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Archives 02-08-2011

Sports

Maxwell racks up accolades in 2009, 2010 karting seasons
Kat Nigro signs with UNC-Chapel Hill
LA exorcises Blue Devils, takes claims 1st with win over Lions
Mahaney takes sizzle out of Sissom as LA wins at Woodbury

Maxwell racks up accolades in 2009, 2010 karting seasons



Lyndon Johnson photo
Justin Maxwell of Hilham poses with trophies he won during the 2009 and 2010 kart racing seasons. He finished 2009 with a Junior Sportsman I track championship at Dumplin Valley Raceway in Kodak and a 5th place finish in Junior Sportsman I Champ at the O’Reilly Kart Nationals in Batesville, MS. With six feature wins, Maxwell finished the 2010 season with a class championship in Junior Sportsman I Lite and a 2nd place finish in Junior Sportsman Champ in the Tennessee Dirt Karting Association statewide points series.

Maxwell is the son of Billy Joe Maxwell, Jr. and Louann Maxwell of Hilham. He is the grandson of Billy and Villa Maxwell and Amma Brown and the late Theo Brown.



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Kat Nigro signs with UNC-Chapel Hill

courtesy of Liz Nigro
On hand for the signing are, seated from left, her sisters, Stormy Nigro and Barbara Nigro, Kat Nigro, her father, Tony Nigro, standing from left, Coach Bobby Gore, of A.H. Roberts Elementary, Karen Ledbetter of A.H. Roberts Elementary, Rev. Dee M. Wells of First Christian Church, Livingston Academy Soccer Coach Ethan King, and Coach Hans Hobson of Brentwood Soccer Club & Olympic Development Program.

Livingston Academy’s Kathryn “Kat” Nigro, daughter of Tony and Liz Nigro, had a choice to play soccer for some of the big colleges – UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, Boston, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Stanford, UCLA, UT, Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame. On Christmas Eve 2009, she decided to attend and play soccer at The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

She had to wait until Wedndesday, Feb. 2, 2011, “National Letter of Intent- Signing Day”, for UNC to extend her a scholarship offer and her decision was immediate and finally became official. Nigro signed her National Letter of Intent at Livingston Academy, where she was joined by her family, friends, past and present coaches, school administrators, teachers, and classmates.

Nigro will enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill for the fall semester 2011 and begin her pursuit of a degree in the medical field. In doing so, she also agreed to continue her soccer career joining the most successful program in college athletics. The Tar Heels Women Soccer program, headed by Coach Anson Dorrance, has won a record 20 NCAA national championships.

When asked about her decision, Nigro said “It has been my dream since the third grade. I have been blessed by God with this opportunity, I hope to contribute to the UNC team, the program, and the school.”

She will be playing on the same field and for the same coach as Cindy Parlow, Mia Hamm, April Heinrichs, Kristine Lilly, Carla Overbeck, and Heather O’Reilly. UNC and Coach Dorrance have produced more World Cup and Women Professional League soccer players than any other coach in the history of college soccer.



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LA exorcises Blue Devils, takes claims 1st with win over Lions

Mac McLeod photo
With his eyes on the net and his body flying through the air, LA’s Jake Huitt looks for a basket against Jackson County. Huitt and his teammates came from behind to clip the Blue Devils.

Mac McLeod photo
Kailen Melton goes up against two Jackson County defenders and makes 2 of his game-high 24 points in the Wildcat victory.

Mac McLeod photo
Livingston’s Logan Beaty, #42, beats his defender around the corner in last week’s game at Jackson County. Beaty would nail a big 3-pointer in the game that would spark an LA comeback.


By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

When Jimmy Miller took over the head coaching position at Livingston Academy back in early December, the once powerful Wildcats were a slumping 3-6 and had just been handed a humiliating 71-48 thrashing from Jackson County. As the “Cable Guy” would say – “That’s not too good.”

But over the course of the next 18 games, the Cats have responded to Miller and his staff and last week got some “payback” with a 64-57 win over Jackson County then solidly nailed down their sixth straight District 8, 2A championship with a sound 69-57 win over Cannon County. Both games were on the road.

“We’ve gone through some hard times,” Miller admitted after Friday’s win, “but these kids have responded to the challenge, they have refused to lose and they have been, if nothing else, very exciting to watch. I’m so proud of each and every one of them and for their effort.”

With only one regular season game remaining (York at Livingston Friday night), the Wildcats have recovered from that early season record to now stand at 17-10 overall and 7-2 in league play. Regardless of how the York contest turns out, LA will be the league champs.

“The way I understand it,” Miller added, “is even a loss to York would put us in a tie with Cannon County, and since we’ve beaten them twice, we get the title.”

Regardless of how it turns out, the struggle to hoist the championship trophy has been one the players will long remember. It wasn’t a forgone conclusion to start with as it has been in recent seasons and it was paid for by hard practice, confidence battles and a sheer desire to prove a point.

“When we lost to Smith County and then let Upperman whip us I think this team had to answer some questions. I really believe those two losses helped us find the direction in which we wanted to go,” Miller continued. “It wasn’t the first time they had lost but it was the first time in a long time that they had lost so close to home.

But, as good teams and good players do, they looked at those games and decided it was time to start making some changes.

“We had different players on different nights step up and take charge. One night it was Mason (Ramsey) then it might be Logan (Ramsey). Kailen (Melton) hit a shooting slump but kept working and working and finally, he came out of it and has really been instrumental in several of these last big wins. Then one night Jake (Huitt) would get hot then Logan Beaty. Brock (McCoin) made some big plays down the stretch and Colby (Reeder) has been steady in there playing his heart out on defense.

“I guess what I’m saying is nobody quit. Everybody went through some difficult times, but they proved to be bigger than the problems. That’s not only the mark of good teams, it’s the mark of fine young people facing tough times and coming through.

“I can’t say enough about these kids and we’re just going to try and keep on playing like we have. The one thing no one can ever say about us is ‘we’re boring’ cause we are anything but boring. We have had to come back time after time in the final minutes to win and that also says a lot about the team.”

When Livingston and Jackson County clashed back on December 7, the Wildcats got off to a bad start and in the second half all of the starters sat on the bench watching their teammates absorb one of LA’s biggest defeats in recent history. This time around it wasn’t as bad, but it had the appearance of a similar repeat performance.

Jackson County took a one-point 11-10 first period lead then stretched it out to 27-19 at intermission. It didn’t look too good for the Blue and White. Even the LA girls, one of the state’s top teams, had been handed defeat earlier in the night.

In the final seconds of the third period, Melton made a steal and a lay-up to cut the Blue Devils’ lead to six, 40-34. Livingston now had 8 minutes to prove the loss earlier in the season was possibly a fluke.

Jackson County opened the final frame with a three-pointer but Melton answered with a three, but the Cats just couldn’t close the gap. For every basket they made, the Devils would counter.

Then, with four minutes to play, McCoin hit a field goal and Melton added another and suddenly the Cats were within two at 48-46. Mason Ramsey then hit a free throw and with 3:25 remaining, Melton nailed a big basket to finally put Livingston on top, 49-48.

“Along about here, we’re through coaching and it’s up to the players,” Miller would laugh later, “and they did exactly what they were supposed to do.”

Melton found the range again and Mason Ramsey followed with an ole timey three, a field goal and a free throw. There were three minutes left on the clock and LA led by four, 54-50.

Jackson County refused to fold and the Devils came back to knot the score at 54.Then down the stretch, Melton, Huitt, and MCoin made the points and the team played top notch defense.

Melton had one of his best nights of the season, scoring 24 points. McCoin added 13, Mason Ramsey 11, Huitt 6, Logan Ramsey 4, and Reeder 3.

With Jackson County out of the way, the Cats turned their attention to Cannon County and the possibility of nailing down their sixth straight league crown. It took some doing late, but in the end, LA won the game and the title.

After leading early, Livingston went on a scoring slump in the third frame and the Lions outscored the Wildcats 18-5 and took a 43-38 lead into the final 8 minutes. But as they had done Tuesday night against the Blue Devils, the Cats never quit and a well balanced shooting attack finally prevailed. LA outscored the home team 19-14 in the fourth period to post its 17th win of the season against 10 defeats.

“They really put it all together,” Miller concluded. “Cannon County is always a tough place to play, but tonight our kids refused to fold, and when you look at the scoring, it was spread all the way around and it was really good. This was a very good win for us.”

Four Wildcats hit in double figures led by Mason Ramsey with 20. Logan Ramsey had 14, Melton 13, and Huitt 12. McCoin added 6 points and Reeder 4. On the night, LA hit on 18 of 22 attempts from the foul line and Mason Ramsey nailed three 3-pointers in the first half. Melton added a pair of threes in the second half.

Livingston will close out the regular season at home Friday night then start tournament play in Sparta the following week.

 

Mahaney takes sizzle out of Sissom as LA wins at Woodbury

Mac McLeod photo
Livingston’s Mallory Mahaney, #12, moves around the pick of teammate Abby Miller, #14, and is in for a shot against Jackson County last week.

Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Samantha Maya, #33, sees a clear lane to the basket against the Lady Blue Devils on Tuesday night. With 24 points, Maya was a bright spot in Livingston’s effort.

Mac McLeod photo
The lane is open and Livingston’s Tori Stocking, #20, looks to move in for a shot in Tuesday’s game in Gainesboro.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Emily Sissom was presented a ball before Friday night’s Livingston-Cannon County game for scoring 2,000 points during her career as a Lady Lion. Good thing she got it before the game because in the big District 8, 2A contest that followed, she didn’t score a single point.

“Mallory Mahaney played the defensive game of her career,” beamed a happy LA head coach Lesley Riddle, “and she kinda felt bad about it after the game was over. Maybe she should have scored at least one.”

In a rivalry that has come close to being as big as the LA-Upperman affair, Livingston and Cannon County have squared off twice this year and on both occasions the Lady Cast have proven without a doubt which has the best team.

Upperman has also gotten the message.

Friday’s 50-45 win in Woodbury was the 24th of the season for the Lady Cats against only 4 losses, and all 4 defeats have been non-district affairs. In district play, Livingston has been all but unstoppable this season, beating every team in the league twice except York who they will face for the second time this Friday night.

The win Friday night also marked the 100th victory for the seniors on the team, a feat that has become also common for Livingston Academy girls over the past several years.

“After Jackson whipped us Tuesday night, the players decided they had better play much better at Cannon if they wanted to win the district championship,” Riddle continued. “Against Jackson County ‘Sam’ (Samantha Maya) had a great game but she didn’t get any help from her teammates. Tonight (against Cannon County) it was a total team effort. Every player that got on the floor was a totally different player than the ones that played at Jackson County.

“I think they might have figured out that the ones that didn’t count weren’t all that important anyway,” Riddle added with a smile. “Maybe they are right, but from here on out, our seniors have to lead if we expect to get anywhere. From here on out they all count.”

Tuesday’s game with Jackson County was not a pretty sight. The 65-51 whipping was the worst defeat of the season for Livingston. In three previous setbacks, the total margin was only 11 combined.

In that game, Livingston led only once when Tori Stocking’s field goal gave the Lady Cats a 15-14 lead and tied only twice. Other than those three “highlights” Livingston was simply not in the game.

After trailing 28-23 at intermission, Livingston could not get the lid off the basket as shot after shot rimmed out and bounced to a Lady Blue Devil defender. The spread was 44-38 going to the final period, then the roof really fell in as Jackson County raced away to the easy win.

“When’s the last time we’ve given up 65 points?” a disappointed LA assistant coach Lora Jones said. “We simply didn’t play any defense at all tonight and it showed.”

“Sam (Maya) just couldn’t carry the team all by herself tonight,” Riddle concluded.

In the game, Maya had 24 points and Abby Miller added 12. Mackenzie Sells could only get 4, while Kayla Williams and Mahaney each had 3 and Stocking 2.

When LA and Cannon County met several weeks ago it was a much bigger game than Friday’s contest. At the time of the first meeting, Cannon was considered the top team in the district despite two losses to Upperman. When it was over, Livingston had posted a 20-point win and there was little doubt which team was the league’s best.

Also, regardless of the outcome of the game, the Lady Wildcats were still going to finish ahead of the Lady Lions in regular season play and with two wins already over Upperman, Livingston had the title wrapped up.

All that being said, it was still a big game for both teams and when the dust had settled, there was no doubt which was the better team.

Cannon County led at the end of the first period by two, 14-12 but trailed by two, 25-23, at intermission.

Mahaney also had some offense in her game plan and started the third period with a field goal to up the lead to four. Two free throws by Maya and a field goal by Sells late in the frame gave the Lady Cats a 38-32 lead heading to the final 8 minutes of play.

In the final period, Mahaney kept the pressure on Sissom and her teammates hit the cords for 12 points that proved good enough for the 5-point win.

Sells got back to her scoring ways in the game, leading all scorers with 18 points, including two 3-pointers. Maya added 12 markers, including a perfect 6-6 night from the foul line. Miller had 8 points, Stocking and Mahaney 4 each, and Allison Dailey and Williams were good for 2 each.

On the night, Livingston hit 10 of 11 tried from the foul line while Cannon County could only make 12 of 21 attempts.

“It wasn’t a perfect week for us, but all in all it was a good one,” Riddle concluded.

“You always want to beat Jackson County simply because of who they are and how good their program is, but its more important to win in the district and that’s what we did.

“At Cannon County, we got good efforts from everyone. Mallory, like I said, played the best defensive game of her career in holding Sissom to no points and while she was getting a break Allison (Dailey) or Tori and Kayla were very strong against her. Abby got back on her game and showed much better hustle and Sam (Maya) was perfect from the foul line. Mac (Mackenzie Sells) put Jackson County behind her and had a really good game, so all in all, things worked out well.

“I was glad to see this group get its 100th win and now we can get a little time off, play York Friday then get ready for the tournament.”

Livingston will host York Friday night then move to Sparta next week for district tournament action.

 

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