Sweet 16 | Cann, McKee carry Anderson County to 75-51 win


The Anderson County girls’ basketball team got strong production from its two Miss Basketball candidates and used a big first-half run to roll past Meade County 75-51 Thursday night in the first round of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Sweet 16 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The only teammates among the state’s seven Miss Basketball finalists, Eriel McKee had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Makenzie Cann scored 24 to lead the Lady Bearcats (28-3), No. 3 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings.

“I’ve seen it so much over the years that we take it for granted sometimes, but they’ve been doing that their whole careers,” Anderson County coach Tony Kays said of Cann and McKee. “It’s something we expect them to do, and it’s something they expect of themselves. It’s huge to know that you have two players who, when it gets time to really need points, rebounds, whatever, they can get them for you.”

Anderson County, Eighth Region champion and a state semifinalist last year, won its 13th straight game and advanced to face No. 1 Elizabethtown in a quarterfinal at 9 p.m. EDT tonight.

Meade County (16-16), which won the Third Region title, started well, taking a 10-4 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Lady Bearcats responded with a 22-4 run.

Cann’s three at the 3:23 mark of the second gave Anderson County a 26-14 lead, and the Lady Bearcats led 29-18 at halftime.

“We have a lot of shooters on our team, so we can put up points fast,” Cann said.

Anderson County’s lead grew during a 20-9 third quarter in which McKee scored 10 points. The margin got as big as 25 in the fourth period.

“With (Cann) I know that she can find me, and I can find her, and it’s not just us two but the other key players,” McKee said.

Meade County was led by Addi Lynch (15 points) and Morgan Turner (12 points, eight rebounds).

Even though they lost in the first round, making the state tournament was a big accomplishment for a team that was 5-11 at one point this season.

“We could have thrown in the towel and said enough is enough, but instead we rallied,” coach Josh Hurt said. ” … We could have quit so many times. … I’m very proud of our entire team for battling and getting us here.”

E’town defeated Anderson County 51-42 on Dec. 23 in the Republic Bank Classic at Lexington Catholic.

“It looks like they’ve improved,” Kays said. “We know it’ll take a monumental effort and our ‘A’ game.”

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