Eagles place third at Shelnutt Invitational

Photo by David Kapitan
Justin Burk draws up a play during the fourth quarter of Canton’s 55-41 win over Life Oak Cliff at the Shellnutt Invitational Tournament.

The Canton Eagles were kept plenty busy over the past week, hitting the court four times overall with a home game against Bullard Nov. 27 and a trip to Edgewood Nov. 29-Dec. 1 for the 52nd annual Jack Shellnutt Invitational Tournament. Canton finished the week with a 3-1 mark overall, losing just once overall to eventual Shellnutt Invitational champion Commerce.

The Eagles opened their week on a winning note, defending their home court with a 65-47 win against the Bullard Panthers.

Led by nine first quarter points from McGwire Martin, Canton jumped out to a 16-9 lead over the Panthers after eight minutes of play. Three made three-pointers in the second quarter provided another spark to the Eagles, guiding the team to a commanding 37-20 lead entering the half.

Canton did more than enough to hold Bullard at bay throughout the second half, outscoring Bullard 28-27 in the second half to secure a 17-point win.

Leading scorers for the Eagles included McGwire Martin with 24 pionts, Cooper Smith with nine, Cameron Sullivan with six, Travis Lively, Colton Haley and Justice Collier with five each, Luke Slider with four, Layton Tidwell with three, and Jackson Heard and Connor Moore with two each.

The Eagles returned to the court Nov. 29-Dec. 1, competing against 13 other teams as part of the 52nd annual Jack Shellnutt Invitational Tournament. Canton would go 2-1 overall, earning a third place finish.

Play for Canton began shortly before 3 p.m. Nov. 29 with a game against an athletic Life Oak Cliff squad. Despite stretches of shaky play, Canton would play its best down the stretch to score a 55-41 win over the Lions to advance to the semifinals of the championship bracket.

The Eagles controlled play throughout much of the first quarter, taking a 15-11 lead. Life Oak Cliff rallied back in the second, outscoring Canton 15-12 to pull to within 27-26 entering the half.

The Eagles regained their footing following the intermission, improving their effort on both ends of the court to take a nine-point lead, 45-36, into the final frame.

Canton continued to hold the Lions at bay throughout much of the fourth quarter, closing out play with a 10-5 run to take home a 14-point win.

The Eagles would suffer their lone setback of the tournament against Commerce, getting edged 56-54 by a Tiger team that would eventually defeat host Edgewood in the championship game.

Commerce set the pace early, jumping out to a 13-7 lead against the Eagles. Canton would spend the rest of the night trying to rally back, cutting into their deficit throughout the rest of the night before ultimately falling to the Tigers.

Outside of the first quarter, the Eagles outscored Commerce in every quarter to pull to within 26-22 at halftime, and 43-40 after three quarters of play.

Leading scorers for Canton included McGwire Martin with 18, Cameron Sullivan and Travis Lively with 11 each, Cooper Smith with seven, Jackson Heard with four and Connor Moore with three.

The Eagles got back on track in their final contest of the tournament, edging a talented Paris North Lamar team 29-26 in the third place game played Dec. 1. Game details for the contest between Canton and North Lamar were not immediately available as of press time.

The Eagles are slated to travel to Frankston for another round of tournament play Dec. 6-8 before returning home to take on Caddo Mills Dec. 11. Canton will wrap up its tournament schedule Dec. 13-15 with a trip to the Mewbourn Tournament at Martins Mill High School.