TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor
Ashley Basham, 20, and Madison Walkup, background, provide the defense against a DeKalb County player during the renewal of their rivalry.
SMITHVILLE - Cannon County’s dominance of rival DeKalb County continued as the Lionettes rolled to a 70-38 win in front of a packed house here Tuesday (Dec. 11).
Abbey Sissom poured in 24 points and Abby Jakes finished with 17 as the Lionettes extended their win streak against DeKalb County to 33 straight. Cannon County improved to 10-0 overall and 4-0 in District 8-AA.
“We never take this game for granted,” Sissom said. “I would say they get our best shot because we never overlook DeKalb County.”
The Lionettes, who also got eight points from Rebekah Faulkner and six from Emily Pemberton, got off to a fast start.
Jakes hit the first two 3-pointer she took and Sissom scored the next five points. It was 11-0 in favor of Cannon County before the Lady Tigers finally scored. The Lionettes led 19-5 after the first quarter and stormed to a 40-19 halftime lead.
“We were focused and ready to play at the beginning,” Cannon County Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. “I was proud of how we came out and attacked them from the opening tip.”
That mindset; however, did not continue into the second half.
Cannon County seemed to get comfortable with its 21-point halftime lead and DeKalb County took full advantage.
The Lady Tigers initially started chipping away at the lead. Then it followed turnovers with baskets and eventually whittled the deficit to nine, 42-33, with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter.
Suddenly, DeKalb County was feeling as if the streak’s end may be near.
“We did not come out ready to play in the third quarter and I take full responsibility for that,” Dodgen said. “For whatever reason we didn’t come back out with the same mentality we had in the first half and that can not happen. When you have teams down you have to put them away.”
The Lionettes roared back in commanding fashion. They finished the half with a 10-0 run over the final 2:08 to take a 52-33 lead into the fourth quarter.
Jakes’ long 3-pointer initiated the run and stretched the lead to 45-33 with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter. Walkup followed with a layup on a nice assist from Sissom. Following a DeKalb miss, Sissom knocked down a 3-pointer and finished the quarter with a layup to turn the game back in Cannon County’s favor.
“We were able to turn things back around and get momentum on our side going into the fourth quarter,” Sissom said. “We let up early in the third quarter and it almost cost us. Fortunately we were able to turn it around but you don’t want to be in the that position.”
The Lionettes didn’t let up in the fourth quarter.
Jakes opened Cannon County’s scoring with a layup and Sissom followed with a 3-pointer. Pemberton then scored six straight points to push the lead to 63-36 and Cannon County rolled to the one-sided win.
The Lionettes remained tied with Livingston Academy for the top spot in District 8-AA.
“We learned a lesson here tonight,” Dodgen said. “We have played pretty good overall but I still don’t think we have played a complete game for four quarters. We continue to work to get better, and I see improvement game to game.”