By DAVID HUNTER, The Cannon Courier
The Cannon County boys' basketball team were looking to continue its historic season last week during the District 8-AA tournament in Cookeville.
Coming into the postseason, the Lions had an 11 game winning streak. However, this team had bigger dreams this season, including competing for championships and a berth to the TSSAA state tournament.
The Lions came into the tournament with a 24-5, 13-1 record, and a regular season district championship. However, CCHS was looking for more success this season. Their impressive record and district title earned them a first-round bye and an automatic berth into the upcoming region tourn-ament next week.
CCHS opened against a tough Smith County team, who did not have an impressive record, but played them close in the last regular season meeting.
"There is a lot of good teams in it, and we are not overlooking anyone," CCHS senior Josh Ruehlen and District 8AA Co-Player of the Year said. "We got to take it one game at a time, because our district is so competitive."
In many sports during the postseason, the intensity picks up and the games become more competitive regardless of how the teams did in the regular season. Since, the Lions come in as the top seed, they know they will get the other team's best shot every night.
"These guys have maintained the energy and intensity all year from the first practice," CCHS head coach Matt Rigsby said before practice last week. "That is the beauty of this bunch. They feed off of each other, and when we step on the court they are ready to go. Our guys will be ready to play, and they understand and it is postseason and it is time to go."
Ruehlen added, "We try to play with intensity every night. We have a high pressure defense, so we have to bring intensity every night, so nothing should change for us."
SCHS took an early advantage with an eight point lead, and it led for most of the game until CCHS hit a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to take the lead for the first time in a long time. The Lions held on for the 45-43 win and they advanced to the district title game tomorrow night against Livingston Academy at 7:30 p.m. in Cookeville.
The Lions swept the two-game regular season series against the Wildcats this year, but one of them was a one point victory back in January.
Ruehlen had 12 points, and Marshall McReynolds added nine in the comeback victory. With the win, the Lions have earned a home region tournament game next Saturday with a time and opponent to be determined at a later date.