By CHIP CIRILLO, Courier Correspondent
MANCHESTER - Starting the basketball season with three straight road games hasn't bothered Cannon County's girls one bit.
The Lionettes, who return only one starter from last year's Class AA tournament team, improved to 3-0 with a 66-53 win at Coffee County on Friday night.
"With a young team it's tough, but it's only going to make us better," Lionettes coach Michael Dodgen said. "This team - every game we're getting better and we're starting to do things to get ourselves going."
Kellie Davis, a junior wing, scored 19 points to lead four Cannon County starters in double figures. Autumn King added 16, Erin McReynolds had 14 and Kendra Maynard pitched in with 11.
Coffee County (2-2) cut the deficit to 45-42 at the end of the third quarter, but the Lionettes outscored the Lady Red Raiders 21-11 the rest of the way.
"We just had to come together and kind of settle down," Davis said. "We had to slow the ball down and just get a composure about ourselves, and not let them speed us up and get us off our game."
Coffee County point guard Sarah Brown put on a shooting clinic with a career-high seven 3-pointers, leading her team with 25 points.
"I just really wanted to beat Cannon because last year they beat us both times," said Brown, a 5-foot-5 senior who also plays wing. "I just wanted to beat them really bad. They can drive really good. We have to work on our defense."
Coffee County connected on nine 3-pointers.
"(Sarah) has definitely got the ability to light it up," Lady Raiders coach Herb Horton said. "We've just got to do a better job of getting shots for her. She's a good shooter."
Cannon County led most of the way, including a 27-23 edge at halftime.
The Lionettes hit 20 of 28 from the free throw line while the Raiders were 7 of 16.
"We took it really strong to the rim and I think we just did a good job at that," said King, a 5-foot-8 junior post. "We really followed through on our foul shots."
Cannon County starts three seniors, but only one has played a lot.
The Lionettes played Warren County in their home opener Monday after press time.
Cannon County hosts Nashville Central Christian on Friday and Cookeville on Saturday in the Mitch Wilson Classic.
Cannon Co. 16 11 18 21--66
Coffee Co. 13 10 19 11--53
Cannon Co.--Kellie Davis 19, Kendra Maynard 11, Kristen Hale 4, Haylee Mooneyham 2, Erin McReynolds 14, Autumn King 16.
Coffee Co.--Sarah Brown 25, Holli Smithson 2, Sydney Pearson 7, Aerial Williams 2, McKenzie Morgan 3, Tyger Fenton 7, Bailey Morgan 1, Cameron Davis 6.
3-pointers: CaC --Davis 2, Maynard 1, King 1. CoC--Brown 7, Pearson 1, M. Morgan 1.