CHAPEL HILL - Cannon County's strength was its weakness in a 51-37 loss at Forrest Tuesday night.
Holding a team to 51 points is going to result in success for the Lions most nights because of their high-octane offense and generally solid shooting, but they were 13-of-51 from the field, including 3-of-24 from beyond the arc, in a off night in Chapel Hill.
The 37 points were the fewest scored by the Lions in two-plus seasons under Head Coach Matt Rigsby, whose team suffered its first loss in seven outings.
"We are not good enough to overcome 13-of-51 from the field," Rigsby said. "Give Forrest a lot of credit. They played us tough man-to-man defense and they did an excellent job. I can't really say they shut us down because I felt like we were getting great looks. We just got in a hurry and rushed some things at times."
Justin Davenport and Jared Nave led the Lions with 13 points each. Cody Ruehlen (7) and Brian Cripps (4) were the only other Lions to get into the scoring column.
Cannon County led 12-10 after the first quarter and trailed 20-17 at the half after connecting on just 2-of-11 shots. Strong defense helped overcome the first-half offensive woes; however, the Lions never heated up in the second half.
The Lions mustered four field goals in the third quarter and were a dismal 3-of-18 in the fourth. Forrest slowly pulled away when Kyle Gugger went on a scoring spree with eight straight points in a 1:11 span midway through the third stanza. Gugger's 3-pointer with 4:36 remaining in the third provided a 31-21 lead, its largest of the game at that point.
Forrest, which connected on four 3-pointers in less than four minutes to start the third quarter, built as much as a 12-point lead in the third and stretched it to 16 in the fourth.
"We did some good things defensively but I'm frustrated because of the mental breakdowns," Rigsby said. "You are not going to get stops every trip down the floor and people are going to hit shots, but we are just staring at the ball and someone slips for a layup. That's can't happen, especially when you are shooting 13-of-51 from the field."
The Lions were solid at the free-throw line, connecting on all eight of their attempts. Meanwhile, Forrest was 11-of-26 at the stripe and shot 20 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Cannon County opens District 8-AA play against rival DeKalb County at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Satuday at 7:15 p.m.
Cannon County (37)
Justin Davenport 13, Jared Nave 13, Cody Ruehlen 7, Brian Cripps 4.