Livingston outlasts DHS

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The 8-6 Demopolis High Tigers’ had everything going for them Friday night for three solid quarters against the defending 4A state champion Livingston High Cougars, but when the buzzer sounded after 32 minutes of play the Tigers were left dazed and confused with a 53-48-area loss.

Head coach Jesse Bell made it very clear last week that in order to win Friday night in Livingston the Tigers would have to do three things.

One-Keep the turnovers out of double-digits. “We cannot expect to win if we turn the ball over like we have been doing lately,” Bell said.

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The Tigers finished with 17 turnovers Friday night with 12 coming in the second half alone.

Two-play aggressive defense and beat the Cougars with strong board play. “We have got to do a better job of rebounding. Stop slapping at the ball and go up with two hands and gain possession,” Bell said. The Tigers were out-rebounded 33-15.

Three- keep the ball out of the hands of Livingston’s Cory Speight and make him shoot the jumper from the outside. “He is their go to player and we have to keep him from going to the basket,” Bell said. Speight collected 24 points on the night, shot the jumper twice and gained 11 of 24-total points from the free throw line.

The Tigers’ objective was clearly not met Friday night and now the once 2-0 Tigers are now 2-1 in area play with three tough area match-ups left to go this week.

The Tigers controlled everything, including Speight for most of the night. They jumped out to a 9-point lead to end the first period, had just 5 turnovers by the half and were in position to make the kill by the end of the third period leading 42-39.

But with 4:27 left in the fourth period the Tigers decided to throw in the towel and stop playing altogether. For that is the only possible explanation to why the Tigers gave up a 3-point lead to trail by 7, turn the ball over 4 times and commit 12 unnecessary team fouls that resulted in 12 easy points for the Cougars.

Playing on the road is often difficult and calls don’t always go your way, but the officiating at this game is not the issue. The Tigers sent the Cougars to the line 45 times Friday night, giving the Cougars 25 of their 53 total points. Speight, who racked up 24 points on the night, was sent to the line 10 times in the fourth period alone.

Lequintin Lomax was the only Tiger in double figures Friday night with 19 points and 3 rebounds. Lomax was impressive throughout the first half and helped the Tigers take a 20-11 lead in the first period by collecting 12 points. For the Cougars it was Speight who lead the way with 25 points on the night with 11 of those points coming from the line.

The Tigers must now prepare for three tough area games this week with Greensboro, Greene County and Livingston