SANDESTIN, Fla. – Justin Davenport’s potential game-tying 3-poiner was just off the mark with less than 30 seconds remaining and Cannon County, forced to foul down the stretch, suffered a 64-57 setback to Mandeville (La.) High School in the opening game of the Sandestin Beach Basketball Classic Monday.
Davenport led Cannon County (9-5) with 22 points, followed by Colin Jones with 12 and Jared Nave added 11. Generally an outstanding free-throw shooting team, Cannon County’s inability to knock down charity tosses hampered its chances of success. The Lions were just 14-of-25 (56 percent) from the free-throw line.
“We came out ready to play and we did a good job early and throughout the game, but we killed ourselves at the free-throw line,” Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. “Mandeville is a quality team and that’s the type of competition you want to see in these tournaments. We had many opportunities to win the game but we couldn’t hit free throws and we had some mental lapses on the defensive end that hurt us.”
The Lions jumped out to an 11-6 lead but by the end of the first quarter the score was tied, 13-13. The Skippers (9-5) carried a 35-28 lead into the half, but Cannon County came out strong in the third quarter and regained the lead on numerous occasions. The see-saw affair saw Mandeville carry a 47-45 lead into the final quarter.
The teams battled possession for possession in the final eight minutes. Cannon County trailed 60-57 with 40 seconds remaining and possession of the ball. Davenport had a good look at the potential game-tying shot but it was off the mark. The Lions had to foul down the stretch and Mandeville sealed the tourney win by cashing in at the stripe.
Cannon County committed just 10 turnovers and held its own on the boards with 20 total caroms, led by Nave with five and Davenport with four. The Lions will play either Walton (Fla.) High School or Faith Academy (Mobile, Ala.) Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in an elimination game.
The Lionettes open tournament play against Paxton (13-1) Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.