By Brian Besch
Lady Lions basketball saw their season end Monday night in Winnie, falling 61-30 to Little Cypress-Mauriceville in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
Livingston held a slim lead for a short amount of time after the tip at East Chambers High. It would be all Lady Bears after they took the lead at 5-4.
“They just didn’t come to play,” Livingston coach Brittany Jefferson said. “The LC-M girls were fast and quick, and our girls just shut down when they saw a lot of speed. The last two games we had before this, they played. Tonight, they just shut down.”
Jefferson commended her group for playing team ball in defeating Hamshire Fannett and Liberty to obtain third place in the district last week.
The offense Monday was limited, as many possessions were interrupted by steals. Livingston reached double figures in just one period, with 11 in the second quarter.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville used a half-court trap on defense and attacked the bucket on offense to much success.
Jon’Toyrian McNeal changed and blocked many shots in the lane, but a large portion of the LC-M offense came after turnovers. Livingston’s lack of ball control was exposed early and was the Lady Bears’ biggest advantage.
“They saw that those girls were really quick and could handle the ball well,” Jefferson said. “We haven’t seen that all year besides Hardin-Jefferson.”
McNeal was also the only consistent offense for the Lady Lions. She scored 18 in her final game for Livingston, while Mia Poncho had five. Asia Robinson of LC-M led all scores with 26, while teammates Keylie Washburn had 18 and Aniyah Robinson had a dozen.
“Overall, when we started the season, it was pretty rough,” the Lady Lion coach said of 2021-22. “As district came on, we kind of picked it up at the beginning until the second round and that didn’t go as well, other than those two games we played for the tie breaker. The season was OK, but it wasn’t what I expected it was going to be.”
Livingston loses just one senior to graduation, but it is a significant loss. McNeal has been a standout player in both volleyball and basketball over her four years, and will continue her playing career at Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas.