TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor
McMINNVILLE - Rhea County threw an array of defenses at Cannon County in the semifinals of the Sun Drop Romp Christmas Tournament.
Try as it may, Rhea County had no answer for the Lionettes potent combination of Abbey and Abby.
Abbey Sissom and Abby Jakes combined for 59 percent of Cannon County’s scoring as the Lionettes captured a 64-41 win.
Sissom poured in a game-high 20 points and Jakes knocked down six 3-pointers on her way to 18 points as the Lionettes used a big second half to pull away.
“Rhea County is physical and played hard,” Cannon County Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. “They showed us a lot of things defensively. They played man, zone, box-and-one, so we had a lot to adjust to throughout the game. (Jakes and Sissom) had great shooting games and our defense was good.”
Jordan Hollis added nine points and was strong defensively and did a good job running the offense to help spark the Lionettes.
Cannon County (12-1) led 31-21 at the half but Rhea County closed to win six midway through the third quarter and appeared to be gaining momentum.
That was until Cannon County answered with a 20-5 run over the next six minutes to pull away.
Several different players came up with clutch shots during the run but the play of Macy Clements, Madison Walkup and Arianna Kailiponi off of the bench paid major dividends, particularly on the defensive end.
“We did get a good spark off of our bench but that has been pretty consistent for us during the first part of the season,” Dodgen said. “We just have to continue working and improving because there are still things we can continue to do better.”
Ashley Basham, Emily Pemberton and Rebekah Faulkner all provided quality minutes and did a good job manning the paint during the Lionettes’ decisive run.
Their defense was crucial in sparking runs and limiting opportunities for Rhea County (13-2).
Cannon County seized control early, jumping out to a 20-9 lead after the first quarter; and maintained a 31-21 advantage at the half. The Lionettes turned up the defensive intensity to seal the victory in the second half.