By DAVID HUNTER, The Cannon Courier
The Cannon County girls' basketball team have enjoyed a lot of recent success, including three trips to the TSSAA state tournament during the past four years. However, the Lionettes had to replace four starters, including Miss Basketball and current MTSU freshman Abbey Sissom before this season.. CCHS entered the District 8-AA tournament as the underdog and No. 5 seed.
"We are really excited, because I feel like we got a second chance at winning the district," Senior CCHS Erin McReynolds said. "We are the No. 5 seed, and it gives us an opportunity to get back up there and something to win and work for."
Coming into the tournament, CCHS had lost two out of its last three games during the regular season. However, they knew once the postseason started, they had a chance to compete for another district title.
"It will take all of us working together and do not break down on the floor," McReynolds said. "All of us have to talk, and pick each other up when we get down. I think we all need to focus really hard and be able to go forward and get to where we want to be."
The Lionettes started the tournament as the No. 5 seed against the No. 4 seed Smith County in the first round. A lot was on the line for both teams with a win automatically put them in the region tournament, while a loss ends their season. Coming into the matchup, CCHS had lost both regular season meetings to SCHS. However, the Lionettes pulled off a 62-48 win to keep its season going on Feb. 13.
"I am proud of our kids and proud of the effort," CCHS head coach Michael Dodgen said. "I am happy for the seniors they get their 20th win of the year and get to go to the region again. That is a big accomplishment, especially in District 8-AA."
The Lionettes were led by Autumn King with 21 points, while Kellie Davis added 17, and Kristin Hale had 12 in the win, which saved their season.
The following night, CCHS faced the top seed, Livingston Academy, in the district semifinals. The Lionettes knew its place in the regional was secure, but they wanted to prove itself against the top teams in the district. Just like its previous opponent in the district tournament, CCHS had lost both regular season matchups to the Lady Wildcats.
However, when it counted the most, CCHS pulled off the upset in thrilling fashion after LA missed a shot at the buzzer. The Lionettes held on for the 50-49 win, and they advanced to the District title game tonight at 7:30 p.m. weather permitting in Cookeville against Murfreesboro Central Magnet to face High School Heisman candidate Claudia Smith.
"It is going to be big for us," Dodgen said. "It is another team we have not beaten during the regular season, and we just got to keep working and keep getting better every night. I cannot say enough about these kids. They bought in to what we wanted to do, and we changed some stuff up. It worked for us, and I am proud of our kids for what we did. We just got to keep getting better, and we get to host a region game next Friday, which is huge for our program."
CCHS was led by Kendra Maynard with 17 points, while McReynolds added 14 in the upset win