By TONY STINNETT/Courier Sports Editor
Despite trying its best to give the game away, Cannon County managed to escape with a gut-wrenching 56-54 win against York at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Friday (Dec. 7).
The Lions (7-2, 2-1) picked up a crucial District 8-AA home win but displayed an inability to finish the game strong and, in the end, was fortunate to earn the victory.
Garrett McReynolds earned his first start and tied for team-high scoring honors with 10. Cory Henley also scored 10 points for the Lions. Alex Davenport finished with eight and Tommy Mitchell scored six.
The Lions trailed 50-46 after John McBride connected for a 3-pointer with 3:44 remaining.
McReynolds stepped up with two clutch free throws to cut the deficit to 50-48 with 3:32 remaining. The Lions turned up the defense and generated consecutive turnovers. They converted the turnovers into points with exceptional open-court play. Davenport finished the first turnover with a layup to tie the score, 50-50, with 3:30 remaining. Mitchell then used cat-quick reflexes to collect a steal and he went coast-to-coast for the layup-and-one to push the lead to 53-50 with 2:50 remaining.
Corbin Patton converted two free throws to pull York to within 53-52 with 2:38 remaining, but Melton made a beautiful baseline pass to Davenport, who knocked down the field goal to push the lead back to three.
The Dragons closed to within 55-54 with 1:31 remaining and set the stage for an amazing stretch of poor decisions.
Cannon County had possession and a one-point lead with less than 1:15 remaining and managed to misfire on two ill-advised field goal attempts and turn the ball over in a 10-second span.
York had a good look at the go-ahead basket but misfired. Cannon County came away with a rebound with less than 30 seconds remaining but again turned the ball over to York.
McBride misfired and Davenport cradled the rebound. Henley was fouled and knocked down one-of-two free throws to extend the lead to 56-54 with seven seconds remaining and the Lions held off York’s final attempt.