Lions Battle Hard But Get Burned By Dragons
TONY STINNETT, Courier Co-Editor
Saturday, December 10, 2011 7:05 am
JAMESTOWN - Cannon County put together one of its better performances but the Lions did not finish the job in a hard-fought 61-51 setback against York here Friday.
The back-and-forth game saw the Lions clinging to a 40-39 lead heading into the final quarter but the last stanza was the worst of the game as they suffered the road setback.
Cannon County (3-6, 1-2) had a great chance to put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season but the Lions connected for just five field goals and were guilty of costly turnovers down the stretch.
"I'm proud of the overall effort and the way our kids battled and gave themselves a chance to win a tough road game," Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. "We put together three pretty solid quarters. We had a lull there in the first, but we overcame that. We couldn't overcome our fourth-quarter mistakes."
Cory Henley led Cannon County with 13, Jarrett Melton scored 11, Tanner Larson eight and Brad Hutchins six. Hutchins also had nine rebounds.
Cannon County led 42-39 after Henley opened the fourth quarter with a short jumper. The Lions were guilty of turnovers on consecutive possessions and York made them pay both times to take a 43-42 lead with just under six minutes remaining.
York had stretched the advantage to four before Dalton Ryan powered in a shot on a nice assist from Melton to pull the Lions to within 46-44 and it seemed the stage was set for a pulsating finish.
The game had featured seven lead changes and six ties to that point.
"Players from both teams were making big shots and hustle plays and it was a competitive high school basketball game," Rigsby said. "I was proud of the way our kids answered. They responded to York's early run and they answered with several big shots throughout the game. We just didn't do enough at the end."
Cannon County went cold from the field. The Lions were 2-of-9 over the next three minutes as York slowly stretched the lead to 58-49, the largest for either team to that point, on Gavin Cook's three-point play with 1:25 remaining.
York took advantage of charity. The Dragons outscored Cannon County by 15 at the free-throw line. York was 19-of-28 from the charity stripe. Cannon County only made it to the line six times, connecting on six. The Lions did not get into the bonus in the second half.
Cannon County fell behind early, 6-2, but Melton and Larson sparked an 8-2 run the remainder of the first quarter. Larson's layup capped the run as the first quarter ended in a 10-10 deadlock.
York shot the lights out in the second quarter, connecting on its first four shots of the quarter and 11-of-16 in the first half. The Lions stayed in the game by hitting 50 percent (6-of-12) of their second-quarter shots. Melton scored the final four points of the quarter for the Lions as they trailed 27-23 at the half.
Momentum seemed to turn in Cannon County's favor in the third quarter when Henley knocked down two 3-pointers, Melton connected for a trey and the Lions shot 60 percent on their way to taking a 40-39 lead into the final quarter.
Melton's 3-pointer with 3:20 remaining gave Cannon County its largest lead, 38-31, but the Lions managed just one field goal the remainder of the quarter and York finished on a 6-2 run to stop the run.
"Looking back on it, that was a turning point," Melton said, referring to Cannon County's inability to extend the seven-point lead. "We had a good run there and pushed the lead out to seven but we made a couple mistakes and they capitalized."
The Lions will play host to rival DeKalb County Tuesday.