SANDESTIN, Fla. - So much is made of Cannon County's up-tempo offense and 3-point shooting barrages that it is easy to overlook the Lionettes' smothering defense.
An anticipated competitive first-round game between once-beaten heavyweights Cannon County and Paxton never materialized in the Sandestin Beach Basketball Classic Tuesday as the Lionettes (13-1) stormed to a 59-29 win, their seventh in a row.
Taylor King and Emily Sissom led Cannon County's balanced scoring with 11 points each, followed by Abbey Sissom with nine and Abby Jakes with eight. Chelsey Payne added seven points and four rebounds. JoAnna Young continued her solid play with six points and four rebounds. King also had five rebounds and three assists.
Cannon County's strong team defense was stingy and unrelenting as it frustrated Paxton (13-2) from the outset.
"Paxton is not a team that had really been down this year and when we first got on them they kind of panicked a little bit," Lionettes Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. "We played really good defense, especially the second and third quarter, and that's just been part of our plan during these last few games."
Cannon County opponents have averaged just 37.1 points during the Lionettes' seven-game winning streak and the average margin of victory during the stretch is 23.6. The Lionettes have held six of the last seven opponents to 40 points or less.
The stifling defense was on display against Paxton's Ladycats.
Cannon County led 15-10 after the first quarter but allowed just nine points during the next 16 minutes. The result was a 39-9 run during the second and third quarters as the Lionettes rolled to an easy tournament win.
"The girls are having a good time down here and they have enjoyed themselves, but I was concerned about coming out flat because of the long drive and then waiting a couple days to play," Dodgen said. "We started a little sloppy but after the first couple of minutes we got going and they did a good job."
The Lionettes will face unbeaten Ponce De Leon (14-0) in a semifinal game Wednesday at 4 p.m.