MURFREESBORO- Cannon County will face No. 2-ranked Elizabethton in the first round of the TSSAA Class AA Girls State Tournament at MTSU's Murphy Center Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
Six of the remaining eight Class AA teams were ranked in the final AP Class AA Top 10 poll. No. 8 Cannon County landed in a loaded half of the bracket that includes three other Top 10 teams - including No. 1 and No. 2.
The Lionettes are making first state tournament appearance since 1992 after dismantling East Hamilton, 73-41, in a Class AA Sectional at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Saturday. They are making their 10th state tournament appearance overall.
"Elizabethton is a tough draw but the draws are for everyone at this point," Cannon County Coach Michael Dodgen said. "Since March 6 of last year when we lost (to McMinn Central) in the Sub-state the girls have worked hard with a goal of playing in Murfreesboro this year. It has taken a lot of sweat and tears along the way but they have overcome a lot of adversity to reach this point. I certainly don't think they will be satisfied with just getting to the state tournament."
No. 1 McMinn Central (37-1) and No. 10 Lipscomb (26-6) are the other two teams in Cannon County's half of the bracket. They meet Thursday at 10 a.m. In the top half of the Class AA bracket, No. 6 Macon County (28-3) faces Manassas (27-7) and Pigeon Forge will play No. 7 Liberty (29-4).
Cannon County has three wins over Class AA ranked teams this year, beating No. 4 Livingston and No. 5 Upperman and handing No. 1 McMinn Central its only loss during a Thanksgiving Classic in Woodbury.
"We are all so excited to be going to state but we are not happy just to be going. We are going there to win it," said Union signee Emily Sissom, the team's leading scorer and Tennessee's all-time 3-point field goal leader. "We have worked so hard to reach this point and realize one of our goals. It feels so good to know we are going to be playing at Murphy Center this week."
The Class AA semifinals will be played Friday at 1 and 2:30 p.m., respectively, and the championship game is slated for Saturday at 4 p.m.