By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
One day after Cannon County received its first state ranking in 15 years the Lions went out and played like a Top 10 team.
No. 10-ranked Cannon County (18-3, 5-0) started strong and never looked back on the way to an easy 76-30 road win at Central Magnet.
In fact, the Lions’ first-quarter output (21) was almost more than the Tigers produced the entire game.
“It was another solid defensive effort,” Lions Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. “I’m probably most proud of the fact that even when we got up our players kept playing hard. We never let up defensively because we had built a big lead.”
Cory Henley scored all of his game-high 23 points in the first half as the Lions vaulted to a 54-17 halftime lead. Henley was 9-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. He only took one shot after halftime.
A.J. Daniel and Jacob Nave each scored 10, Tanner Larson added nine and Tommy Mitchell and Josh Ruehlen each contributed seven. Eleven Lions scored.
“We are playing well and with a lot of confidence,” senior forward Tanner Larson said. “We believed we had a chance to be a very good team this year and, so far, we have played consistent and taken care of business.”
Central Magnet was limited to just 10 field goals against the Lions’ strong defense., including just two in the first half. The Tigers scored nine of their 30 points from the free-throw line.
The Lions, on the other hand, were clicking on all cylinders. They connected on 9-of-14 first-quarter field goals, including 3-of-4 3-point field goals.
They knocked down 10-of-16 shots in the second quarter and were 11-of-12 from the free-throw line in the first 16 minutes.
The 16-of-30 shooting effort in the first half sprung the Lions to the 54-point halftime explosion before Rigsby utilized his reserves primarily in the second half.
“We run our offense and try to get the best shot,” Nave said. “We were all shooting pretty well tonight but it was also a combination of good looks and getting transition scoring off of defensive turnovers.”
The Lions surpassed the 70-point mark for the seventh time this season while limiting their opponent to less than 40 for the sixth time.