Lionettes advance into Region 4-AA finals
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SPARTA - Abbey Sissom scored a game-high 31 points and senior classmate Madison Walkup poured in 21 as the No. 2-ranked Lionettes thumped fellow District 8-AA foe Smith County, 79-52, in the Region 4-AA semifinals here Monday night. 

The Lionettes (32-3) stormed into the Region 4-AA championship game against rival Livingston Academy at White County High School Wednesday at 7 p.m. The win also assures Cannon County a berth in the TSSAA Class AA Substate game for the fourth time in five years under Head Coach Michael Dodgen. 

The winner of Wednesday's gigantic Region 4-AA title game will host a Class AA Substate game Saturday night. The loser will have to travel but the Lionettes are assured a berth regardless and are in Sweet 16 regardless. Saturday's Substate winners advance into the TSSAA Class AA state championships.

In addition to Sissom's 31 and Walkup's 21, junior Erin McReynolds netted 10 and played solid defense on Smith County standout Callie Hackett, who poured in 28; however, much of those were in the final quarter when the game was well out of reach.

Cannon County was clinging to a 14-10 first-quarter lead when Walkup scored eight straight points to stretch the lead to 22-10. From there, the Lionettes never saw their lead dwindle to less than 10 points as they controlled the game with stingy, tenacious defense and controlled the boards.

Walkup had one of her best games of the year in the biggest moment. She was 8-of-10 from the field and delivered clutch basket after clutch basket. Ditto for Sissom. The duo represented one-third of the District 8-AA first team. Sissom was MVP and Walkup was a member of the five-person first team. 

They played like women on a mission Monday.

"We were determined to win this game," Sissom said. "All day at school Monday we talked about how we were not only going to win, but we were going to win by 20 or more. We believed we were that much better than (Smith County) and we went out and showed it when it mattered most."

Kelli Davis (5), Autumn King (4), Macy Clements (4), Taylor Warren (3) and Rebekah Faulkner (2) also tallied for the Lionettes. Check for a full report of Monday's game Tuesday.


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