Lions Split Finals Two Games At Romp

TONY STINNETT, Courier Co-Editor

MCMINNVILLE - Cannon County was on the verge of turning in what would have been a solid 3-1 showing and fifth-place finish in the Sun Drop Romp Holiday Tournament, but then the Lions got in their way and suffered a tough 60-57 overtime loss to Jackson County.

The Lions, who had steamrolled Monterey, 77-41, Thursday, were looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when they faced Jackson County for fifth place Friday.

Cannon County (5-10) appeared to have the situation under control, leading by seven with 4:30 remaining in regulation. Despite Jackson County taking advantage of mistakes, the Lions still led by four with 45 seconds remaining before consecutive turnovers erased the lead and forced the extra period.

Cannon County suffered five of its 17 turnovers in the final 4:30 of regulation to allow Jackson County to get back into the game it ultimately won in overtime.

"It's like two steps forward in one area and one step back in another, and we just made too many turnovers to win a close game," Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said. "It is hard to guage improvement with this group because we see them in practice and we know what they can do. We just can't seem to put four quarters together."

Senior Brad Hutchins, who earned all-tournament honors, almost single-handidly kept the Lions in the game during a stretch in the first half. Hutchins was a beast inside and produced a double double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Sophomores Cory Henley and Cody Young stepped up for the Lions. Henley finished with 14 points and three assists, and Young added nine points on the strength of three 3-pointers. Jarrett Melton added six points.

Young's three treys were timely and helped rally the Lions, who fell down 17-6 after the first quarter. Young came in and knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter and the Lions stormed into the half with a 28-27 lead.

"(Hutchins and Young) were huge during that stretch," Rigsby said. "Brad was getting every rebound and scoring on putbacks, and Cody came in against their zone and the first two touches he hits back-to-back 3s to bring us back."

Cannon County 77
Monterey 41
Cannon County had put itself in position to win three games in four tries during the tournament after easily disposing of Monterey, 77-41, Thursday.

Jarrett Melton led a balanced Cannon County attack with 15 points, seven assists and four steals. Cory Henley added 11 points, four steals, three assists and four rebounds and Matthew Turney fnished with 10 points. Tommy Mitchell had nine points, three assists and drew three charges, and Cody Young finished with eight points.

The Lions jumped out to a 46-29 lead and never looked back. They were 16-of-24 from the field in the opening half. Cannon County held Monterey to just five second-half field goals.

"We just wanted to come out and get a win more than anything," Mitchell said. "We need to start playing with some consistency and putting good stretches together. We showed some signs of that in this game."