By TONY STINNETT
Sitting on the bench watching was tough for Abby Jakes as she sat out the 2011-12 season for personal reasons.
The Cannon County senior made a dynamic return to the hardwood with 18 points on the strength of four 3-pointers in the Lionettes’ 65-51 win against Cumberland County in the season opener Tuesday (Nov. 13).
Jakes, who also had a game-high five steals, was one of three Lionettes in double figures. Junior standout Abbey Sissom scored a game-high 21 points, dished out four assists and collected two steals. Junior Madison Walkup scored 17 points, collected seven rebounds, shared two assists and swiped a pair of steals.
“It was really exciting and nerve-wrecking being back out there,” Jakes said. “It feels great to be back out there playing with all my teammates.”
Lionettes Head Coach Michael Dodgen said Tuesday’s win against Cumberland County revealed a dynamic opposing coaches will find difficult to defend.
“Everyone is going to focus on (Sissom),” Dodgen said. “That’s the good thing about having a great player but it’s tough because (Sissom) gets everyone’s best shot. She is the subject of a lot of game plans. (Jakes) got a lot of open looks because of the attention (Sissom) drew against Cumberland County, and she knocked them down.”
Cannon County led 30-28 at the half but Jakes and Sissom combined for 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, to give the Lionettes a 53-37 after three quarters.
Jakes scored 11 in the frame on 4-of-5 shooting (3-of-4 3-pointers). She connected on four straight field goals. Sissom was 3-of-3 in the quarter.
Walkup scored 10 of her 17 in the second quarter to keep the Lionettes close. Jordan Hollis had five points and four assists. Ashley Basham finished with five rebounds, Rebekah Faulkner added six rebounds and three assists.