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Archives 03-01-2011

Sports

Lady Cats move into championship game
Nigro named Gatorade Player of the Year
Cats quell Indian uprising in regional first round
Lady Cats take 64-30 regional win
Mackenzie Sells named Miss Basketball finalist
Special Olympics volleyball takes top spot in tournament

 

Lady Cats move into championship game
By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

If Livingston Academy supporters had had their “rathers” they would have preferred to play just about anybody other than rival Upperman. For the players, it simply didn’t matter so when the two teams squared off Monday night in Sparta in the second round of the Region 4 tournament, Upperman it was.

“Just as soon play Upperman and get them out of the tournament,” a confident Abby Miller would say following the Lady Wildcats’ win over Bledsoe County in the regional opening round game. “We beat them at their place and we beat them at our place so there’s no reason not to think we can’t beat them in Sparta.”

Miller was right on the money and Monday night, before a packed house, the Lady Cats sent their rivals home for the season with a solid 45-32 win, got some revenge for last year’s regional defeat at the hands of the Lady Bees, and moved to the final 16 in the state with a meeting Wednesday against Cannon County, a 72-49 winner over Grundy County earlier in the evening for the region title and a berth in the sub-state.

“That was fun,” Mackenzie Sells smiled after the game. “We felt like we could beat them as long as we stuck with our game plan. Our coaches told us to ‘defend your man, don’t get excited and just play the game’. We did all three of those things and we won and it was fun doing it.”

Defensively, it was a perfect game,” LA head coach Lesley Riddle stated after the win, the 29th of the season for the Lady Cats. “We got a little slap-happy at one stage of the first half, but we settled down and played great defense. Our kids simply love playing defense and it paid off again tonight.”

Upperman got on the boards first with a field goal, but LA answered with a three-pointer from Samantha Maya and would never fall behind. Maya put lay up 7-2 on a move inside and a pass from Sells. Kayla Williams found the three point range at the 1:15 mark, Maya took a pass from Miller to up the lead to 12-2 and seconds later Miller got a pass from Maya to end the quarter at 14-2.

The big news of the quarter though was the fact that Upperman’s lead scorer, Kayla Biles, was held scoreless by Mallory Mahaney.

“I firmly believe Mallory can defend any player in the state,” Livingston defensive coach Lora Jones would later say.

Sells opened the second frame with a field goal for Livingston then Upperman started to pull back in the game. Biles hit a field goal then added three free throws, but Chezney Hammock and Tori Stocking countered with three-pointers, and at intermission Livingston was in complete control, 28-13.

Going into the final 8 minutes, Livingston, playing one of its finest games of the season, both on defense and offense, led 37-22 and looking right for Cannon County and the championship game.

“We just played good, hard defense,” Maya would add after the win. “Everybody took care of business. We were confident before the game and we played that way all night. We didn’t take anything for granted, but we never got away from our game plan.”

Part of the plan was to get a lead and take the air out of the ball and that’s what happened most of the final period. Livingston played very deliberate, usually running a minute off the clock with each possession. Trailing by 15 points, Upperman didn’t have enough minutes.

Maya led the scoring for Livingston with 13 points followed by Sells with 11. Stocking ripped the cords for 8 points, Miller 5, Williams and Hammock 3 each, and Mahaney, taking a little time out from defense, hit for 2.

On the Upperman side, Biles had 20 of her team’s 32.

With the win, the Lady Wildcats are assured a spot in the sub-state. If they defeat Cannon County Wednesday night, they will be at home Saturday for the sub-state game. A loss will send them on the road. Game time Thursday is 7 p.m.

 



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Nigro named Gatorade Player of the Year

Photo submitted by Liz Nigro
Kat Nigro, center, is recognized during the first round of the Region 4-AA basketball tournament at Livingston Academy. Nigro won the 2010-11 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Congratulating her are, from left, LA soccer coach Ethan King and LA Athletic Director Shane Qualls.

In its 26th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, announced Thursday, Feb. 10 that Kat Nigro of Livingston Academy has been named as its 2010-11 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Nigro is the first Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Livingston Academy.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Nigro as Tennessee’s best high school girls soccer player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Nigro joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, NY), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo High School, MI), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central High School, IL.), Kevin Garnett (1992-93, Maudlin High School, SC), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook High School, MI.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick High School, NJ) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo High School, CA).

The 5-foot-5 senior midfielder recorded 58 goals and 27 assists this past season, leading the Wildcats (12-6-1) to the Division I A/AA sectional tournament. Also the 2009-10 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Nigro was a 2010 ESPN RISE Third-Team All-American and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America High School Scholar All-American. A four-time First Team All-State selection, Nigro concluded her prep soccer career with 163 goals and 87 assists.

Nigro has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. A member of multiple Livingston Academy academic clubs, she has volunteered locally with blood-donation drives and at area homeless shelters and food banks. She also donated her time to cleanup efforts after the Nashville floods of May, 2010.

Andy Stoots, Nigro’s club coach with Brentwood Soccer Club, said, “Kat Nigro has tons of natural talent and ability, but it’s her extra drive and determination to get better that makes her stand out. When she gets on the field, it’s her ability to impact a game and impact other players. She makes other players better. That’s not an ability that a lot of other kids have.”

Nigro has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at the University of North Carolina this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Two-time winner Nigro joins recent Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year two-time winner Susannah Dennis (2008-09 & 2007-08, Battle Ground Academy) among the state’s list of former award winners.

For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners, and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit www.playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.



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Cats quell Indian uprising in regional first round

Mac McLeod photo
Livingston’s Brock McCoin, #4, finds himself in an awkward position as he tries to get to a loose ball in Saturday’s game at Dunlap. McCoin, despite losing his balance, manages to get his hand on the ball and get it to teammate Mason Ramsey, #25.

Mac McLeod photo
Mason Ramsey, #25, releases a shot against Sequatchie County. Mason would go on to score 14 points and pull down 11 rebounds during the game.

Mac McLeod photo
Wildcat big man Logan Ramsey, #00, pulls down a rebound and readies to put it back up against Sequatchie County Saturday in regional play while teammate Colby Reeder, #12, tries to move a defender. Ramsey had 8 rebounds on the night and 16 points.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

When the Region 4, 2A basketball tournament resumes this week in Sparta, it will almost be a repeat of last week’s District 8, 2A event as 7 of the 8 teams now playing to move on to the sub-state round will come from that district.

After last Friday and Saturday action that opened region play, only the Smith County girls failed to advance from the four girls teams and four boys teams that took on their counterparts from District 7. Moving on to the second round included Livingston’s girls and boys, Upperman’s girls and boys, Cannon County girls and boys and DeKalb’s boys.

For the Livingston boys, it took a complete turnaround from their opening game in the district tournament to make it back to Sparta, but the talented squad figured it out themselves and did what they had to do to move forward.

Livingston rolled past Cannon County, 86-69, in the consolation game of the district
tournament and Saturday night got by Sequatchie County, 55-47, to advance to the second round of the region tournament.

“The loss to DeKalb in the opening round of our district tournament showed our players that nobody was going to just roll over and play dead because we were Livingston Academy,” head coach Jimmy Miller said after that loss a week ago. “We have a target on our backs and we have to come ready to play our best every time we go on that floor.”

Two games later, Miller was more than happy to talk about his team, his coaches and what they had done since the setback to level the ship.

“I am so proud of you,” Miller told his team in the dressing room Tuesday night after whipping Cannon County. “You were a class act out there tonight. There are not a lot of teams that would have gone through what you went through this weekend then come out and play like you did tonight. This was the best team effort of the year and what made it so nice is that you did it together.”

Miller’s praise for his Wildcats came just days after Livingston Academy, the regular season champs, were slapped hard in the face by DeKalb in the opening round and meant for the first time in six years, the Wildcats were not going to be playing at home in the opening round of the regionals.

When the Cats regrouped over the week and came back to face Cannon, it was a totally different squad. Against DeKalb, it looked like a “street game” where every player did what they wanted to do just to take a shot, good or bad. Against Cannon it was like open heart surgery, each cut was accurate and precise.

“We went back to what we were good at,” senior Jake Huitt explained after the win to claim third place in the tournament. “Tonight we came down court, moved the ball around, got it inside to Mason and Logan and made it look easy. It was smooth.”

Huitt had it right on the mark. Colby Reeder, whose strong point is defense, got the offense rolling Tuesday night with a field goal and a 2-0 LA lead. From that point on it was plain and simple LA. Kailen Melton followed Reeder’s basket then Logan took a fine pass inside and low from brother Mason and dropped in a simple two-pointer. Logan then added another and Mason calmly brought the ball down and nailed a three-pointer.

At the same time, Cannon County wasn’t rolling over. The Lions trailed by only two points at the end of the first frame and at the half. LA was playing good, but so was the competition.

The breakaway came in the second half where the Wildcats moved ahead by 8 at the end of the third period then slammed the door in the fourth with a 23-point output.
Four players scored in double figures, led by Mason Ramsey with 24. Logan Ramsey added 18, Brock McCoin, having one of his best offensive nights of the season, came in with 17 and Melton was strong with 12. Huitt was good for 9, Reeder hit for 4, and Logan Beaty rounded out the scoring with 2.

The win moved LA to Dunlap for the start of the region tournament. The home team Indians, the number 2 team in District 7, 2A came into the game with an overall record of 18-8 while LA was looking for its 20th win of the season against 11 setbacks.

And the way it started out, it appeared it wouldn’t be too hard.

In the opening 8 minutes of the game, LA was getting points from every player on the floor in a blue uniform while Sequatchie County could only put two free throws on the board. Livingston led at the end of the frame, 17-2.

“That was the best defense we’ve played all year,” Melton would point out after the game.

But the Indians weren’t out of it yet. With a crowd that got more vocal with each point, the home teams slowly but surely eased back into the game and at intermission, Livingston’s once formidable lead was cut to 12, 29-17.

By the end of the third period the Wildcat lead had shrunk to 7, 36-29, and down the stretch in the final frame, it got downright close and the building got hostile.

With 2:16 showing on the clock, Sequatchie’s David Cartwright hit a field goal that brought his team to within three at 45-42. With momentum directly behind the home team and a building that was so noisy one could hardly think, things were looking rather dark for the visiting Cats.

But not to fear. With the possibility of a comeback victory on their minds, the Warriors simply need the ball and to get it, they had to foul the Wildcats who were in control of the tempo and the boards. Most missed shots went to the outstretched hands of Logan Ramsey.

For Sequatchie to get the ball, they had to foul and that, in the long run, simply didn’t work at all. Huitt hit two, Melton nailed four, and Logan Ramsey was good for one in the final minute and fifty seconds while McCoin put up a big two-point field goal and at the buzzer LA had its ticket back to Sparta for this week’s action.

“Man, to win at this place is something,” Miller explained after the game. “It got a little noisy when they started to come back. I can’t say enough about how our players never rattled despite what was going on around them and they played well. We had times when we let things kinda get away, but overall, it was a good team effort.

“I want to thank our assistant coaches, Chad Richardson and Nate Kennard for doing a super scouting job. That made a big difference.”

“This place was really noisy,” Logan Ramsey pointed out after the game. “I can’t imagine how it would have been if they had ever gotten on top of us. I think that was a big key in winning – staying out front all night.”

That and the 19 rebounds he and brother Mason hauled in on the night. Logan Ramsey led the LA scoring with 16 points while Mason added 14. Huitt had 9, Melton 8, McCoin 6, and Reeder 2. Logan Beaty played but did not score.

“It was fun watching Logan stand over those guys with his hands stretched out,” Mason laughed after the game. “He just wouldn’t let them get up and shoot.”

Livingston will get its third shot of the season against Upperman Tuesday night when the tournament resumes. Game time is 7:30 p.m.


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Lady Cats take 64-30 regional win

Mac McLeod photo
On a fast break, Livingston’s Mallory Mahaney, #12, passes to teammate Mackenzie Sells who made an easy lay up for 2 of her game high 18 points against Bledsoe County Friday.

Mac McLeod photo
LA’s Marlee Sells takes the ball inside and lays it up in action Friday night.

Mac McLeod photo
With both eyes focused on the hoop, Lady Wildcat freshman Kendall Robbins releases a shot in regional tournament action Friday night.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Before the start of Friday’s first round Region 4, 2A playoff game at Livingston Academy, the Lady Wildcats knew little about opponent Bledsoe County other than they didn’t have a good record and finished fourth in their district. When it was over, the winners still were wondering what they had done and just how they did it.

“To tell you the truth, I can’t explain exactly what we did,” senior Lady Cat standout Mackenzie Sells said with a slight grin. “We won , but I can’t describe our emotions in doing it. We played okay I guess, but obviously there was something missing.

We’ll get it back Monday.”

Sells was trying to describe how she and her teammates advanced to the second round of the tournament with a solid 64-30 romp over the Lady Warriors, but the exact words were just a little hard to find.

Perhaps “unemotional” would best fit the situation. Although the Lady Cats knew they had to win the game in order to advance, it was pretty obvious after the first several minutes that wasn’t going to be a problem so they simply did enough to win and move on.

“We just didn’t get excited tonight,” Samantha Maya added. “I think we kinda did what we had to do and got out of here.”

For Abby Miller, it was much the same story.

“We played not to lose,” Miller pointed out. “Now we have to think about Upperman and we know how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season. We’ll be ready for that one.”

After reaching the second round, Livingston faced district foe Upperman Monday night for a shot at the region title and a move on to the sub-state. The Lady Bees rolled past Chattanooga Christian 45-22, also on Friday night. In the two regular season meetings, LA won by one point at Baxter and 11 in the return match at home.

Sells opened the scoring attack with a field goal and a three-pointer right off the bat Friday. Maya then Miller each added two field goals and Allison Daily added four points and at the buzzer Tori Stocking put the finishing touches to a 23-15 LA lead.

It was in the second period that the Lady Cats put the game out of reach after the Lady Warriors did their best to hang close. Stocking got things rolling with a field goal then Maya, Chezney Hammock, Sells, and Mallory Mahaney took turns adding to the growing scoring spread. By the end of the half, Livingston was on top, 44-21 and pulling away.

LA coach Lesley Riddle went to her bench to kick off the final period. Heather Cravens opened with a three then Marlee Sells hit for points and Taylor Meadows closed out the scoring with a free throw.

Sells led the scoring for Livingston with 18 points. Maya added 11, Miller and Stocking 7 each, Hammock and Marlee Sells each had 4 along with Dailey, Cravens had 3, and Meadows 1. Playing but not scoring were Kayla Williams, Sydney Staggs, Rachell Reeder, Jessika McAllister, and Kendall Robbins.

The victory boosted the Livingston record to 28-4.


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Mackenzie Sells named Miss Basketball finalist

Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards will be presented to the top girls and boys in five classifications of Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) prior to the championship game awards presentation for each class, respectively.

A statewide committee of sportswriters selected winners based on performance during the 2010-2011 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration. High school head basketball coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists.

Mackenzie Sells of Livingston Academy is nominated for Miss Basketball in Class AA.

Presentation of the Miss Basketball Awards for Division I, Classes A, AA, and AAA will be given during the championship awards ceremony for each class on Saturday, March 12 at Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.

Others nominated for Miss Basketball in Class AA are Jenna Adams of McMinn Central and Kayla Biles of Upperman.

Class A Miss Basketball finalists are Carly Daniel of Wayne County, T.T. Flowers of Lake County, and Rachel Garland of Moore County.

Class AAA Miss Basketball finalists are Shacobia Barbee of Riverdale, Hasina Muhammad of Ridgeway, and Caya Williams of Mt. Juliet.

Presentation of the Mr. Basketball Awards for Division I, Classes A, AA, and AAA will be given during the championship awards ceremony for each class on Saturday, March 19 at Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.

Class A Mr. Basketball finalists are Nathaniel Hughes of Hampton, Malcolm Smith of Clarksville Academy, and Martin Smith of Clarksville Academy.

Class AA Mr. Basketball finalists are Kendall Anthony of Liberty Tech, Kedren Johnson of Marshall County, and Martavious Newby of Booker T. Washington.

Class AAA Mr. Basketball finalists are Andre Hollins of White Station, Alex Poythress of Northeast, and Adonis Thomas of Melrose.

Presentation of the Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards for Division II, Class A, and
Class AA will be given on Saturday, March 5 at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University.

Division II-A Miss Basketball finalists are Marjorie Butler of Webb School of Knoxville, Kaylah Keys of Harding Academy, and Derica Wyatt of Franklin Road Academy.

Division II-AA Miss Basketball finalists are Chadarryl Clay of Girls Preparatory School, Symone Daniels of St. Benedict, and Taylor Reece of Brentwood Academy.

Division II-A Mr. Basketball finalists are John Ross Glover of University School of Jackson, Nilan Hodge of University School of Nashville, and Steven Kaspar of Evangelical Christian School.

Division II-AA Mr. Basketball finalists are Cornelius Elder of Ensworth, Conor McDermott of Ensworth, and Austin Nichols of Briarcrest.


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Special Olympics volleyball takes top spot in tournament

photo submitted by Judy Dillon
On Friday, February 25, the Livingston Academy Special Olympics Volleyball team took first place in the Area 9 volleyball tournament at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, defeating three other teams for the championship.
Posing for a photo after the tournament are, front row from left, Anthony Qualls, Moriah Melton, and Alex Harvey. Back row from left are Coach Jim Nelson, Mackenzie Huckeby, Traci Hensley, Amanda Dyer, and Coach Amber Mainord.

 

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