By TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor
From the opening tip it seemed Cannon County was going to be up for the challenge against District 8-AA contender Upperman in the league opener for both teams at Robert A. Harris Gymnasium Friday (Nov. 29).
The promise of the opening quarter quickly deteriorated as the game unfolded and the Lions (5-2, 0-1) suffered a 79-59 setback against the Bees. It was the second straight loss for Cannon County following a 5-0 start.
“Upperman is a very good basketball team and they will be a contender for the district title,” Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. “We realized that coming in and we realized the challenge but the problem I have is with our play. I’m more concerned about what our players are doing at this time.”
Jarrett Melton led Cannon County with 12 points. He was the only Lion in double figures. Tanner Larson and Zach Higgins each scored eight, followed by Ethan Bryson with six.
Cannon County has not been getting consistent production from its starters during this two-game funk.
The Lions came out strong against Upperman (5-2, 1-0) and answered the Bees basket for basket. The Bees led 19-17 after an exciting first quarter but it went downhill from there for the Lions.
Cannon County managed just 13 points after the first quarter outpouring, but Upperman continued to pile it on, scoring 21 points in the second quarter to build a 40-30 halftime lead.
The game still appeared to be within reach but the Bees put on a long-range shooting exhibition in the third quarter, using a 25-13 run to open a 65-43 lead.
“When a team has the shooters Upperman has you can’t lose them,” Rigsby said. “That happened too much and when it did Upperman’s shooters did what good shooters geneally do - they hit the open looks. We have to get back to being solid and doing what we do well.”
Joseph Jones led Upperman with 18 points.