Semifinal Search: Canton gains revenge, turns focus to Salisbury - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Semifinal Search: Canton gains revenge, turns focus to Salisbury

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David McReynolds and the Canton basketball team are one victory away from ending their season at Mizzou Arena. David McReynolds and the Canton basketball team are one victory away from ending their season at Mizzou Arena.

EWING, Mo. (WGEM) -- The feeling was about as unsettling as you could imagine.

Last season the Canton basketball team was closing in on 20 wins before matching wits with Cairo who ended the Tigers campaign, a victory short of a district championship.

Fast forward to the current season, specifically Wednesday night, and Andy Anderson's squad gained revenge beating Cairo 81-70 to advance to Saturday's Class 2 quarterfinals.

It was a game of runs.

Canton had two sizable leads cut to single digits both at halftime and in the final minutes. But each time they had an answer.

"It just felt good out there to come out (strong) right from the start with a huge run," senior forward David McReynolds said. 

"Beating (Cairo) was definitely a huge thing for us."

According to senior guard Austin Hoewing, "Coming in we knew it was going to be a really tough game and the team that worked harder was going to win it. We came with our hardest effort probably of the (entire) season and we got the job done."

Junior guard Tyler Niemann agreed.

"We just came out playing an aggressive game and kept attacking the basket," Niemann explained. "We just played our game, stayed focus, and did good."

The next hurdle comes Saturday in the Elite Eight against defending Class 2 runner-up Salisbury.

The matchup features a pair of teams with only one loss, and for the Tigers, it's their first trip to the quarterfinals in seven years.

It's also a matter of unfinished business for a group of athletes who've yet to advance to the Final Four.

"The 2006 team that we took to the quarterfinals was a good team and they were ready to play every night," Anderson said. 

"I told our guys you've got to be ready every night and I told them is an opportunity to be challenged. This is an opportunity, and you're only in high school one time in your life, and you've got an opportunity to do something very special. We need to be ready for it."

Hoewing added: "It's an honor to get this far. In baseball last year, and soccer this year, we made it this far, but we're hoping to make it one step farther."

"It's great," McReynolds added. 

"In soccer we were in the Elite Eight and we told ourselves we wanted to get this far in basketball, and that's what we've done. It's another goal reached for us."

Canton and Salisbury square off at Noon on Saturday at Moberly Area Community College. The winner moves on to next week's state semifinals at Mizzou Arena.

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