The Cannon Courier
The Cannon County High School basketball teams hit the road last week with two important District 8AA games at rival DeKalb County and at York Institute.
The Lionettes dropped their fifth game in row against the Lady Tigers, but they bounced back with a come from behind narrow win against the Lady Dragons a few nights later. The Lions lost both games, which extended their losing streak to five.
CCHS made the short trip to Smithville on Dec. 9 to face hated rival DCHS. Both squads fought hard, including starting out well, but it was not enough. The Lionettes blew a nine-point lead in the third quarter to fall, 51-44, while the Lions hung in with their foes only losing, 54-50.
"We told them it was a simple lack of belief in their abilities as individuals and collectively as a team," Lionettes head coach Jonathan Odom said after the game. "It is costing us games, and we got to start playing like a team that is capable of achieving the potential that we have instead of playing not to lose and playing like we expect to lose. Once that gets instilled, we are going to start to turn this thing around. I told them, it is not a question if we are going to. We are going to fix it, and we are going to get better."
Four nights later, CCHS finished out their district schedule of 2016 with the long drive to Jamestown to face York. The Lionettes finally broke their losing streak with a hard fought, 51-48, win, which was sealed late in the game with a put back off a missed CCHS free throw by freshman post player Anna Grace Sissom to give them the victory.
"One of their players fouled out, so they had a little bit of a shorter girl on me," Sissom said. "So, it sort of went over her head, and luckily I happened to be there to get it."
It was the first district win of the season by the Lionettes.
"I am really proud of my team, and the way we responded last night," Junior Post Player Maleah Scott said. "We really had some grit about us."
She finished with a game high 29 points in the win.
As for the Lions, the losing streak continued with a 64-50 loss to the Dragons. They also remained winless in the district.
"Friday night our play was absolutely inexcusable," Lions head coach Matt Rigsby said on Dec. 15. "For us to turn the ball over 26 times against an extended 2-3 zone that we had a day and a half of practice to prepare for. That simply cannot happen. Not taken away anything from DeKalb's team, they played their zone well, that is what they do. They executed what they do, so credit them. We just got to learn how to value the basketball a lot more than we did that night."
Rigsby continued, "I am proud of the guys to go on the road for a big district game, tough trip to Jamestown. We battled with York, we competed and we had guys step up at times, and fulfill their roles a little bit better than usual."
Both teams will now get a break from District action until Jan. 10, 2017 when they travel to Lafayette to face Macon County. However, CCHS will hard at work during the Holiday break starting on Dec. 20-22 in Sparta for the Sonic Shootout on the campus of White County High School.
Each squad hopes to use these next three games in three days as a chance to get better and most importantly have some positive momentum come to them.
Eight teams in both the Men's and Women's bracket will play three games no matter the results. The Lionettes open with a rematch from earlier this season against Cookeville at 5 p.m. on Dec. 20. CCHS fell to them on Nov. 25 at the Mitch Wilson State Farm Classic, 63-44.
If the Lionettes get revenge, they will play the winner of the Clarkrange/Bledsoe County game on Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. A loss to Cookeville puts them in the loser's bracket against the loser of the same game on Dec. 21 at 5 p.m.
Depending on how the Lionettes do in their first two games, they could play on Dec. 22 in their final game of the event either at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. or 8 p.m.
The other Women's' teams in the event include White County, Murfreesboro Central Magnet, MTCS and Trousdale County.
As for the Lions, they open the event on Dec. 20 against Trousdale County at 12:30 p.m. A win puts them in the winner's bracket against the winner of the White County/Tullahoma game on Dec. 21 at 12:30 p.m., while a loss to TCHS will put CCHS in the loser's bracket.