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Livingston softball takes county bragging rights

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Pitcher Jaycee KnightonBRIAN BESCH | PCE Pitcher Jaycee Knighton allowed just two runs over seven innings in Livingston's win Friday over Onalaska.

By Brian Besch

Lady Lion softball took a one-run win 3-2 over neighboring Onalaska Friday at Livingston ISD’s softball complex.

Down a run, Livingston scored once in the fourth to tie, with two more in the fifth to secure a lead they would not surrender.

Onalaska opened a tight, scoreless game in the fourth when Kenadi Houser walked and stole second base. That allowed Madison Wilson to drive in the first of two RBIs on the night.

Pitching for the Lady Cats was freshman Savannah Benningfield, who threw 4.1 innings, giving up three runs, two that were earned. She struck out three, walked three and gave up the same amount of runs. Madi Anderson relieved her, and finished out 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit.

“I was very impressed with my kids tonight,” Onalaska coach David Brown said. “From where we were at last time we played them (an 11-3 loss on March 2), 3-2, I will take that. We made several errors last time that killed us early and just didn't recover.

“The first pitcher that pitched the five innings is a freshman and she does a good job of controlling the plate and she did a good job tonight. They had a hard time waiting on her and if we can get our combination to work like that where she can pitch for five innings and then we come in with Madi and she be on, we’ll be fine.”

Answering in the bottom half of that fourth inning, Livingston’s Jaycee Knighton walked, Carrie Parker singled and Baylee Yantes bunted and reached by error to load the bags. Raylee Gaston also put a ball in play that was not fielded cleanly and scored the tieing run.

In the following frame, Janae Bland was hit by a pitch and stole second. Soon after, Knighton singled her home. Parker would then walk and Gaston got another run in, singling for a 3-1 advantage.

Knighton was also effective on the mound, where she held Onalaska to two runs over seven innings for the win.

“The girls are getting better,” Lady Lion coach Ruth Wright said. “We still have to take care of defense behind our pitchers. They are hitting their spots and doing a great job. We need to communicate before the ball is pitched and get a game plan of what we are supposed to do. I think it is a matter of getting more used to each other.

“At the plate, we just need the reps. We need to realize that they are throwing to us and it doesn't mean that we have to hit their pitch — we can hit our pitch. We get in there and we are a little overanxious and decide that we are just going to swing instead of being patient, especially with runners in scoring position.”

Onalaska would get one more run, as Wilson drove in Kierra Anstee in the sixth.

“We took too many called third strikes, but they were hitting spots,” Brown said. “We've not played a really close ball game like that and I was hoping to get in one of those. Next Friday night, we play Hardin and they are going to have a good pitcher. We didn't hit the ball like we are capable of hitting it, but you are going to run into games like that.”

In district, Livingston has dropped a game to a very good Liberty squad and had eight errors against Splendora in a two-run loss. They have, however, beaten Hardin-Jefferson 11-3 in a road contest.

Now at 11-6-1 overall, Livingston will take on Hamshire-Fannett Tuesday. The 11-4 Lady Cats will host Anderson-Shiro in a district match Tuesday.

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CORKY COCHRAN RELAYS

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Corky Cochran Relays 4BRIAN BESCH | PCE The Livingston boys won the Corky Cochran Relays on Thursday, while the Lady Lions finished second.

By Brian Besch

Varsity Boys Points By School

1st Livingston HS 97

2nd Huntington HS 95

3rd Tarkington 94

4th Woodville HS 93

5th Liberty HS 72

6th Jasper 71

7th Diboll HS 54

8th Northland Christian HS 21

100 M Dash

1st Nic Ray Northland Chri... 11.85

2nd KALEB SELLS Jasper 11.94

3rd Tank Johnson Livingston HS 12.08

200 M Dash

1st Justin Legg Livingston HS 23.66

2nd Nic Ray Northland Chri... 24.37

3rd Ajani Bell Tarkington 24.48

400 M Dash

1st Riley Johnson Tarkington 54.17

2nd Nick Paxon Huntington HS 55.10

3rd Elijah Mansfield Huntington HS 56.93

800 M Run

1st CONNOR MONROE Jasper 2:08.07

2nd Romero Rene Liberty HS 2:09.06

3rd Moran Matthew Liberty HS 2:14.41

1600 M Run

1st Flowers Patrick Liberty HS 4:53.86

2nd Moran Matthew Liberty HS 5:06.45

3rd Romero Rene Liberty HS 5:10.51

3200 M Run

1st Flowers Patrick Liberty HS 10:35.65

2nd Justin Hales Livingston HS 11:44.77

3rd Jason Williams Tarkington 11:45.86

110 M Hurdles

1st Ronald Washington Woodville HS 15.90

2nd Ayden Colbert Huntington HS 15.99

3rd Kevon Paire Woodville HS 16.00

300 M Hurdles

1st Ayden Colbert Huntington HS 44.30

2nd Quincy Humphries Huntington HS 46.28

3rd Tanner Johnson Tarkington 48.29

4x100 M Relay

1st Diboll HS 46.22

2nd Tarkington 46.39

3rd Woodville HS 46.88

4x200 M Relay

1st Woodville HS 1:37.44

2nd Livingston HS 1:39.01

3rd Huntington HS 1:39.22

4x400 M Relay

1st Jasper 3:45.20

2nd Tarkington 3:47.21

3rd Huntington HS 3:51.69

Long Jump

1st ron washington Woodville HS 19’-7"

2nd Ajani Bell Tarkington 19’-0 1/2"

3rd Linus Maninno Woodville HS 18’-9"

Shot Put

1st SHUNMARKUS A... Jasper 48’-7 1/2"

2nd Gums, Jeremiah Diboll HS 41’-2 1/2"

3rd Ladanian Walker Livingston HS 41’-1 1/2"

Discus

1st Gavin Edwards Tarkington 128’-2"

2nd Ladanian Walker Livingston HS 112’-1"

3rd Brynten White Livingston HS 101’-0"

Triple Jump

1st Teal, Chris Diboll HS 41’-9"

2nd Ayden Colbert Huntington HS 39’-9 1/2"

3rd Lloyd Evans Woodville HS 39’-7"

High Jump

1st Linus Maninno Woodville HS 6’-4"

2nd Brandon Lyons Livingston HS 6’-0"

3rd Ayden Colbert Huntington HS 5’-10"

Pole Vault

1st Heifner Trace Liberty HS 9’-0"

Varsity Girls Points By School

1st Woodville HS 140

2nd Livingston HS 112

3rd Liberty HS 82

4th Northland Christian HS 71

5th Tarkington 47

6th Huntington HS 42

7th Jasper 23

8th Diboll HS 10

100 M Dash

1st Knepper, Abbie Liberty HS 13.38

2nd Bolton, Helene Diboll HS 13.64

3rd Azairiah Harrell Livingston HS 13.76

200 M Dash

1st Knepper, Abbie Liberty HS 28.55

2nd Brianna Boddie Tarkington 29.26

3rd Robinson, Cherish Liberty HS 29.46

400 M Dash

1st Julia Hearn Northland Chri... 1:06.00

2nd Maddie Hearn Northland Chri... 1:08.11

3rd Brooklynn Baker Tarkington 1:12.47

800 M Run

1st Anyhia Duncan Livingston HS 2:35.49

2nd Abigail Wietstruck Northland Chri... 2:35.79

3rd Shivers, Julianne Liberty HS 2:40.33

1600 M Run

1st Abigail Wietstruck Northland Chri... 6:06.42

2nd Shivers, Julianne Liberty HS 6:16.93

3rd Trinity Polk Northland Chri... 6:22.26

3200 M Run

1st Ryleigh Stewart Woodville HS 16:05.22

2nd Ashley Davis Woodville HS 16:10.51

100 M Hurdles

1st Kaaliyah Youngblo... Livingston HS 19.54

2nd Ava Hartsell Livingston HS 20.38

3rd Mia Poncho Livingston HS 20.43

300 M Hurdles

1st J. McDougal Jasper 53.93

2nd Bree Davis Huntington HS 57.56

3rd Quiana Castle Woodville HS 1:00.38

4x100 M Relay

1st Liberty HS 52.15

2nd Livingston HS 52.78

3rd Woodville HS 54.00

4x200 M Relay

1st Woodville HS 1:57.55

2nd Livingston HS 1:57.59

3rd Liberty HS 1:58.13

4x400 M Relay

1st Woodville HS 4:51.91

2nd Livingston HS 5:01.37

3rd Huntington HS 5:11.67

Long Jump

1st Brianna Boddie Tarkington 15’-2"

2nd Brooklynn Baker Tarkington 14’-7 3/4"

3rd Azairiah Harrell Livingston HS 14’-5 1/4"

Shot Put

1st Nattali Vonessen Woodville HS 31’-8"

2nd Kamryn Grammer Woodville HS 29’-10"

3rd Jewell Capps Huntington HS 28’-9"

Discus

1st AALIYAH ROBINS... Jasper 113’-8"

2nd Meredith Langdon Northland Chri... 93’-1"

3rd Paxton Joslin Tarkington 85’-5"

Triple Jump

1st Madeline Wietstruck Northland Chri... 31’-8"

2nd Brittany Lilley Woodville HS 29’-10"

3rd Janyrah Kibble Woodville HS 29’-3"

High Jump

1st Tamara Martin Woodville HS 4’-8"

2nd Anyhia Duncan Livingston HS 4’-6"

3rd Kamryn Grammer Woodville HS 4’-6"

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Big Sandy ends season in regional tournament

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IMG 5256BRIAN BESCH | PCE Elias Bullock shoots from 15 feet out.

By Brian Besch

One of the state’s top teams needed every minute Tuesday to defeat Big Sandy, as LaPoynor escaped Central Heights High School with a 53-50 win in the regional semifinals.

With just 15 seconds to play and a tie score at 50 each, LaPoynor worked the ball into the post, where the bucket was made with a foul. The free throw was good and the Wildcats had one last chance.

Inbounding at half court with 12 seconds to go, a Flyer steal sealed the contest.

“I'm really proud of the kids and how we competed tonight,” Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. “You know that you're playing the fourth ranked team in the state and the kids came out and played really hard. I think that probably the biggest factor in the game was we defended well, but the thing that hurt us the entire game was turnovers.

We had some very uncharacteristic turnovers and I give them credit for that.

“Our decision-making was poor and it is tough to win games like that when you turn the ball over and we still had a chance. I told them in the locker room that the first three playoff games could have gone either way for the most part. We were able to make plays down the stretch and tonight they made plays. That's what those close games come down to.” 

The Wildcats led after one quarter and were down just a field goal at halftime. They held leads in the fourth quarter, when momentum shifted often.

A big factor keeping the ‘Cats in the game was excellent free throw shooting. They were 17-for-20 at the charity stripe. Adrian Thompson led Big Sandy with 14 points, Kaden Foster had 10 and Dante Williams had nine in his final high school game.

Williams, Josiah Celestine and Weston Mayer will move on after finishing their senior year of high school.

“(They are) just a tremendous group of kids, first of all. Not even talking about basketball,” Foster said of his seniors.

“They are just a good group of kids that are very dependable. They are going to go on and do good things in life. At the end of the day, I think that is the most important thing. I'm very proud of the seniors and I am going to miss them. They were just a lot of fun to be around.” 

IMG 5250BRIAN BESCH | PCE Seth Beene-Williams shoots over and around defenders.

A team that did not have all of its players until the final seven games of the season, the Wildcats peaked at the right time to become one of the better 2A teams in Texas. They were able to defeat the No. 10 team in the state and were a bucket away from the state’s No. 4 team.

“If you would have told me that this team would be in the regional semifinals and not only make it here, but play the fourth-ranked team in the state and have a chance to win in under a minute, I would have said you were crazy. But these kids keep battling and fighting and they played together. They are just the true definition of a team. If you can do that, you can accomplish a lot.”

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Defense, defense, defense (VIDEO)

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IMG 5123BRIAN BESCH | PCE Dante Williams drives to the bucket.

Big Sandy defeats state-ranked Garrison, advances to regional semifinals

Watch the video here:

By Brian Besch

"I don't even know where to begin with this game," Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said after the win over Garrison. "If we play them 10 times, we maybe beat them once. I told the kids we don't have to be better than them, we just have to be better than them tonight."

By playing incredible defense and taking care of the basketball, Big Sandy was better than Garrison Saturday night, winning by a score of 32-28.

Rarely turning the ball over, blocking out on every shot and constantly harassing the Bulldog offense, Big Sandy had just enough to defeat the No. 10 2A team in Texas.

Two field goals and four free throws were all the Bulldog offense could muster in the first half. However, Garrison also played well on the defensive end, leading to a 13-8 score at halftime.

IMG 5148BRIAN BESCH | PCE Josiah Celestine shoots a baseline jumper.

"Fortunately, they didn't shoot the ball well, because they normally shoot it very well," Foster said. "Our kids stuck to our game plan.

"We lost the lead and I'm so proud of them because we kept our composure and were able to hang on and make a play late. That's what these games come down to, whoever can make a play late. We were able to do it and I can't believe we are in the regional semifinals."

Garrison trailed for much of the game and was down a bucket at 40-38 to begin the fourth quarter.

Within a minute, they took the lead in what would be in a nail-biting final period.

"We knew we needed to cover (Dayton Dewberry) and (Risten Cook), because they can shoot it," Foster said. "The rest of the guys can shoot, but we were going to take our chances with that and really try to crowd the paint. (Freddy Christopher) is so explosive and quick, we didn't want to let him get to where he needed to be. We did that for the most part. Coach (Darren) Cook is a great coach and he adjusted in the second half. He ran some hi-low stuff and was able to get it to them.

IMG 5151BRIAN BESCH | PCE Adrian Thompson puts up a 3-pointer from the corner.

With 20 seconds left to play, the Wildcats were clinging to a 30-28 advantage. Adrian Thompson knocked down two free throws, making it a two-possession contest.

It would be all the stingy Wildcat defense would need to move on to the regional semifinals.

Elias Bullock and Adrian Thompson led Big Sandy with eight points each. Risten Cook led Garrison with 10 points and Brad Reynolds had eight.

LaPoynor will be the next opponent, as the two teams will meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Central Heights High School.

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Big Sandy moves to third round (VIDEO)

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IMG 5025BRIAN BESCH | PCE Big Sandy takes on Woden.

By Brain Besch

Big Sandy is now area champions after defeating Woden 59-53 Thursday at Hudson High School.

The Eagles posed many problems, with an athletic group that shoots well. The game would come down to a battle of free throws. The Wildcats were up to the challenge, hitting 19-of-25 from the charity stripe.

"Honestly, I thought the game was going to be a little more up and down than it was," Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. "Woden really presses a lot and likes to get out and run. They did that early, then they got out of it and really didn't go back to it until they had to.

"It really turned into kind of a half-court type of game. Those types of games can go either way. We just had one run where we were able to get the lead and hold on to it a little bit."

Leading the way for Big Sandy was Adrian Thompson with 14 points and Kaden Foster with 13. Also scoring 13 was Josiah Celestine, who came off the bench to provide a deep shooting threat with four 3-pointers.

"We need Josiah because he can really shoot the ball," Foster said. "Last game, it was a man and full-court pressure type of game. I had to have my better ball handlers out there, so he didn't really see a lot of action. I knew tonight that he was going to get more minutes. He made some big shots for us."

The Eagles spread their points amongst eight players, with Chance Lawson scoring 15 on five 3-pointers and Chandler Britton had 13 points.

"It is kind of a different guy for them every night," Foster said of preparing for Woden. "You really couldn't focus on one. They can shoot the ball really well and we knew that coming in."

Outscoring Woden 15-5 in the second quarter would have an impact on the outcome. With each squad in the bonus during the fourth period, free throw shooting was also key. The 'Cats were 12-for-16 at the line in the fourth. Woden was 7-for-11 in that same span, to keep the contest close.

"We've had times this year where we have struggled and we have lost games because we would go 7-for-21 from the line. Then we would have games where we were 16-for-19," the coach said. "I feel like lately our free throw shooting has gotten more consistent, which this is the time of year that you want it to be. I knew it was going to be a very physical game and both teams got in the double bonus in the second half."

The Wildcats will move on to play Garrison in the regional quarterfinal round. The Bulldogs are champions of District 22-2A and nabbed a win over Tenaha Thursday.

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