By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County hoops enthusiasts not only have two of District 8-AA’s best teams, but they also have two of the state’s best according to the first Associated Press Class AA prep polls released last week.
The Lionettes (20-2) were ranked No. 3 and received two of the possible 12 first-place votes from state sportswriters and broadcasters. The Lions (19-3) debuted at No. 10 in the Class AA boys poll.
It marked the first state ranking for the Lions in 15 years. In fact, current head coach Matt Rigsby was a junior on the last Cannon County team to be ranked in the state poll.
“At the end of the day the polls are something for fans to get excited about and talk about but it is great recognition for our program and for our kids,” Rigsby said. “These guys have put a great deal of work and effort into being part of a successful program. They have dedicated themselves to being successful so it is good to see their efforts get recognized.”
The Lionettes (20-2) are in the Class AA state poll for the sixth consecutive season under Head Coach Michael Dodgen.
They debuted at No. 3, just eight points behind second-place Grainger and 11 points behind first-place Elizabethton.
“It is alway good when your teams are ranked amongst the state’s best,” Dodgen said. “I’m proud of these girls and the season they have put together to this point. They know we can be even better and that’s the good thing.”
Dodgen said having both teams ranked adds to the excitement.
“We have two very good basketball teams and it is unique to have both ranked,” Dodgen said. “This gives Cannon County fans reason to get excited.”
Associated Press Class AA Top 10
1. Elizabethton (5) 109 1. CPA (9) 113
2. Grainger (5) 106 2. Haywood Co. (1) 110
3. Cannon Co. (2) 98 3. Jackson S. Side (2) 99
4. Dyersburg 69 4. Cheatham Co. (1) 74
5. Creek Wood 49 5. Raleigh Egypt 43
6. Fulton 44 6. Douglass 41
7. Gatlinburg-Pittman 43 7. Gatlinburg-Pittman 35
8. Lexington 29 8. Waverly 29
9. Obion Co. 25 9. Cascade 23
10. Smith Co. 21 10. Cannon Co. 22
(The Associated Press’ top 10 teams in the Class AA polls as selected by Tennessee AP-member sportswriters and broadcasters. First-place votes in parentheses, total points based on 10 points for a first-place vote through one for a 10th-place vote).