BAXTER - Cannon County came out with a spirited approach in its District 8-AA opener at Upperman but the Lions spunk was quickly thwarted when Upperman took over midway through the first quarter and rolled to an 84-33 win here Friday (Dec. 2).
Offensive woes and turnovers continue to plague the young Lions (2-5, 0-1), who were led by Jarrett Melton's eight points. Justin Tobin, Cody Young, Cody Petro and Brad Hutchins each scored four.
"We came out playing pretty well but as soon as we had some breakdowns Upperman got going and we offered very little resistance," Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. "Upperman has a good basketball team and they are always tough to be at their place, but we didn't give ourselves much of an opportunity after the first portion of that first quarter."
The game was tied 8-8 midway through the quarter as the Lions controlled the pace, worked for high-percentage shots, and played good defense. All of that changed in the final four minutes of the quarter, which would become a prelude of things to come.
The Bees (4-2, 1-0) outscored the Lions 16-2 over the remainder of the quarter to seize momentum and stake claim to a 24-10 lead by the end of the first stanza. Giving up offensive rebounds and missed defensive assignments by the Lions helped key the run.
Perhaps Rigsby didn't see the bombshell coming, but he did have a good idea of his team's focus the day prior to the game.
"We spent most of Thursday running (the players) and talking to them about maturity instead of preparing for Upperman because we had issue to address," Rigsby said. "Our focus was not what it needed to be Thursday when we need to be preparing for a big district game on the road and that showed in this game. It is part of a young team that is maturing and growing and they learned a painful lesson about the importance of focus and responsibility here tonight."
Upperman's balanced scoring attack was led by Seth Farriss and David Eldridge with 14 each. Five Bees reached double figures.
Cannon County, on the other hand, continued to struggle to find offensive consistency. The Lions have scored less than 40 points in four of their seven games.
The Lions return to action when they face Central Magnet in 8-AA action at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Tuesday.