By TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County did not put together a complete game but its third quarter ambush was enough to turn back nemesis Upperman, 39-34, in the District 8-AA opener at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Friday (Nov. 30).
The Lionettes (7-0, 1-0) scored 46 percent of their offense in the third quarter. They scored more points in the third (18) than they did the entire first half (14) combined; and Cannon County almost scored more in the pivotal frame than they did the other three quarters combined (21).
Tied 14-14 at halftime, Cannon County stormed out of the locker room and produced a 18-9 run to secure a 32-23 advantage in front of a packed gynasium.
Abbey Sissom led Cannon County with 13 points. She also had four assists, six rebounds and two steals. Abby Jakes also reached double figures with 10 points.
Rebekah Faulkner tallied six points, three rebounds and two blocked shots. Ashley Basham was a strong defensive presence. She blocked three shots and had several deflections.
“We were able to defend our home court and that’s always good,” Cannon County Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. “We played hard in spurts but we didn’t play hard the entire game and that’s an issue in this district.”
Jakes and Faulkner spurred the third quarter run with 12 points between them. Jakes canned both of her 3-pointers in the frame and had eight points in the quarter. Cannon County was nursing a 25-21 lead late in the third quarter when Faulkner scored two baskets in a 54 second span to stretch the lead to 29-21. Jakes’ 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the Lionettes into the fourth quarter with a 32-23 edge.
It appeared Cannon County was well on its way after Sissom started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and followed with a layup to establish the biggest lead of the game for either team, 37-25, with 5:35 remaining.
Cannon County survived despite not hitting a field goal and going 2-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 5:35.
“In the last two minutes we missed six free throws and didn’t play well on defense,” Dodgen said. “We have to keep improving, which I believe we are. We just have to finish games.”