Tough District Gives Lady Cats Chance For Growth In 2019

When Leslie Riddle became the girls basketball head coaching position, Livingston Academy was the talk of the area as the dominant team.

Fast forward to 2019, and Riddle is quick to point out how much better the entire area is as a whole.

“When I first (took over), Livingston Academy had been to the State Tournament (multiple) years in a row, and that was just what they did,” Riddle said. “We haven’t been able to do that as much in the past five or six years because everyone else has gotten so much better.”

Riddle adds that Livingston Academy was THE program that everyone talked about back in the 90s, and how they are doing everything in their power to get back to that status.

“The kids are still great students and are all successful when they leave here,” Riddle said. “The wins and losses have possibly gone down in the past few years, and I think it’s because other people have gotten so much better.”

One key to the program getting back to the top is the pipeline of talent they have. With five middle schools feeding into the high school, Riddle says that having that much young talent is crucial to the program’s success.

“It’s of the utmost importance,” Riddle said. “A lot of people are successful with one feeder school because those students can learn the system before they get into the high school. There are advantages also with having elementary schools with great coaches…those kids compete so hard against each other that it makes them get better and better.”

While it may be considered an obvious factor for any successful team, Riddle believes the key to success for her squad this year will be how they work as a team.

“They’ve got to work together,” Riddle said. “We’ve got a lot of players that are very similar with very similar playing styles and abilities…I’m very excited about this group because they don’t seem to have any (selfishness) in their repertoire.”

What are Riddle’s goals for this season? Simple, they want to win.

“We’ve had a losing season for two years in a row, and I want a winning season,” Riddle said. “We’re not a losing program, and it’s been uncomfortable. I know we play in an extremely difficult district…I still want that winning season and that’s what we are shooting for.”

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