Lionettes Double Up White Co., 66-33
TONY STINNETT, Courier Co-Editor
Sunday, November 27, 2011 1:40 pm
The District 8-AA and Region 4-AA Tournaments are held at White County High School.
Odds are the Lady Warriors of White County are glad to be in Class AAA so they do not have to participate.
The Lionettes blew out to a commanding lead and never let up on the way to a convincing, 66-33, win against White County in the Mitch Wilson State Farm Thanksgiving Classic at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Saturday (Nov. 26).
Cannon County improved to 5-0, including 3-0 against Class AAA competition, in another dominating performance. Sophomore Abbey Sissom led the attack with 19 points, followed by Lindsey Reed with 14, Madison Walkup with 10 and Joanna Young with eight.
"We played as complete of a game as I have been around in a long, long time," said veteran Cannon County Head Coach Michael Dodgen. "We moved the ball, made the extra pass, played with our head up. It is the sign of a basketball team that is growing."
Focus, preparation and defense fueled the outcome of the most recent masterpiece as the Lionettes forced 28 turnovers, collected 23 steals and generated electric energy. Cannon County's smothering defense collected 23 steals, led by Reed's six. Young swiped five passes and Sissom added four steals.
Most impressive was how well Cannon County got its scouting report into the game considering there was virtually no practice time to prepare for the tradition-rich Lady Warriors.
"White County is a good basketball team," Dodgen said. "I think we did a good job of taking them out of what they want to do. This team does a really good job of focusing in and listening. This team is pretty mature in the fact they listen and they hear things."
Cannon County's defense was keyed by Jordan Hollis and Young's strong play on the perimeter, making it difficult for White County to get into its offense. When the Lady Warriors were able to run their sets, finding quality shots were nearly impossible against a smothering Lionette defense playing with a purpose.
"We feel like we are getting better each game," Hollis said. "Our defense is key. We take pride in our defense because it gets us going offensively. We are pretty strong all around and when we play good team defense like we did against White County then we can be a good team."
Young's defense on White County standout Loren Foster was critical. Foster, averaging 15 points per game coming into the contest, was completely shut down by Young. The Lionette senior stopper held Foster scoreless and allowed her to get off just one shot.
"The defensive effort was outstanding," Dodgen said. "This team came in real focused tonight. Joanna's defense on (Foster) was just solid and Jordan Hollis played her most complete game."
Cannon County, which shot just 38 percent (19-of-50) from the field, more than made up for it at the line. Sissom consistently beat her defender off of the dribble and took her to the rim, drawing fouls that led to a 13-of-15 effort at the free-throw line. The Lionettes hit their first 10 free throws as a team.
The Lionettes established themselves early when they jumped out to a 20-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. They took control in an impressive second quarter defensive display. Cannon County allowed just two second-quarter points and forced 12 White County turnovers to take a 32-10 lead into the half.
The lead would have been even more decisive had Cannon County been able to generate points off turnovers. The Lionettes scored eight points off of the 12 turnovers in the second stanza. They turned seven third-quarter turnovers into 15 points to build a 36-point lead, 57-21, by the end of the third quarter when Walkup keyed a 7-2 run.
Cannon County will face Class AAA foe Tullahoma in non-district action at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Tuesday before turning its attention to the District 8-AA opener at Upperman Friday. Tipoff for both games is 6 p.m.