By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
No. 8 Cannon County worked overtime to secure its first win against Livingston Academy since January 2004 but what a win it was
The Lions (20-3, 7-0) opened a two-game lead in the district standings at the halfway point.
Tanner Larson led the way with a powerful 18-point performance. Cory Henley added 15 and Jacob Nave added 10 for the Lions.
“We kind of got over the hump with this win,” Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. “We have not been able to beat Livingston Academy in recent years so this was a big step forward. These kids just want to win.”
The Lions seemingly had the game in hand with a 57-48 lead with 3:45 remaining. They had led by as many as 14.
But the Wildcats would not go quietly.
They continued to whittle away at the lead and tied it at 59-59 to force the extra period.
“That’s when I thought our guys showed a lot of character,” Rigsby said. “We let a lead get away from us and Livingston had some momentum but the guys dug deep and found a way to win.”
Henley’s free throws with 1:11 remaining in the extra frame provided the winning margin as the Wildcats misfired on two 3-point attempts in the final seconds.
Cannon County got off to a strong start in front of a partisan crowd and slowly pulled away as the game unfolded.
The Lions were controlling the game until the final minutes when the Wildcats mounted a furious rally.
“We knew they were not going to lay down,” Henley said. “We knew Livingston was going to make a run and they did. It was disappointing that they were able to overcome the lead and force overtime, but I’m proud of the way we stepped up in the overtime. This is a big win for us. They are all big at this point.”
The win enabled the Lions to open up a two-game lead with seven district games remaining.
Cannon County plays four of its remaining district games at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium.