Livingston Academy Sweeps Meeting With Stone Memorial

Story and Photos by Rusty Ellis

The Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats got off to a hot start in their 69-35 win over Stone Memorial on Thursday.

LA was ready to play from the opening tip, as they pushed their initial lead all the way to 29-0 before Katie Adkisson broke the drought with a three for the Lady Panthers. A Lilly Bates bucket at the buzzer gave the Lady Wildcats a 31-3 lead at the end of the first.

Livingston kept up the pressure in the second frame, taking a 46-14 lead into the halftime locker room. The second half saw the Lady Wildcats cruise and play mainly subs, as they finished the night with a 69-35 win to move to 5-0 in district play.

As far as what stuck out to head coach Leslie Riddle, it was the fast start that stuck out in her girls’ dominant win.

“The way we jumped out early was the difference in the whole game,” Riddle said. “After that, it was pretty even. I just feel like we executed really well against their zone and turned them over quite a bit. We just had a really good start.”

The second unit for Livingston has played really well the last couple of weeks, with players like Mallie Gene Coleman, Ellie Butler and Lilly Bates playing big roles off the bench. Riddle says it all boils down to the team’s chemistry.

“Our practices are pretty competitive,” Riddle said. “Those two (units) fighting against each other every day…this team just loves each other. It’s kind of hard to believe that high school girls can split time like they are and still support each other like they are.”

The Wildcats followed the girls up with a dramatic win of their own, this one of the 54-52 variety over the Panthers.

The defenses were the story of the first quarter, as the Wildcats held a slim 12-10 lead heading into the second quarter. The offenses began to make some haste in the frame, as the Panthers pulled ahead on the strength of two Cade Capps three-pointers, giving them a 25-22 lead at the break.

The Panthers came out hot in the second half, as they took a 33-24 lead at one point over Livingston. The Wildcats battled their way back however, and closed the gap to a single point at 37-36 heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter saw Livingston have several opportunities to put the game away at the free throw line, but misses and turnovers allowed Stone to cut the lead down to 54-52 with 10 seconds to go. The Panthers then stole the inbounds pass, but were unable to get a shot up in time, giving the Wildcats a two-point victory.

Isaac Story led the way with 17 points, while Nick Choate added 15 points. Hayden Ledbetter scored 10 points of his own for head coach Jimmy Miller, who says his team’s effort-level is what stuck out to him on Thursday.

“I think our effort was the only reason we got a win in this game,” Miller said. “We made some mistakes at the very end and almost gave it away, but even when we made those mistakes, I think our hard play and effort allowed us to push through and pull that one off.”

The Wildcats now find themselves tied atop the district with a 4-1 mark in league play. That’s something that Miller believes only helps the confidence of his young team.

“It’s huge, and with as many young kids as we are playing right now, it’s huge for our confidence,” Miller said. “It doesn’t take many losses to get a team down mentally that is this young. I think getting this good start has been a big deal.”

Livingston Academy will be right back in action on Friday at Lighthouse Christian beginning at 4 P.M.