Livingston Wins At Top-Ranked Upperman, 47-38

By Michael Lindsay

Livingston Academy picked up one of their most impressive wins of the season Friday evening as they defeated defending Class 3A state champion and #1-ranked Upperman in Baxter, 47-38.

The road victory was vital for the Lady Wildcats (15-3) in District 7AAA as they improve to 5-0 in league play.

“On any night, any team can win on any night,” said Livingston head coach Leslie Riddle. “It’s important and it gives you a little cushion. Nobody is going to go through this district undefeated; it’s a war. I feel like we’ve got four or five of the top 10 teams in the state and here we are all together beating up on each other.”

LA’s task of defeating Upperman (18-3, 3-2) was amplified by a rocking home crowd in Baxter.

“I think we came out a little intimidated by the situation,” Riddle added. “This is an incredible crowd, and Upperman is always a hard place to come play. We missed shots we should be making because they rushed us.

“I am proud of the composure we got after that,” she added. “We were able to shut out the crowd a little bit and focus on what we had planned on doing.”

Leading the way for Livingston Academy was sophomore Ellie Butler, who scored 24 points against the Lady Bees including 18 points in the third quarter.

“That’s incredible; I don’t know how many players I’ve had that can do something like that,” Riddle said. “At that point, you sit down and just let them play.”

Jayla Cobb led Upperman with 15 points, followed by a double-double from Abigail Johnson with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

It was the Lady Bees who jumped ahead early as they took a 12-5 lead after the first period.

Livingston settled in during the second period as back-to-back Aleaha Melton three-pointers late in the quarter brought the Lady ‘Cats within one possession at halftime, 18-15.

Following the halftime break, LA finally caught Upperman with 5:45 remaining in the third period as two consecutive Butler baskets gave the Lady Wildcats a 22-21 lead.

Livingston took over the third quarter from there, outscoring Upperman 17-7 for the rest of the frame to take a 39-28 lead after three. Butler outscored Upperman by herself in the third period, 18-13.

Upperman didn’t go down quietly as the Lady Bees cut their deficit to 5 points (41-36) with 2:56 remaining before a pair of Butler free throws pushed the LA lead back to 7.

The Lady Bees would get no closer as Livingston closed out to win at Upperman by a 47-38 final.

The Lady Wildcats’ victory would ultimately be part of Livingston’s first sweep at Upperman since 2015 as the boys won a nail-biter in the following game, 58-56.

Up next for both programs is more District 7AAA action on Tuesday. Livingston Academy travels to Stone Memorial (7-14, 0-5) while Upperman hosts DeKalb County (10-9, 2-3).

Livingston Academy (47): Ellie Butler 24, Keely Mullins 11, Aleaha Melton 10, Halle Ledbetter 2

Upperman (38): Jayla Cobb 15, Abigail Johnson 13, Taylor Dolente 5, Gracie Butler 4, Bella Mullins 1