CCHS kicks into District 8AA season

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The Lions and Lionette's basketball season started for real last week as they kicked into the District 8AA portion of their schedule welcoming neighbor Murfreesboro Central Magnet to Robert A. Harris Gymnasium.

Unfortunately, both Cannon County teams are dealing with a slow start with the injury bug affecting key players.

Heading into this season, the Lions had to replace about 90 percent of their offense from 2014-15 including District Player of the Year Josh Ruehlen.

Then matters turned worse when anticipated starting point guard (A.B.) Austin Brock fractured his leg during the football season. Fellow senior football player Bo Bryson was injured too and only started his season last week during the Mitch Wilson Classic.

Fortunately, several new players stepped up in increased roles for CCHS, including Trey Fann, Anton Knox, Austin Duggin and Charlie Parrish along with many others to join returning starters Austin Martin and Briar Jakes. Each of them have done a great job of filling in but the Lions' record stands still at 3-3 at this point. It could be a long season, especially with the district part of the schedule just beginning.

The Lionettes (1-5) have dealt with similar issues with injuries to several stars including starter Autumn King.

King had to deal with concussion issues while others are out for the year with severe injuries. The good news is King returned last week for the district opener and Macie Walker will play with a mask after being out with a broken nose. On the other hand, Kelli Davis might be in contention for District Player of the Year to go along with increased roles for Addison Hale, Haylee Mooneyham, Samantha Gaither and freshman point guard Tori Knox.

Adding to the difficulties, the Lionettes are learning a new system under new head coach Jonathan Odom.

Both Cannon County coaches, Odom and Matt Rigsby, are glad their teams are now somewhat healthy but there are key points both squads are still developing.

The need for consistent play is the issue for the boys team, while the girls need to work on closing.

"Everybody else is in good shape," Rigsby said. "We just got to get Brock healthy. We have put up 70 and 80 points, it is not like we can't score, but the problem is we got to be consistent."

Odom agreed, "We are finally healthy, which is a good thing. We have dealt with a lot, and our record is a little deceptive. I know we left two games on the table we should have closed. We got to learn to close, and that has been our theme in the locker room."

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David Hunter
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