SPARTA - Lindsey Reed played like a senior who was not ready to see her prep career end Wednesday.
As a result, Reed and the Lionettes assured themselves at least three more games and a berth in the Region 4-AA Tournament as a result of their 58-40 win against rival DeKalb County in the first round of the District 8-AA Tournament in Sparta.
Reed scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half, including 11 in the first quarter, to help spark the Lionettes (24-6), who will play Upperman in the 8-AA semifinals at White County High School Friday at 4 p.m.
Reed, who was 6-of-10 from the field and connected on three of her six 3-pointers, foiled DeKalb County's defensive strategy. The Lady Tigers opened with a box-and-one on Lionette leading scorer Abbey Sissom, who torched them for 28 in the previous meeting.
DeKalb County held Sissom scoreless in the first quarter, but Reed countered. Her opening act forced DeKalb County of its gimmick defense after the first quarter and Sissom went on to score a game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
"They were trying to make sure Abbey didn't get the ball early," Reed said. "I was able to step up but my teammates helped to get everyone open so I could take those shots. It was a real team effort. We know we can be the best team in this tournament."
Cannon County jumped out to a 19-5 first quarter lead and coasted to a 34-8 haltime advantage. The Lionettes were never threatened as they extended their win streak against DeKalb County to 32 and ended their rivals' season for the third straight season.
Cannon County Head Coach Michael Dodgen said he had cause for concern entering the game in the aftermath of what he called one of the worst practices of the season. Whatever concerns the veteran coach may have had were quickly erased as his focused team took care of business in workmanlike fashion.
"I give everyone of those girls credit," Dodgen said. "We had a horrible practice (Tuesday). It was one of the worst practices we have had all year so I was scared to death coming into this thing because I didn't know how we were going to play, but they were focused. I am really proud of our kids for stepping up and answering the challenge of doing what we needed to do."
The Lionettes blistered the nets for a scalding 54 percent clip (13-of-24) in the first half. Consequently, they only allowed three as the game got out of hand early. Joanna Young and Jordan Hollis were defensive stalwarts and helped spark the early blitz that helped erase DeKalb County.
Young netted six points for the Lionettes, who had nine different players score.