Lions Reach 20 Wins For First Time '98-99;
Lionettes End Regular Season With Convincing Victory

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JAMESTOWN - Cannon County's boys basketball team achieved a milestone and the Lionettes continued to build momentum as they capped the season with District 8-AA road wins at York Institute Saturday.

Justin Davenport continued to be an offensive juggernaut for the Lions, pouring in a game-high 34 points, dishing out four assists and pulling five rebounds to lead Cannon County (20-10) to a 66-46 win against the Dragons.

Jared Nave also poured in 17 points and pulled seven rebounds, followed by eight points from Colin Jones and seven from Cody Ruehlen as the Lions secured their first 20-win season since the 1998-99 campaign.

"Considering the schedule we have played this year getting to 20 wins is good, and with each passing one they get more important," Cannon County Head Coach Matt Rigsby said.

The Lionettes also were convincing, especially down the stretch, as they pulled away from the Lady Dragons for a 63-48 triumph to conclude the regular season with an impressive 23-6 mark. Emily Sissom led the charge with 17 points and also dished out four assists.

Cannon County also had a pair of dominant double-double performances as Chelsey Payne contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Taylor King added 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior Lindsey Reed also continued to gain momentum down the stretch. Reed, who was injured for the bulk of the season, has put together three straight strong performances with 12 points on the strength of three 3-pointers at York.

The Lionettes had 38 total rebounds, including 13 offensive caroms. The game was tied 43-43 going into the fourth quarter but Cannon County turned up the defensive pressure and pulled away with a 20-5 blitz. The Lionettes allowed just one fourth quarter field goal.

"The girls really stepped up in the fourth quarter and they were determined," Lionettes Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. "That was a solid defensive effort, really holding them to 14 points in the second half. We've had a good regular season and fought through some things. We have our pieces in place and now it's time to focus on the postseason."

The Lionettes begin the 2011 postseason against DeKalb County in an elimination game in the District 8-AA Tournament Thursday at Sparta High School. Tipoff is 6 p.m.

The Lions, by virtue of finishing second in the District 8-AA regular season, have earned a first-round bye in the District 8-AA Tournament and a subsequent bye into the Region 4-AA Tournament. They will face either Upperman or York in the tourney semifinals Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Davenport continues to be a major source of offense for the Lions, and also is putting up a stretch of games that is rather remarkable. His 34-point performance against the York marks the fourth time in five games the senior point guard has topped the 30-point mark. During this stretch, Davenport has scored 37, 34, 40, 21 and 34, respectively, and is shooting better than 60 percent from the field in those five games.

"I have never seen anything like it," Rigsby said of Davenport's run. "It is just unreal and the thing that impresses me most is that he's shooting such a high percentage. It's not like he's taking 30 shots a game to put up those numbers. He's shooting it 20 times or less and scoring 30-plus a game. That's really strong, but what makes us good is that we continue to get strong contributions from our entire team. It's a team game and that's why we are getting good results."

Complete recaps of Cannon County's sweep at York will appear in the Feb. 22 edition of The Cannon Courier.

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