By TONY STINNETT/Courier Sports Editor
It only makes sense that Cannon County junior standout Abbey Sissom is a Class AA Miss Basketball Finalist for the second time in as many years.
The heralded guard was a finalist as a sophomore and has produced even better numbers in 2012-13 despite facing defenses and strategies designed specifically to stop her from impacting a game. She joins former Lionette standout Julie Powell as the only players in program history to be a Miss Basketball Finalist. Powell was a three-time finalist and won the award twice.
Sissom, the daughter of Gaylon and Suzette Sissom, joins McMinn Central's Elizabeth Masengil and Obion County's Brandi Goodman as this year's Class AA Finalists. Masengil won the award in 2012. The presentation will be given following the TSSAA Class AA State Championship game March 16 at MTSU's Murphy Center.
"It's a big honor and I couldn't do it without my teammates," Sissom said. "Without them I would be where I am. You never take this for granted because there are so many great players out there. The talent in Class AA makes it an even bigger honor to be nominated. The talent has picked up even more this year."
Sissom leads No. 6-ranked Cannon County (25-4) with 21.1 points per game, which also is tops in the area. She helped lead the Lionettes to the District 8-AA regular-season championship and was a unanimous choice for the league's Player of the Year. She also was named MVP in two holiday tournaments, including the Sun Drop Romp where she scored 43 points against Cookeville in the championship game.
"Abbey has had a great year and she certainly deserves to be a Miss Basketball Finalist," Cannon County Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. "She plays in the toughest Class AA district in the state (8-AA) and she faces defenses designed to stop her but she still gets it done. Abbey is more than a scorer, though. She does a lot to help our team enjoy success."
In addition to her scoring savvy Sissom also leads the Lionettes in assists with 4.1 per game. She has 119 total helpers this season, including 11 games with five or more and 16 games with four or more.
"Because Abbey attracts so much attention and you have to respect her as an outside shooter as well as when she drives, it opens up a lot for other players and Abbey has done a good job finding the open player," Dodgen said.
Sissom became a member of the program's 1,000-point club at the end of last season and she currently has 1,616 career points, which is seventh on the school's all-time scoring list.
A statewide committee of sportswriters selected winners based on performance during the 2012-13 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration.
High school head basketball coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists.