LIVINGSTON - Livingston Academy and Cannon County met in a showdown of state heavyweights but it was a flurry of quick-hitters that decided the outcome in a District 8-AA tilt here Friday (Jan. 27).
No. 3 Livingston Academy (22-3, 7-1) completed the season sweep of No. 9 Cannon County (20-5, 5-4) with a strong second quarter run that proved too much for the Lionettes to overcome in a 57-46 setback.
Sophomore Abbey Sissom led Cannon County with a game-high 17 points but she was the only Lionette in double figures for the Lionettes, who shot 19-of-52 (37 percent) from the field, including 3-of-14 (21 percent) from beyond the 3-point range.
Lindsey Reed and Madison Walkup added nine each for the Lionettes.
"We had some scoring lapses and made some uncharacteristic mistakes during that second quarter," Cannon County Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. "There were some turnovers that led to easy scoring chances and that makes an already good offensive team even more dangerous on their home court."
Livingston Academy, led by Marli Sells' 16 points, had a 14-9 advantage at the end of a back-and-forth first quarter that hinted at the potential of an anticipated quality game between two well-coached talented programs.
All of a sudden Cannon County was guilty of three consecutive turnovers. Making matter worse, the Lady Wildcats converted them into seven points to bolt to a 22-11 lead with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter.
That advantage stood for most of the remainder of the half. The Lionettes suffered another blow late in the second quarter when senior starter Joanna Young was hit with a personal foul and technical foul during a battle for possession with less than two minutes remaining before intermission.
By the time the dust had settled, Cannon County trailed 29-16.
Livingston Academy stretched the lead to as much as 16, 41-25, in the third quarter but the Lionettes would not go quitely.
Walkup started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Sissom followed with four straight points as the Lionettes trimmed the deficit to 43-38 with a 7-0 run.
"The kids showed a lot of fight and put together a good run but we couldn't sustain it," Dodgen said. "We just didn't play well enough to go on the road and beat a quality basketball team tonight."
Trailing 49-37, Cannon County misfired on six straight possessions with less than four minutes remaining. The Lionettes had 17 turnovers.
Livingston Academy knocked down 51 percent of its shots, connecting on 21 of the 41 attempts.
The loss, coupled with Upperman's win against DeKalb County, eliminates Cannon County from contention for the District 8-AA regular-season championship. The Lionettes are still working to put themselves in the most favorable position for the postseason tournament with three league games remaining.
"This was a tough one for us, but you just have to put it behind you, move on and get better," Dodgen said. "Livingston Academy is a very good team and they played well tonight, so you have to give them some credit."