By Mac McLeod,
âThis is my last year and I don’t remember playing well at Pickett County,â said Nick Choate of Livingston Academy. âThey seem to be playing well there, but we just can’t adapt to that gym. We will do better when they come to us.
Choate was right in explaining the performance of the Livingston boys in Byrdstown. Over the past three years, the Bobcats have had complete control, winning all three games. Livingston has a home win.
Last Tuesday night, November 30, Amonett’s boys Will and Jacob, along with Hunter and Heath Wattenbarger combined for a total of 54 points, just two short of the Bobcats’ total of 56, to give Livingston a 56-45 loss, the Wildcats 4th of the season against 2 wins.
“I don’t remember taking a team to Pickett County and not having reservations about the outcome,” said LA head coach Jimmy Miller. âMaybe when all these Amonetts graduate our chances will improve,â he added with a big smile.
That’s pretty much the whole story of last week’s contest, as the Bobcats, so familiar with their home shooting conditions, took a 13-10 lead in the first quarter, hit an 11 run. -0 midway through the second quarter for a 29-21, then held back any attempt to come back from the Wildcats late for the win. The victory left the home team at 4-1.
âI’m like Nick,â Livingston’s Isaac Story added. âThere’s something about the place that’s either mental or physical, maybe even both, that makes it hard for us to score. It’s a good team, and a very good home team.
Livingston also had some fouling issues in the third quarter, which didn’t help matters much either. Hayden Ledbetter and Story each collected their third personal error with almost six minutes left in third frame.
And all the while the Amonett’s and the Wattenbarger’s were enjoying the ride. Zach Amonett led the pace with 15 points while Jacob was good for 10. Hunter Wattenbarger had 15 and Heath 12.
âThese guys are good shooters, at least in their shoes,â Choate added. âIt could be a different story with us. “
Ledbetter led LA’s offense with 14 points and Choate added 10. Story had 7, Dawson Simmons finished with 6, Daniel Bilbrey 3, Easton Goodpasture and Brodey Coffee 2 each and Ayden Coffee 1.
The Livingston Academy will host Pickett County on Thursday, December 16.
Things were quite different when the Wildcats played their home opener on Saturday night with a good home crowd against a young and inexperienced Lions team from Lighthouse Christian.
In a game that quickly escalated, the Livingston boys increased their record to 3-4 with a convincing 77-34 victory.
âI guess when you start hitting three pointers you’re supposed to keep shooting at them until they stop coming in,â began LA sophomore Wyatt Hargis. âTonight, in the third quarter, they started to fall and I continued to shoot them. It was fun.”
Hargis hit his first around the middle of the quarter, then another and another until he got four threes with a two-run basket. At that point, the game was completely out of reach for visitors.
Choate had a good 10 point run in the second quarter and Bilbrey got hot with three points in the second with three. Ayden Coffee, Tucker Miller and Story all had at least one three-point pointer in the game.
âThey were quite difficult to understand,â Choate explained. âThey didn’t play in a very organized way, kind of like the sandball game, and once we figured out how to handle them it wasn’t that hard. It was fun and everyone got to play, and it was huge. Everyone wants to play, and with all the practice they put in, they all deserve to play.
While the offense was fun, the LA defense also played a big part in the victory, forcing a poor shot selection by the Lions and then controlling the boards. Livingston topped the Lions 27-12, with Goodpasture leading the way with 8.
On a more serious note, Ledbetter, who has plagued with bad knee and leg problems his entire career, came in limping in the second quarter and was out the rest of the game, but explained that it wasn’t nothing serious, just “muscle pull”.
Hargis led LA with 18, followed closely by Bilbrey with 17. Choate had 12, Story added 9, Cole Harris had 8, Ayden Coffee 4, Miller and Jake Hughes 3 each and Peyton Looper 1.
Livingston Academy will take a break and then resume operations on Tuesday, December 14 in Macon County.