By Mac McLeod,
With the start of the 2021-22 basketball season only hours away, the Livingston Academy boys got in two last minute exhibitions contests over the past weekend, winning the first and losing the second.
In girls action, the Lady Cats put on two strong showings, winning both games in very convincing fashion.
Watertown was the site for boys action and the girls played in Maryville.
“We actually didn’t keep the books or anything like that, “ explained Lady Wildcat assistant coach Billy Sells. “We were looking for combinations mainly and also just to get in one more practice session before the regular season starts. What we saw, we liked, but as you know, there’s always room for improvement.
Sells said the overall play was good, especially from the guard position where starters Allie Qualls and Mallie Coleman did not play due to minor injuries.
“Hannah Westmoreland and Alexis Phipps did a good job at those two spots, and I thought Aleah (Melton) was strong overall. Lilly (Bates) is getting stronger and gaining more confidence every time she’s on the floor, and Ellie Butler really had a hot hand in one game scoring something like 22 points. She had the hot hand and the team just kept feeding her the ball. That was pretty impressive.”
Livingston defeated Sequoyah County 55-25 in the first game and rolled past South Doyle 51-38 in the second game.
“We got a chance to play every player, and overall, they all had their strong points. It was a good session, and now it’s time to start playing for real,” Coach Sells added.
At Watertown, the boys got off to a good start, rolling past Mt. Juliet 61-29, then dropping the second game to Central Magnet 64-51.
Mt. Juliet jumped out to a quick 11-7 first quarter lead, but the Wildcats recovered, put on a strong defense, and outscored the visitors 17-5 in the second quarter to lead 24-16 at the intermission.
In the second half, the Wildcats played outstanding defense, holding Mt. Juliet to a mere 13 total points while adding 37.
Nick Choate recovered from an earlier back situation and poured in 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds to lead the attack. Isaac Story was good for 12 points. Hayden Ledbetter scored 11, Wyatt Hargis hit for 9 points, Brodey Coffee added 7, and Easton Goodpasture scored 3.
In the second game, it was almost a reverse from the first. Livingston took a 13-7 lead on Central Magnet then trailed in the remaining three quarters to fall 64-51.
Story was the leading scorer with 17 points and Choate added 15. Dawson Simmons came through with 7 points, Daniel Bilbrey put in 5 while Coffee and Ledbetter each added 2.
“I thought we played well at times,” explained LA coach Jimmy Miller, “but in that second game, we just didn’t get it all together. We’ve never had an easy game here in Watertown, so I don’t see why that should change. We’ll make some key adjustments over the weekend and be ready for a tough opening game Tuesday night at Lipscomb.”