Cannon County sophomore Abbey Sissom has been named one of three finalists for Class AA Miss Basketball, as announced by the TSSAA Wednesday.
Sissom, who has led Cannon County to a 25-7 record and a berth in this week’s Region 4-AA Tournament, is the first Cannon County player to be a Miss Basketball Finalist since Julie Powell won the honor in 1990. Sissom is only the second player in program history to be named a finalist.
A statewide committee of sportswriters selected winners based on performance during the 2011-12 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration. High school head basketball coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists.
Sissom, the daughter of Gaylon and Suzette Sissom, joins McMinn Central’s Elizabeth Masengil and Creek Wood’s Rachel Bell as the three Class AA finalists.
“I am still shocked about it,” Sissom said. “It’s a great honor just to be considered. I will not be disappointed if I don’t win it because it’s an honor just to be considered one of the top three players. It makes me feel really good just to know people have that opinion of me, especially just being a sophomore. It really is shocking.”
Sissom’s outstanding numbers – on and off the court – put her amongst the elite. In addition to sporting a 4.0 grade point average, Sissom also is averaging 19.9 points per game. She has scored 20 or more points 19 times this season and she has scored 28 or more four times. She has tallied 621 points during her sensational sophomore season.
Additionally, Sissom averages 2.6 assists, 2.5 steals and 4.4 rebounds. She is ranked No. 7 in the Class of 2014 by Hoops Plus, Tennessee Girls Basketball Report, which is the highest ranking of any Class AA player in Tennessee.
“It’s a great honor for her as an individual,” Cannon County Head Girls Basketball Coach Michael Dodgen said. “Getting that notoriety as a sophomore is a great accomplishment for her and how hard she has worked and handled her business. It is business-like every night with her. She is a great basketball player and she has a great future ahead of her. This is the first one since Julie Powell and it is long overdue because there have been great players walk through these doors.”
The presentation of the Miss Basketball Awards will be given during the championship awards ceremony for each class on March 10 at MTSU’s Murphy Center during the TSSAA Girls State Basketball Championships.
Dodgen said the process to select the top players is very detailed.
“As a coach you don’t know if it will ever happen because of how it is narrowed down to just three players,” Dodgen said. “It’s a long process and they work hard to get the three players that best represent what Miss Basketball stands for. We are all very proud of her and this accomplishment.”
Powell won the honor as a Lionette in 1989 and 90. She also was a finalist in 1988, her sophomore season.
“Just being up there and being mentioned in the same company as Julie is something special because of how good of a player she was,” Sissom said. “We have a great following, and I am lucky to have such great teammates. They all share in this award.”
Though Dodgen admits it is difficult to garner such lofty recognition as a sophomore based on the number of outstanding players across the state, he says Sissom has worked herself into such company.
“She got her name out there with AAU and then playing on the level she did as a freshman,” Dodgen said. “Our schedule and playing all over Tennessee, whether in the summer or in the season, also helps because people have seen her play. It’s a great for Abbey and it’s great for our school.”
Sissom, who already has received offers from Division I schools including, MTSU, Belmont and UT-Martin, says her parents, along with exposure through AAU, played a great role in her development.
“I have played AAU with Team Pride since I was seven and that has helped tremendously,” Sissom said. “My dad has been a big impact just going to the gym with me, rebounding for me, helping me with my shot, talking with me about what I did and didn’t do well after games. He’s been a really big part of this and I have to give him a ton of credit.”
Sissom was named MVP of the Trousdale County Holiday Tournament in December, and she was named to the All-Tournament team in the Sun Drop Romp Holiday Tournament. She was named All-District and All-District Tournament last week.
Class AA Miss Basketball Finalists
Rachel Bell, Creek Wood
Elizabeth Masengil, McMinn Central
Abbey Sissom, Cannon County
Class AAA Miss Basketball Finalists
Shacobia Barbee, Riverdale
Nina Davis, Memphis Central
Bashaara Graves, Clarksville
Class A Miss Basketball Finalists
T.T. Flowers, Lake County
Rachel Garland, Moore County
Kelsey Risner, Wayne County