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Livingston ready to play their style of hoops

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
March 6, 2004
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. The Livingston Cougars entered the finals of the AHSAA Class 4A Boys State Championship with the type of game they wanted to physical.
The Cougars clawed and scratched for 34 rebounds, and they bulled their way to 21 second-chance points in a 55-49 win over Jacksonville on Wednesday.
Even better for Livingston, the officials let the two teams play whistling just 34 fouls in the semifinal game.
Livingston's rough-and-tumble style will be pitted against Central-Coosa in the 4A State title game at noon today at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. The Central-Coosa Cougars advanced to the finals with a 49-43 victory over Desheler on Wednesday.
It is the third straight appearance in the championship game for Livingston, and the team will be trying to capture a second consecutive title.
Livingston defeated Beauregard last year 80-65, and in 2002, Central-Hayneville topped Livingston 64-59.
Central-Coosa was the last team to win back-to-back 4A state titles, in 2000 and 2001, and in order to keep that distinction, the Central-Coosa Cougars will need to find away to slow down Livingston's Corey Speights.
Livingston's senior guard tallied a game-high 19 points against Jacksonville, as the opposing fans chanted "Ball Hog" every time he touched the ball on Wednesday.
While Speights produced on the offensive end of the floor, he also did more than his share of dirty work on the defensive end.
Speights blocked a shot and stole the ball twice in the game's final two minutes against Jacksonville.
Livingston will have to contend with another impressive guard in Central-Coosa's Fernando Edwards.
The senior point guard, who is listed at 5-foot-7, scored a team-high 17 points, and he tied for the team lead with six rebounds and added a game-high four assists against Deshler.
The Deshler and Demopolis girls teams will tip off the day of championship games at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in the Class 4A girls' title game at 10 a.m.
Ransay and Blount will meet in the Class 5A Girls Championship game at 2 p.m., and Athens takes on Butler for the 5A boys' title at 4 p.m.
At 6 p.m., Wenonah and Clay-Chalkville clash for the girls Class 6A crown, and Parker meets the winner of Friday's game between John-Carroll and LeFlore.