SANDESTIN, Fla. - One day after Colin Jones' 3-pointer beat the buzzer to lift Cannon County to a last-second win, the Lions failed to cash in on the game's final shot in a 59-58 setback against Paxton (Fla.) in the Sandestin Beach Basketball Classic Thursday.Shaq Johnson, who scored a game-high 31 points, hit one of two free throws to give Paxton a 59-58 lead with 9.4 seconds remaining. Cannon County had a good look at the potential game-winner but Cody Ruehlen's short jumper wouldn't fall.
"When Colin hit the shot (Wednesday) it was a heartbreaker for our opponent and tonight it was for us," Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. "I'm proud of our kids. It was a close game against a very good team with a great player (Johnson). We got the lead in the third quarter but they made a run and came back because they made contested shot after contested shot."
All-Tournament selection Justin Davenport led Cannon County (11-6) with 23 points. Davenport scored 20-plus in three of the four games played at the Classic. Jared Nave scored 12 points and added seven rebounds, and Ruehlen tallied 10 points for the Lions.
The consolation game for fifth place was nip-and-tuck from the outset, but Cannon County carried a 40-35 lead into the fourth quarter and the outlook improved when the Lions increased their advantage to 11 with 3:55 remaining.
That's when Paxton began its run. Johnson's back-to-back 3-pointers keyed the late surge. Cannon County missed four free throws in the final two minutes, including consecutive misfires with 45 seconds remaining.
The game was tied 58-58 with 20 seconds remaining and Paxton in possession. The Lions were called for a foul inside of 10 seconds and Paxton made good on its opportunity.
Despite the tough loss, Rigsby said a 2-2 week against good competition was a win-win for the Lions.
"Overall, we played much better for the week and we are playing our best basketball right now," Rigsby said. "We didn't get the result we wanted at the end but we were in all the games and we played good team defense for the most part. It's good to be playing our best as we head into the meat of our district schedule. This was a tough loss but we our playing our best basketball and it has to carry over into the second half of the season."