Lions Pop Pioneers, 81-65

TONY STINNETT, Courier Co-Editor

Cannon County attoned for an earlier setback at Warren County with an impressive 81-65 home win against the Pioneers at Robert A. Harris Gym Tuesday.

The Lions (12-6) had many outstanding performances and almost landed five players in double figures. Justin Davenport led Cannon County with 24 points and also was the team leader in rebounds (8) and assists (6). Colin Jones struck for a season-high 18 points on the strength of five 3-pointers. Jared Nave netted 15 but poured in 11 down the stretch when the game was up for grabs. Nave also added six rebounds.

In addition to outstanding second-half defense, a big key to Cannon County's win was the play of Brian Cripps and Cody Ruehlen, who combined for 23 points and were strong defensively. Cripps finished with 14 points and Ruehlen contributed nine. When the Lions get solid contributions from all five senior starters they have been virtually unbeatable this season.

That was the case against Warren County Tuesday.

The game was back-and-forth and Warren County owned a 51-50 lead until Nave connected for a short jumper with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter. Nave's field goal sparked a 14-0 run that spilled into the fourth quarter and staked the Lions to a 62-51 lead. Nave also scored the final field goal of the 14-0 run.

Jones, who already had the trifecta with three earlier 3-pointers to help distance Cannon County from the pesky Pioneers, drained two more during a 1:17 span midway through the final quarter to put the exclamation point on a big non-district win.

The Lions' smothering defense had eight consecutive stops during a five-minute stretch at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth that swung the game in Cannon County's direction for good.

Once they gained momentum the Lions never let up. They will return to District 8-AA action with the first of three straight league road games at York Friday.

Check out next week's print edition of The Cannon Courier for a complete breakdown of Cannon County's win against Warren County.