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Livingston nips Onalaska (Video)

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Livingston Onalaska 12 15 2020

By Brian Besch
Photos by Brian Besch

LIVINGSTON— The Livingston Lions escaped Tuesday with a narrow 59-55 home win over Onalaska. 

With several lead changes in the final period, the Lions were able to hold off a surging Wildcat squad. Onalaska put up 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep the game in doubt until the last four seconds.

“I'm proud of my kids, especially being down two starters,” Onalaska coach Nick Tyerman said. “To have this game and play as well as they did, I am so proud of them. When you look at the other side, they have the depth and we had five left. We had one get hurt and one foul out. It was a great game, but not what we want, because we always want to win the game. For our last competition before district starts Friday, I feel great.”

Tyerman said Tuesday's game was one of the best that his team has played on the young season.

“Probably close to it. There was good execution and good patience and a good all-around game on both sides of the ball, which I'm very proud of. I love how much we moved around on defense. We flew around to the ball and drew a lot of charges, we closed out hard and we made it tough for them to score. I think they really didn't start getting it inside until we started getting a little gassed there at the end.”

Lion Chris Washington led all scores in the game with 23 points, Jontavian McNeal had nine and Willie Fagan had eight. For the Wildcats, Chase Fletcher led with 15 points and blocked several shots, Kevin Redden had 14 points and Ryan Kratz added a dozen. 

Early on, the Wildcats held an 8-3 advantage before Livingston found their footing. A late 3-pointer put Onalaska up by one going into the second quarter. The Lions moved back in the front and remained there until the fourth quarter, holding leads of as large as 16 points.

“We went to full-court man some and then we came back and just put pressure on the ball, and that got us back a little bit,” Livingston coach Calvin Phillips said. “Every game that we've had the last few ball games, we've kind of been behind. It is always us coming in on man-to-man defense, making a quick steal and going down to score to turn the game around.

“I didn't think we guarded the ball very well. That was something I was a little afraid of going in — that the 3-ball was going to hurt us. We went out there with our hands down. The times that we got up there and got our hands up and guarded the ball, they didn't hit their shots. I thought that was the key. You can't take it away from them; they shoot the hell out of the 3-ball.”

Perimeter shots were falling for the Wildcats, which always seems to be a little more important in Onalaska. Previous teams by the lake have lived on the 3-pointer, but Tyerman believes that is changing a bit this year.

“This year, we've been more 50/50,” the Wildcat coach said. “They, for some reason, were playing more for our drive, and I think that is because the last few games we have been attacking more. That is what has been there. We are so known for our 3-point shooting that everyone wants to take that away. Now we've become a little more balanced and we're better at reading the defense, where we can see what they are going to give us today. We are taking advantage of it.”

Down by eight going into the fourth quarter, the ‘Cats continued to work their way back into the contest. They took a one-point lead at 47-46 with 4:30 remaining. 

With just 22 seconds to go, Onalaska’s Kratz hit a free throw that tied the game at 55. Fagan connected on a jumper in the lane to put the Lions back on top by two. After a defensive stand, Washington was fouled and made good on both of his free throws to put the game out of reach with four seconds on the clock.

Though it was there at the end when the Lions needed it most, Phillips said he worries about his half-court offense because his team lacks patience at times.

“We have to win off of our pressure defense, because if we don't, we are going to have a hard time. Everything has to be in transition getting layups off of steals and that type of stuff. If we get it going, it's going to be a little bit different.”

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CORRIGAN-CAMDEN FALLS TO ELKHART (VIDEO)

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IMG 2722BRIAN BESCH | PCE The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs playing Elkhart on Friday December 11, 2020 on the north end of Polk County.

COSTLY MISTAKES

BY BRIAN BESCH

CORRIGAN — The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs lost a fourth-quarter lead to Elkhart and eventually the game 46-41 Friday on the north end of Polk County.

Trailing for much of the contest, the ‘Dogs slowly narrowed the gap in each quarter after the first.

“I thought we played well enough to win. We just didn't execute late in the game, which caused us to lose,” Corrigan-Camden coach Andrew Kirkindoff said. “I think it is kind of the same story. We play well enough, but in crunch time, we end up turning the ball over, making mistakes that cost us. I tell them all the time that it is our mistakes that is causing us to lose games. We are playing well enough, we just have to fix us.”

Corrigan-Camden versus Elkhart video

The Bulldogs looked a bit hurried on possessions early on, falling behind on the scoreboard.

Corrigan-Camden then seemed to run its offense well in the fourth quarter, patiently passing the ball and looking for open attempts. They took the lead and held it for nearly half the period. A quick run by Elkhart frustrated the Bulldogs, causing them to again settle for outside shots.

“I think that is just that we are young and starting a freshman. Most of the other ones are sophomores and a junior. Most of them are young and played JV last year, so it is just experience. I knew that there were going to be some Growing Pains early, but hopefully we can get this out of the way now and when we get to District we will be able to overcome them.

Tony Cooper led the Bulldogs with 15 points, Braylan Harrell had nine and Tra Thomas had eight. For Elkhart, R.J. Moore was tops on the night with 21 points, Cale Starr had nine and Josh Davis added eight.

The Bulldogs now sit at 2-4, with both wins coming in the last week. They defeated the Oilers of West Hardin (57-47) and Chireno (53-51).

The next game for Corrigan-Camden will come on the road Tuesday, as they face Alpha Omega Academy in Huntsville.

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Growing pains

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IMG 2622BRIAN BESCH | PCE Central Heights winning over the Lady Dogs of Corrigan-Camden on Friday 11 Decmber, 2020.

By Brian Besch

Central Heights started quickly and had Friday’s district matchup decided in a quarter, winning over the Lady Dogs of Corrigan-Camden 72-8.

Holding the Lady Dogs without a field goal until the second quarter, Central Heights converted turnovers into layup, running up the first-half difference.

“We have four freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and a senior. It is going to be rough at times this year,” Corrigan-Camden coach Ryan Hall said. “The ones that were the team leaders last year didn't come out and they left it on the young ones. This group works their tails off in practice and does everything I ask them to. They will get better; it is just going to take time. We are not in a developmental district, but we have a developmental team. We're going to have to develop and get better and it is just going to be trial by fire this year.

“This is probably one of the toughest districts in the area and maybe the state. It is not because we have state-title contenders, but we have four or five teams in our district that, if the playoff bracket allowed them to, they could go to the regional tournament. They are very good and very high IQ basketball teams top to bottom.”

The Lady Devils led 41-4 at halftime, as most who suited up scored at least two points. Nakalyn Wells and Kamryn Moore led the game by scoring 14 points each, while Hannah Shugart had 11. For Corrigan, Amiyah Jones had three points, Jonaisha Love and Paige Standley both had a bucket, and Kalyn Smith knocked down a free throw.

The coach said Huntington, Central, Central Heights and Diboll would be favorites for the playoffs, along with Pineywoods Christian Academy.

IMG 2617BRIAN BESCH | PCE players defending the net

“That is the most athletic Central Heights team that we have played,” Hall said. “They always have good basketball IQ and good basketball teams, but now they are bringing athletes to it too. Huntington has dropped down (in classification) and they've got a D1 track recruit at point guard. She is all gas and no brakes, and she doesn't slow down even when she has the ball. She can go. I would say that they are probably the favorite to win district as long as she plays.”

Hall said his squad's attitude is what he enjoys most.

“Everything we asked them to do, they do. Everybody gets along, we have zero drama, and they play to the best of their ability. They are a fun group to be around. They are not the strongest basketball players right now, but if they keep that attitude and keep playing, they can learn basketball.”

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Too little too late (VIDEO)

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IMG 2610BRIAN BESCH | PCE Livingston’s Jon’Toyrian McNeal scored a game-high 27 points Tuesday.

Liberty versus Livingston Lady Lions

By Brian Besch

The Livingston Lady Lions suffered their second district loss in as many games Tuesday, as the Liberty Lady Panthers escaped Polk County with a 45-42 win.

“It was rough,” Livingston coach Brittany Jefferson said. “I at least expected the girls to come out here and do what they were supposed to do. They came out and, just to be honest, they had no energy whatsoever. We wouldn't box out, we didn't get rebounds, the turnovers with the guards that I had — we were just giving the ball straight to Liberty. They just didn't do what they were supposed to do.”

The game Tuesday was a case of too little too late. The defending district champions seemingly picked up their intensity and focus in spots, but could not sustain a high level of play. A fourth-quarter comeback attempt fell short.

Leading 9-4 in the first quarter, Liberty went on a 12-3 run and eventually took a 22-19 advantage into the break at the half. The Lady Panthers came out of the locker room and put another eight points up before Livingston answered.

“The last two minutes of the game, they wanted to pick it up and tried to pick it up, but it's too late,” Jefferson said. “You are supposed to do that at the beginning. When you are trying to do that in the last two minutes of the game and you are down by six or eight points, it's too late. You should have just picked it up at the beginning. If they would have played like they did in the last two minutes, then it probably would have been an easy win. Since they didn't do that, it just didn't happen.”

Liberty’s Madyson Goudeau led the Lady Panthers with 15 points, Drelyn Willis had 13, and Reese Evans added eight. For Livingston, Jon’Toyrian McNeal had 27 points, Z Garner finished with eight and Natavia Davis had seven.

Livingston is now winless in two district games, dropping the first to district favorite Hardin-Jefferson in a lopsided 103-10 blowout.

“I would have assumed that, hopefully, we would have been 1-1 now,” the coach said. “We just have to take it as it is and, hopefully, they'll learn from it. If not, it is going to be a long, long, long season.”

Jefferson most wants her team to be able to take care of the ball. The team had problems setting up and executing an offense because of an inability to control the basketball.

The Lady Lions’ next opportunity to get in the district win column will be Dec. 18 on the road at Hamshire-Fannett.

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Pirates take defensive struggle

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IMG 2403 BRIAN BESCH I PCE Freshman Josh Perkins shoots for two of his 20 points Wednesday.

By Brian Besch

LEGGETT - Leggett hosted their neighbors to the north Wednesday, defeating Corrigan-Camden 50-38.

Josh Perkins led all scores with 20 and Chase Parrish had 19 to pace the Pirates. The freshman Perkins was lethal in the second half, pouring in 18 points in just two periods.

“He is going to be a scorer,” Pirate coach Sean Edwards said of Perkins. “He was a little nervous the first couple of games, but he has gotten better. When we played (Hull-) Daisetta, he did real good and he is stepping up his game. It's going to be completely different this season because we have to live and die by defense, but we have to play more half-court offense as well. “We have to be patient with everybody sharing the ball more too this year.”

The Pirates have put together back-to-back victories after beginning the season 0-3, while playing up in classification.

The first quarter of Wednesday’s game began a little slow at 4-2 in favor of the ‘Dogs, as both offenses needed time gain traction.

“We started off slow and a little sluggish. With (a first-quarter score of) 4-2, I thought we were at a little dribblers game,” Edwards said. “I think it was more of nerves than anything, but we'll be fine. I am happy with how we are tough and running help more half-court offense. We need to work on taking care of the ball. We had 22 turnovers again, and we can't go far with that.”

A 12-point run in the second quarter allowed the Pirates to take an 18-13 lead into the half. Leggett would score 17 and 15 in the final quarters to further distance themselves and take the game.

For Corrigan, Tra Thomas had a dozen points and Tony Cooper had nine.

“Tonight wasn't one of our better games,” new Corrigan-Camden coach Andrew Kirkendoff said. “I thought we could have handled the ball better. There are a lot of things that we have to work on, but I think coming to a program that really never had a focus on basketball, we're just trying to build a program. It is a day-by-day process and I think by district we’ll be ready.”

The Bulldogs are currently 0-3 on the young season, with a loss to Palestine Westwood by seven and Groveton by four.

“I think we are small, so we have to work together,” Kirkendoff said. “As you can see, we had trouble rebounding. I've got a couple of guards that can play and I think when they understand the game better and understand what I'm trying to do in the system, I think will be a whole lot better.”

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