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Archives 02-22-2011

Sports

Lady Cats win tournament championship
Wildcats upset by DeKalb County
Lady Cats advance to District Tournament championship game
Smith inducted into APSU Hall of Fame

 

Lady Cats win tournament championship

Mac McLeod photo
Livingston Academy’s Lady Wildcats won the District 8-AA Tournament championship with a come-from-behind 55-52 win over Cannon County’s Lady Lions on Monday night.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

For the longest time Monday night, it appeared the third time would be the charm for the Cannon County Lionettes against the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats, but a torrid second half by LA that closed a 14-point intermission deficit saw the regular season champs take the district tournament title 55-52 in one of the finest played games of the season by either team.

The victory by Livingston marked the first time since 2004 that the Lady Cats had won the tournament title. That mark will be included in a season where LA posted a perfect regular season 10-0 district record and the first outright title since 2001.

And it didn’t come easy. After defeating Cannon County twice in the regular season, once by 20 points and again 5, Livingston opened the contest at the White County High School gym in Sparta like it was going to be a runaway game. The Lady Cats took an early 8-0 lead on the 100 percent shooting of Abby Miller, Samantha Maya, Mackenzie Sells, and Maya again.

At that point, Cannon Coach Michael Dodgen called time-out, settled his team down then watched as the Lady Lions roared ahead and took a 13-12 lead at the end of the period.

In the second period, Emily Sissom nailed a three-pointer to get things started and Cannon was ahead 16-12. Sells and Miller answered to knot the score at 16, but from that point on, Cannon went on a tear, racing out to a 22-10 run and holding a 14 point, 38-24, lead at the half.

It looked as if it would be yet another year before LA would wear the tournament crown.

But as LA coach Lesley Riddle has said all along: ”It was time for the seniors to step up.”

And step up they did. Sells opened with an old timey three-pointer followed by six straight points by Maya. Sells then hit a field goal and a three-pointer followed by a putback by Miller and when the final period started, Livingston trailed by only six points, 46-40. LA had outscored the Lionettes 16-8 in the frame.

And it only got better for the almost packed house of Lady Lion and Lady Wildcat fans.

When it got underway, Livingston wasted four straight trips down the floor with the ball coming away with no points. Maya put a stop to the run with a basket with just under 6 minutes remaining to cut the lead to four, 46-42. Maya then added a pair of free throws and Miller added one. Maya then went inside and dropped home a big field goal that put the Cannon lead to one, 48-47 with 3:10 showing on the clock.

Both teams made unforced errors with just under 2 minutes left, LA with a walk and Cannon with a back court infraction. Maya then got her chance, went inside and slammed home a basket that finally got the Lady Cats on top for the first time since the opening minutes of the game, 49-48. She added a free throw and now there was less than 40 seconds showing and Cannon was forced to foul.

They chose the wrong player to send to the charity stripe. In the final 32 seconds, Mallory Mahaney went to the line for six shots and made five of them. The final two came with just two seconds remaining and LA up by a single point, 53-52, at the time.

“It’s tournament time and our seniors realized it,” Riddle would say after the game.

“It was a great championship game by both teams, but I think our seniors made the difference. We were down, but knew what we had to do to come back and did it.”

Maya led the Livingston scoring with 21 points. Sells followed with 18 and 10 rebounds, Miller had 9, Mahaney 5, and Taylor Meadows 2. Chezney Hammock, Kayla Williams, Tori Stocking, and Allison Dailey saw action throughout the game but did not score.

Four Livingston players – Miller, Maya, Mahaney, and Sells – were all named to the All-Tournament Team and Sells was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Livingston will return home Friday night to play Bledsoe County in the opening round of the regional tournament. Game time is 7 p.m. Cannon County will host Sequatchie County while Upperman will travel to Chattanooga Christian and Smith County will be at Grundy County in opening round regional games. All will be played Friday at their respective sites beginning at 7 p.m.



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Wildcats upset by DeKalb County


Mac McLeod photo
Jake Huitt, foreground, tries his best to save a ball from going out of bounds and pass it to teammate Colby Reeder.

Mac McLeod photo
LA coach Jimmy Miller tries to get a message to his team during Saturday’s game with DeKalb County.

Mac McLeod photo
LA junior Logan Ramsey, #00, takes aim and puts up a soft touch shot Saturday against DeKalb County in the District Tournament in Sparta. Ramsey led the Wildcats with 15 points, but it wasn’t enough as his team lost 64-54.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

“We played a team tonight that showed up to play and didn’t take the LA bluff. They weren’t scared and played harder than we did and at the same time, we didn’t respond.”

That was Livingston Academy head coach Jimmy Miller explaining his teams’ 64-54 defeat in the first round of the District 8, 2A tournament in Sparta Saturday afternoon at the hands of event’s fifth seeded team, DeKalb County. It was not a pretty sight and Miller was the first to admit it.

“We weren’t mentally prepared to play tonight and as hard as the coaching staff tried to point out how big this game was, some of the players just didn’t realize it,” Miller continued. “That lack of mental toughness in the second half cost us the game. We were tied at one point in the third period and lost by 10. We need to grow up.”

It was not hard to understand Miller’s disappointment in his team’s performance while at the same time, giving the Tigers credit for an outstanding game. After all, the Wildcats had defeated DeKalb twice during the regular season, 83-56 and 71-54 and were the number one seeded team in the tournament by virtue of winning the regular season championship, their sixth straight.

On paper, there appeared to be no way the Tigers could defeat the Wildcats, but as they always say, “this is why we play the game “.

“I cannot begin to tell you how big this is,” beamed DeKalb coach, Lynus Martin.

“We have tried to get in the league with Livingston, Upperman and Cannon and I think tonight, we finally made it.

“We believed we could win this game before we got here,” Martin added. “We accepted the challenge and the kids were just more determined tonight. They were not going to be denied and as a coach, I am just so proud of them. For us, this is really big.”

It was big and in more ways than one. For starters, DeKalb will get to the championship game against Upperman Tuesday night and will be at home for the first round of the regional tournament. On the other hand, Livingston will face Cannon County in the consolation game and will be on the road to either Dunlap (Sequatchie County) or Notre Dame in Chattanooga.

And to add to the challenges for the Cats, “We have to grow up,” Miller added.

It was apparent from the outset that the Tigers had come to play while the Cats appeared to be going through the motions, waiting for something to happen that would turn the tide. For DeKalb, they made it happen and for the Cats, it never did.

Logan Ramsey got LA off to a 2-0 lead, but by the end of the period, LA trailed 11-9 and never led again after the initial basket.

In the second period, Livingston never appeared to be able to find the basket, forcing shots and making bad shot selection to add insult to injury. On several occasions, the Cats pulled down several rebounds, but could never make a point.

Meanwhile, paced by the hot shooting of Dylan Roller, the Tigers were rolling along and were on top 26-22 at intermission. Although Livingston had a slight control of the board, (16-13) DeKalb was on top in the most important category – the score.

Early in the third frame Livingston really got sloppy, but settled down and three points by Jake Huitt cut the lead to three, 28-25. Mason Ramsey then closed it even closer with a basket, and when Colby Reeder hit a free throw with 3:45 remaining in the period, the Wildcats had finally clawed their way even at 30.

Then the roof fell in on the Cats. A technical foul on Kailen Melton sent Roller to the line and the hot shooting Tiger made three straight attempts that were added to a three-pointer he had just made and suddenly DeKalb was up 45-34 and moving away. That’s the way the final period would start with LA down by 11.

In that final frame, DeKalb continued to hold strong to the lead. With a little over six minutes remaining, Mason Ramsey drew a technical foul, his fifth, just seconds after Roller again had nailed a three-pointer. Roller wasn’t as deadly this time from the line, making one of three, but the deficit was now 51-35 and the Tigers had the ball.

They would make the next basket, and despite some strong play down the stretch when Brock McCoin would make 7 of his 13 points and Huitt and Logan Ramsey would account for 8 makers, it simply was too little too late.

“When we faced adversity, we made poor selection,” Miller would conclude.

“Tonight DeKalb came to play and we didn’t. I called Lynus after the game to congratulate him and he was just so proud of his team and he should have been.

They put out the effort it took to win the game.”

Roller and Destry Wiggins led DeKalb with a total of 43 points while Logan Ramsey led Livingston with 15. McCoin was good for 13, Huitt 9, Mason Ramsey 8, and Melton, Reeder, and Logan Beaty with 3 each.


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Lady Cats advance to District Tournament championship game

Mac McLeod photo
Although she didn’t start, Chezney Hammock, #4, had a big role in LA’s semifinal playoff win as the senior poured in 10 points.

Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Taylor Meadows, #5, drives in for a shot during Saturday’s playoff game with Smith County. Meadows came off the bench to score 8 points for the Lady Wildcats in a 71-42 victory.

Mac McLeod photo
A mad scramble for a loose ball ensues between Livingston Academy and Smith County. Going for the loose ball for LA includes Mackenzie Sells and Mallory Mahaney.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

“Playing defense is really hard,” Livingston Academy senior Mallory Mahaney explained after she and her teammates advanced to the championship game of the District 8, 2A tournament Saturday. “You have to love playing defense and I do. It takes a lot of effort to do it right and for the most part, it goes unnoticed, but maybe that’s what I like about it.”

Mahaney spent the first part of the season on the sidelines with injuries but once she got back in the lineup after the first of the year, the LA senior has put on a clinic about how you play defense in high school basketball.

“When I first came to LA, I shot a lot and had some success,” Mahaney continued.

“Then I went into a shooting slump and I think it was at that point I started concentrating on playing defense. I’m lucky in that I have teammates that can really shoot so I don’t worry about scoring. Every once in a while I take a shot and score, but I really just like playing good, hard defense.”

And that’s bad news for opponents. Already this season Mahaney held Cannon County’s Emily Sissom to zero points and before that game Sissom was honored for scoring 2,000 points during her career. She also held Upperman’s Kayla Biles to 12 points when in the first meeting between the two teams, a game in which Mahaney didn’t play, she scored 27.

Mahaney and her Lady Wildcats got a third shot at Cannon County Monday night in the championship game being played in Sparta at the White County High school gym. In two regular season meetings, LA won both encounters, once by 20 points at home and by 5 points on the road.

Cannon County reached the final game by upending Upperman 57-52 in one of Saturday’s semifinal games.

“I thought we played with a lot of intensity,” Livingston head coach Lesley Riddle pointed out after her team pounded Smith County, 71-42 . “Offensively we weren’t all that strong, but overall, it was a good game for us. We got good overall play from everybody that got on the floor and Chezney had a real good game. We have found the spot for her and she has responded. We put her in to give Abby (Miller) a break and it has worked out very well.

“It’s time for our seniors to step up and they know that,” the coach added. “From here on out, it’s about leadership and tonight, I thought we showed a lot of that.”

Samantha Maya, as has become a custom for the Lady Cats, got the scoring off early with a field goal. Smith tied the score at 2, then LA went on a tear. Mackenzie Sells scored then Miller, then Sells again then Miller again. Maya got another basket late in the period and when the buzzer sounded, Livingston was on cruise control at 14-6.

In that first 8 minutes, Livingston missed very few shots and Smith only got 10.

Defensively, LA played almost perfect.

And that continued in the second period. Again it was the scoring of Sells, Miller, and Maya, and when Chezney Hammock nailed a three-pointer with a little more than 2 minutes remaining in the half, Livingston had almost doubled the deficit, 29-15. LA would lead 35-16 at intermission.

In the second half, it was the same ole song. Miller opened the third period with a three-pointer. Maya scored the next two points then Sells hit for six straight points before Smith County broke the streak. By now it was 46-21 and it would only be a matter of time before the continuous clock started.

That happened one minute into the final period and by now Riddle had cleared her bench and Taylor Meadows, Sydney Staggs, Rachel Reeder, Marlee Sells got into the action, playing along side veterans Kayla Williams, Allison Dailey, and Tori Stocking.

“It was not my best game,” Mahaney added, “but with teammates like mine, it didn’t matter. We pressed them (Smith County) really hard and it shook them up early and they just couldn’t get in the game. Now we’ll have to play like that against Cannon County so we can come back home to play the first round of the regional tournament. Right now that’s our goal.”

Sells led the LA scoring attack with 20 points while Maya added 14 and Hammock 10. Miller was good for 9 points, Meadows 8, Stocking 4 and Staggs, Reeder and Marlee Sells with 2 each. Livingston now stands 26-4 overall on the season.

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Smith inducted into APSU Hall of Fame

Photo submitted by Leigh Smith
The Allons Lady Hawk basketball team gathers at Austin Peay State University to congratulate Coach Paige Smith on being inducted into the APSU basketball Hall of Fame. Kneeling from left are Jordan Jenkins, Katlyn Ray, Bradie Melton, Kellsey Ray, Challice Ledford, and Kassidy Gessling. Standing from left are Kayln Conner, Karli Copeland, Addy Stover, Kenzie Melton, Smith, Jameson Dailey, Chelsea Mabe, and Halie Beason. Some of the Lady Hawks are pointing to Smith’s plaque on the Hall of Fame’s wall.

Former Livingston Academy basketball player Paige Smith was inducted in to the Austin Peay State University basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 5.

Smith, who teaches P.E. and coaches basketball at Allons Elementary School, played for Austin Peay beginning in the 1999-2000 season. She would go on to become the seventh-highest all-time scorer with 1,324 points at the end of her four-season college playing career. She was also the schools second-highest ranked three-point shooter, with 243 three-pointers made. Among other stats to her credit, Smith shot free throws at 85% accuracy, was third all-time in assists at APSU with 435, and was seventh all-time in steals with 177.

“More than anything else, Smith was dependable,” said the biography in the hall of fame induction program. “She is APSU’s career record holder for starts (119) and minutes played (4,144/34 mpg).”

In her junior year, Smith would become the eighth Lady Gov in history to join the school’s 1,000 Point Club.

Smith said, “I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates, and LA supporters for their encouragement and support. I would not have received this honor if they had not continued to support me during my basketball career. I would also like to thank the Allons Lady Hawk Basketball team for traveling to Austin Peay to watch me receive the Hall of Fame plaque.”


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