Basketball fans in Cannon County may be seeing double by the end of the week.
Cannon County is giving new meaning to jumping into the season with the two teams playing eight games in five days this week. Doesn't sound too bad? Just three games?
The unique part to the schedule is the games will be played as doubleheaders with each team playing two games on Tuesday and again on Saturday as part of the Hall of Champions.
The Lionettes open the season against Boyd Christian at home Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., followed by the Lions opener against the same team 15 minutes after the completion of the girls game.
Then, they will do it again. The doubleheader concludes with the Lionettes facing Tullahoma at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Lions contest in the finale. Tullahoma's girls are coached by former MTSU standout Tia Stovall.
The Hall of Champions continues Saturday when the teams face CPA and Portland. The Lionettes and Lions will open the day against CPA with the girls game beginning at 11:30 a.m., followed by the boys contest. This time the teams will get a break before coming back against host Portland with the girls game scheduled to tip at 6.
"The TSSAA now allows teams to play two dates within this week at the start," Lionettes Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. "The TSSAA does not make you count them but teams generally count the wins. This is something Matt and I wanted to try to get our kids ready for when we play in the Thanksgiving Tournament when you have to play back-to-back days."
Boyd Christian figures to be a tame foe for both teams before Cannon County steps up in classification against athletic Class AAA Tullahoma teams. Saturday's challenges will be different but as daunting. CPA's girls were eliminated in the first round of the TSSAA State Tournament last season and the CPA boys are one of the state's top teams.
"These four games are allowing both teams to play teams with different dynamics and that's what we need early," Dodgen said. "We will see several different styles of basketball this week but the main thing is that we execute what we need to do."
Lions Head Coach Matt Rigsby said the team has enjoyed good preseason practices but there is still work to be done, particularly on the defensive end.
"We are working hard on being a better defensive team," Rigsby said. "That's a big point of emphasis. We are showing progress through the practices and the players are excited to get started."
Rigsby said the anxious feeling has been abundant since last February when the Lions suffered a season-ending setback against Grundy County. The loss has only intensified Cannon County's desire to reach new heights.
"We are all excited to get it going," senior point guard Justin Davenport said. "We have been putting in new stuff and getting the feel of practice. We know we have to do the little things well. We have a very good shooting team and we are developing our post game."
Both teams will have ample time to work on a variety of aspects with four games each to start what has been anticipated campaigns for Cannon County.