Livingston Overcomes 9-Point Deficit For 58-56 Win at Upperman

By Michael Lindsay


Livingston Academy earned their biggest win of the season Friday evening as they won at District 7AAA foe Upperman, 58-56.

“It’s huge for our confidence,” said Livingston head coach Jimmy Miller. “I’ve never coached at a place that I felt was harder to win than Upperman. That might’ve been the most hostile environment I’ve been in at that place. Being able to get that one, ugly or not, is big.”

Livingston (17-0, 5-0) trailed by 9 points early in the second half before storming back for a 2-point win over Upperman (12-4, 3-2).

Livingston was led by 17 points from seniors Isaac Story and 14 by Easton Goodpasture. For Upperman, Brayden Roberts had 15 along with Jaxson Bush scoring 12.

“Our seniors Ethan Goodpasture and Isaac Story were huge tonight,” Miller said. “Cole Harris gave us some big minutes off the bench. Our guys have just battled and they’re so unselfish. It’s so hard to put an asterisk beside just one that stands out.”

Livingston held an early lead over Baxter after one quarter, 15-10. The teams battled neck-and-neck in the second quarter with the Wildcats holding a 28-26 advantage at halftime.

Upperman came out of halftime red-hot as the Bees went on an 11-0 run in the first 1:45 of the third quarter to take a 37-28 lead.

“It would’ve been very easy to roll over when we got down 9,” Miller said. “That worried me. I thought that would be hard to crawl out of, especially with all the young guys on the floor.”

Livingston remained composed, however, and followed the Bees’ 11-0 run with a 13-3 run of their own to take a 41-40 lead at the end of the third period.

After trading baskets early in the fourth quarter, a Brayden Roberts transition layup gave the Bees a 53-49 lead with 3:54 remaining. 

Story answered with a jumper and two free throws to tie the game at 53 with 2:58 remaining. After recording back-to-back defensive stops, Livingston’s Cole Harris hit a free throw to give his team a 54-53 lead with 1:20 left. 

The Wildcats stepped up again defensively as Goodpasture rebounded a missed Upperman shot with 27 seconds left, leading to two successful Wyatt Hargis free throws to take a 56-53 lead.

Leading by 3, Livingston stepped up one final time defensively as Harris intercepted an Upperman pass and was fouled with 13 seconds left. Harris sank two free throws before Upperman hit a three at the buzzer to make the final score 58-56 in favor of Livingston Academy.

“I’m really proud of how our guys finished the game,” Miller said. “I don’t think we played well; a lot of things that had been working this year weren’t working. We kept fighting and found a way to win. Our seniors really stepped up when some of our offensive threats were struggling.”

Livingston Academy improves to 17-0 overall and 5-0 in District 7AAA play. The Wildcats are currently ranked #1 in the state in Class 3A.

“We’ve got to stay grounded,” Miller said. “These are a lot of kids in their first big games like this. When there’s a buzz about what they’ve done so far, we have to stay grounded and understand what’s allowed us to have success this year. That’s being humble and still competing like an underdog. Regardless of records, we were the underdog in that game tonight. This team was picked second to last in the preseason, and they didn’t like that. They’ve used that as motivation.”

Upperman falls to 12-4 overall and 3-2 in district play. The Bees host DeKalb County (10-8, 2-3) on Tuesday

Up next for Livingston is a trip to UCR #1 (AP #5) Stone Memorial (15-3, 5-0) for a showdown atop District 7AAA as both teams are tied for first place in league play. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Crossville.

Livingston Academy (58): Isaac Story 17, Easton Goodpasture 14, Tucker Miller 9, Cole Harris 7, Wyatt Hargis 6, Daniel Bilbrey 4

Upperman (56): Brayden Roberts 15, Jaxson Bush 12, Clinton Harris 8, Bonzdsen Chaffin 8, Hayden Petty 5, Branson Turnbow 3