pointers.

Then with 6:10 remaining in the half, Mason Ramsey nailed a big three-pointer of his own and LA was within two, 22-20. Minutes later Reeder would connect on a three-pointer and Mason Ramsey would wind up the period with another three and at intermission, the Cats had clawed their way back to the top, 24-22.

By the end of the third period, Livingston had increased the margin to 4, 38-34 then it was time to make the stretch run.

Upperman pulled to within one early in the final 8 minutes, but field goals from McCoin and Huitt put the home team up 42-39 with a little over 4 minutes remaining. Melton then nailed a three and in the final minute McCoin went to the foul line for two more.

With 30 seconds showing, Upperman got back to within 4 at 47-43. McCoin was fouled and went to the line where he missed the front end of a one and one, but recovered the rebound and put it back up. That would seal the outcome.

“Man, I can’t believe I missed that first one,” McCoin would say after the game, “but it bounced right back to me so I got lucky on that.”

Mason Ramsey had 17 points to lead LA while Logan Ramsey added 10, McCoin 8, Huitt 6, and Melton and Reeder 5 each.

Livingston hits the road this week, traveling to Jackson County tonight, Tuesday, Feb. 1 seeking revenge for an earlier 71-48 whipping, then moves to Woodbury to face Cannon County in a big district game.

The Wildcats stand at 15-10 on the season and 6-2 in the district.





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Lady Cats remain perfect in district play

Mac McLeod photo
When Abby Miller goes for a loose ball, she doesn’t care how many opponents are there. Miller and at least three DeKalb players go for the ball and the LA forward eventually comes away with it.

Mac McLeod photo
When it comes to push and shove, Livingston’s Samantha Maya knows how to get the job done, moving a Cannon County player aside during the Monday, Jan. 24 game.

Mac McLeod photo
LA senior Mackenzie Sells, center, is presented a plaque for being nominated to the 2011 McDonald’s All-American basketball team. Presenting the plaque are Jennifer Crouch, right, and Thomas Daniels of the McDonald’s franchise in Algood. The final roster of 24, selected from 1,500 nominees nationwide, will be named February 10 at 4:30 pm CST on ESPNU. The All-American basketball game will be played March 30 in Chicago at 5:30 pm. and air live on ESPNU.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Back in early January, District 8, 2A rivals Livingston Academy and Upperman tangled in Baxter and it took a last-second shot from LA’s Kayla Williams to settled the outcome. The second time around things changed somewhat and it boiled down to one thing: defense.

With a one-point decision, it was still a question of which team was the best, but Lady Wildcat coach Lesley Riddle had an ace in the hole when the two teams met for the second time Friday night – Mallory Mahaney.

Several weeks back, when talking about the difference in the teams, etc., Riddle made no bones about the fact that in order to beat Upperman you had to stop hot shooter Kayla Biles and she knew exactly how to do it.

“When we played in early January, Mallory was still injured and didn’t play,” Riddle explained. “I think she’s the only player around that can defend Biles. We’ll see
when we play the next time.

Well, the next time came Friday night in Livingston and when it was all over, the Lady Wildcats walked off the court with a decisive 11-point, 46-35, decision and Biles, who had 27 points in the first meeting, only managed 13 this time around.

For the shy Mahaney, it was perhaps one of the best games in her career and certainly one of her most impressive defensive performances.

“I don’t know about that,” the senior guard said after the game. “I knew Biles would be mine to defend and I looked forward to it, but I got a lot of help from Tori (Stocking ) and Kayla (Williams). If Biles got away from me, one of those two would pick her up. It was a good game for us tonight and it was a really great total team effort. Everyone knew what they wanted to do and everyone did it tonight. It’s been a really tough 10 or so days and we were getting tired, but against Upperman, you bring your best effort and tonight, I thought we did just that.”

“Exactly” as the young people like to say these day. Mahaney had in a short paragraph, summed up the game and the week.

For Livingston, the long tough week plus started in Clarkrange a week back. The Lady Buffalos are one of the top single A programs in the state and for the second time this season, Livingston went to “their place” and won.

Then on Monday night, it was a make-up game against the team many considered the top program in the district this season, Cannon County. Despite the fact Cannon had their program derailed somewhat by Upperman twice the week before, it was not a secret that coach Michael Dodgen would like nothing better than to beat his old friend Riddle.

Riddle’s Lady Wildcats would have none of that as they completely controlled the game from start to finish and sent the Lady Lions home with a 20-point, 59-39, whipping.

“That was probably the best game we’ve played this season,” Riddle would say after the win. “This team knew what it wanted to do and did it just like we planned. Right now we’re playing really well. I hope it continues.”

The following night a revived DeKalb County came to Livingston and throughout the entire game it was obvious the Lady Wildcats weren’t totally in the game. When it was over, every team player would confess it wasn’t their best effort.

“We were horrible tonight,” senior Samantha Maya would say. “That was really ugly.”

It probably was. Livingston led 15-9 at then end of the first period, but was up by only 5, 21-16, at intermission. While everyone in the gym was wondering when the “real” team would start playing, it continued to be a struggle. At the end of the third period LA led by 6, 37-31, then managed to hold on for a 45-38 win.

“We don’t want to talk about this one,” Riddle said after the game. “I think the kids are simply worn out right now and need a couple days rest. We’ve got a few days to rest up then it will be another tough one with Upperman.”

Against DeKalb, Mackenzie Sells led the way with 11 points, Abby Miller and Tori Stocking each had 8, Williams 6, Maya 4, Mahaney 3, and Heather Cravens 2. The win left the Lady Cats with an impressive 21-3 overall mark and more importantly, a perfect 5-0 mark in the district.

Now it was time for the big showdown with the Lady Bees. Livingston was in a familiar spot atop the district standings while Upperman one game behind at 6-1. A Lady Wildcats win would almost assure them no worse than a regular season tie for the title and a loss for Upperman would almost assure them of no better than second place.

And none of that really matter to the players. It was Upperman and every player in the blue and white simply wanted a win and one better than the one earlier.

“Tonight we played really good,” Sells would say after the game. “We knew how big the game was. It always is with them (Upperman). We kinda felt like we wanted to prove that the first game wasn’t a fluke and think we pretty much did that tonight.

Mallory (Mahaney) really did a job on Biles and as a team, it was a total team effort.”
After falling behind 2-0 to start the game, the Lady Cats never trailed. Sells,

Mahaney, Maya, and Miller all scored in the period and LA took a 15-11 first period lead. Things settled down in the second period as each team developed its strategy.

Only 13 points was scored in the period, 8 by Livingston and 5 by Upperman. At intermission, LA held a 23-16 lead.

Then in the third frame, the Lady Cats got down to serious business. Miller opened the period with a driving field goal and Stocking nailed a 3-pointer to move LA out by 10, 28-18. Upperman closed to within 8 on two occasions, but LA would respond, first by Sells then by Miller and going into the final frame, Livingston was on top by 10, 36-26.

Chezney Hammock opened the final period with a basket then the Lady Cats started burning time off the clock, going more than a minute a possession without shooting.

When they did shoot, it usually resulted in points. Williams nailed a three midway through the period and added a field goal to put the outcome out of doubt.

In the final 20 seconds, Upperman, knowing it was beat, simply stopped playing.

“That was great defense,” Riddle pointed out after the game. “Our offense was structured and our defense was extremely strong. Mallory did exactly what we felt like she could do and did it well (defending Biles). There was a lot of pride out there tonight,” the coach concluded.

Sells led the LA scoring with 12, Miller added 11, Maya had six, Mahaney, Williams and Stocking each added 5, and Hammock dropped in 2.

LA now boasts a 23-3 overall mark and still remains perfect in the district at 7-0. This week the Lady Cats are on the road, first in Gainsboro to try and get revenge for an earlier heartbreaking loss to Jackson County, then will travel to Cannon County for a rematch that could decide the final standings in the district.



 

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