Because there is no instant replay in high school basketball, there is no way to tell whether Cannon County guard Abby Jakes’ 3-pointer got off before the final buzzer.
McMinn Central coach Johnny Morgan believed it did not. Lionettes coach Michael Dodgen said it did.
Fortunately for Dodgen, the officials agreed with him.
Jakes’ shot crushed the hearts of the third-ranked Chargerettes, while the 57-56 score sent the Lionettes back to the Class AA state tournament in Murfreesboro.
Jakes finished with nine points.
“From my perspective, she got it off,” Dodgen said. “Whether you believe it or not, we actually practice half-court shots in practice.”
Sixth-ranked Cannon County (28-6) watched a 13-point third-quarter lead dwindle away as McMinn Central guard Sidni Williams scored 12 of her 16 points in the final 8:12. Her drive gave the Chargerettes their first lead since the second quarter at 53-51, but Jakes’ second 3-pointer with 2:13 remaining put the Lionettes back on top.
Kelsey Young had a putback with one minute remaining to put McMinn Central back on top by a point, but she and Williams missed three free throws in the final minute. Williams hit one of two free throws with 6.2 seconds to go, after which Dodgen called a timeout and set up a play.
The ball was inbounded to Sissom, who worked the ball up court to Jakes, whose shot rattled in from about 22 feet.
When asked about the loss, Morgan said, “They all hurt.”
The Chargerettes hurt themselves by going only 10-for-24 at the foul line, including 5-for-13 by Elizabeth Masengil, who had a team-high 19 points. The Lionettes had eight offensive rebounds in the second half, which helped offset 10 turnovers in those 16 minutes.
“It was a tough game,” Morgan said. “If we only hit our free throws, if we only rebound, we win. We never gave up, though.”
Sissom led the Lionettes with 17 points — all in the first half.
Cannon County 14 12 17 14 — 57
McMinn Central 18 3 16 14 — 56
Cannon County (57) — Jakes 9, Abbey Sissom 17, Clements, Basham 5, Pemberton 2, Hollis 7, Walkup 3, Faulkner 4, Kalipari.
McMinn Central (56) — Tillman 2, Morrow, Sidni Williams 16, P. Williams 2, Young 6, Elizabeth Masengil 19, Trentham 2, Gray 9.
3-point goals: Cannon 10 (Sissom 5, Jakes 3, Hollis, Walkup); McMinn Central 2 (Williams 2). Records: Cannon 28-6; McMinn Central 29-4.