If you believe in superstition, then Cannon County will begin the District 8-AA Tournament in good position.
The league’s postseason tournament begins this week with Cannon County’s basketball teams facing must-win situations to keep their seasons alive.
The Lionettes will face rival DeKalb County Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The Lions will face Smith County Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
All district tournament games are at White County High School in Sparta.
Last season the Lionettes entered the postseason as the No. 3 seed from 8-AA. Ditto in 2012.
They opened 2011 District 8-AA Tournament against rival DeKalb County. Ditto in 2012.
The Lionettes were 23-6 after the regular season in 2011. They sport the same 23-6 ledger entering the 2012 posteason.
Although those scenarios have nothing to do with what transpires when teams face elimination this week, they do point to the fact that the Lionettes have put together a strong season despite losing four seniors from last year’s Class AA Final Four team.
“It’s that time of year where you have to play well and you have to remain focused or you will be going home,” Lionettes Head Coach Michael Dodgen said.
Cannon County faces a foe it has dominated during the last decade in rival DeKalb County. The Lionettes have won 31 straight against the Lady Tigers but they will take nothing for granted Wednesday.
“It’s a situation where you have to be ready to play from the start and you can’t play around,” Dodgen said.
“You can’t overlook your opponent. We have to come out with a focus and get after them defensively. We have to win this game to assure ourselves at least three more games.”
Livingston Academy and Upperman tied for the regular-season title. Livingston Academy won the coin flip and will be the No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Upperman, No. 3 Cannon County, No. 4 York, No. 5 Smith County, No. 6 Central and No. 7 Central Magnet.
The DeKalb County-Cannon County winner will face the Upperman-Central Magnet winner in the semifinals and assure themselves a trip to the Region 4-AA Tournament.
The Lions face an opponent that will be familiar, having faced Smith County in the regular-season finale last Friday. Cannon County lost both regular-season meetings to the Owls but were far more competitive in a 51-41 loss last week.
Cannon County played without senior post Brad Hutchins, who provides a spark in the paint is the team’s top defender and rebounder inside.
“It is time that everything we have worked on has to come together,” Cannon County coach Matt Rigsby said. “We have improved and we have showed signs. It’s tournament time and anything can happen but our guys realize they have what it takes to win this game and keep our season going.”
The Lions are the No. 5 seed. The winner of the Cannon County-Smith County game will face No. 1 Livingston Academy in the semifinals and assure themselves of a trip to the Region 4-AA Tournament.