By TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County will play Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) in the quarterfinals of the TSSAA Class AA Girls State Championship at MTSU’s Murphy Center Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
The Lionettes (28-6) will be making their 11th state tournament appearance and second in the last three years under eighth-year Head Coach Michael Dodgen.
“I am just so proud of our team and these girls,” Dodgen said. “Anytime you can get to this point and you are still playing it’s a good thing. We will be facing a quality team in CAK but everyone is quality at this point.”
The Lionettes knocked off No. 3-ranked McMinn Central on the road in a Substate game Saturday (March 2) to reach the state tournament for just the second time since 1992.
CAK eliminated No. 1-ranked Grainger in its Substate game Saturday.
The other game in the Lionettes’ portion of the bracket pits No. 2 Covington against Macon County, which joins District 8-AA next season.
“We have a few days to prepare and find out what we can about CAK,” Dodgen said. “We know they have good size and they have two Division I prospects. They have a 6-foot-6 post player and they have a very good guard that has attracted a lot of attention. They have several good players, as do we, so we have a lot to get done in a short period of time.”
Cannon County has one TSSAA state championship to its credit - the 1989 Class AA Girls Championship.
“It’s exciting to be playing at this point in the season,” Lionettes senior Ashley Basham said. “Reaching the state tournament was a goal we set at the beginning of the season. We want to bring home the state title.”
The No. 6-ranked Lionettes are 7-4 in first-round games at the state tournament.
The Class AA semifinals are Friday at 4 and 5:30 p.m., respectively. The Class AA championship game is set for Saturday at 6 p.m. at Murphy Center.