By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County’s pivotal league game against Murfreesboro Central not only pitted two of the top teams in District 8-AA, but also the state last Tuesday (Jan. 21).
The No. 3-ranked Lionettes grabbed momentum early and maintained it throughout during a 62-51 win against No. 9 Central Magnet at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium.
The Lionettes (23-2, 8-1) remained in sole possession of first place in the league standings and completed the season sweep of Central.
“That’s a good basketball team and we had to defend our home court,” senior Rebekah Faulkner said. “Central is playing well and they are one of the top teams in our district so we knew we were in for a tough game.”
MTSU signee Abbey Sissom led the Lionettes with a game-high 26 on the strength of six 3-pointers.
Her play was complimented by the strong performance turned in by Faulkner, who scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots. She was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Perhaps she was motivated going against Central standout Ola Obi, who did not play when Cannon County dealt Central a 69-41 setback earlier in January.
Obi, the talented post, was a factor with 20 points; however, Faulkner more than held her own.
“Rebekah had a great game,” Lionettes head coach Michael Dodgen said. “She played really strong against one of the more talented post players in our district.”
Macy Clements added eight points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Madison Walkup (6), Kelli Davis (5) and Erin McReynolds (5) also factored into the scoring for Cannon County.
The Lionettes grabbed control early when they jumped out to a 14-9 lead after the first quarter. They never trailed.
Cannon County maintained a double-figure lead at times of the second half and was never really threatened down the stretch.
Cannon County extended its lead to 45-36 at the end of the third quarter. The Lionettes were 5-of-9 from the field in the frame.
The Lionettes were an impressive 15-of-17 from the free-throw line to seal the victory.
“We just have to keep being consistent and finding ways to get better,” Dodgen said. “We face some good teams down the stretch.”