Cannon wins MVP of Champion Bracket in Mary Garber Holiday Classic

Tatiyana Cannon was named MVP of the Champion Bracket of the Mary Garber Tournament.

Cannon wins MVP of Champion Bracket in Mary Garber  Holiday Classic
December 05
04:32 2019

It’s been a long time coming for the Parkland girls’ basketball team. The Mustangs topped Winston-Salem Prep in the finals of the Champion Bracket to claim their first Mary Garber championship in school history.

The Mustangs were the top seed coming in and the Phoenix gave them everything they had. The Mustangs were behind at halftime, but an inspirational speech from head coach Ken Leak sparked the young ladies for a second half push, leading to the 66-51 victory.

Tatiyana Cannon was named MVP of the Champion Bracket after scoring 19 points in the championship game. Cannon led the Mustangs in scoring the previous two games, scoring 28 points against Carver and Walkertown.  

“At first I was doubting myself, thinking we may or may not have a chance to win, but once I saw what we were capable of, I knew we were going to win,” said Cannon of her thinking before the tournament.  

Cannon admits the team was a little overconfident in their opening round game against Carver, but quickly bounced back to beat the Yellowjackets. She says there were some nerves heading into the game against Walkertown, but in the end their talent overwhelmed the Wolfpack.

“It was a tight ball game in the first half, but once we went into the locker room and coach talked to us, we just turned it up on them by playing good defense and that’s what made us get in the game,” Cannon said about the championship game against Prep.

When it comes to being named MVP, Cannon says she was “happy.”  

“I wanted to win the Mary Garber last year and with this being my senior year, I wanted to accomplish that goal to win it, so it was a great feeling,” she said. “I was surprised, because I didn’t think I was going to be named MVP. I know I did well in the previous two games, but I just didn’t think I would win it.”

Cannon is in her first season with the Mustangs. She spent her first three years with Reynolds, but desired to make a change for her senior season. She credits Parkland girls’ basketball coach Ken Leak as one of the reasons she decided to transfer.  

“When I was at Reynolds and we played Parkland, I saw that they had a very good coach and my mom agreed,” she said. “Now it was good for me to switch for my senior year, but it took me a while to make the decision. I thought about what my mom said and that’s when I finally chose Parkland.

“Now that it’s my senior year, this is my year to show everyone what I am capable of. I just want to have fun this season, because last year I didn’t have as much fun as I have so far this year.”

Leak said he was “blessed” to have some talented players on his team, coupled with the newcomers that joined his squad this season.  

“I got blessed with some talent this year and I saw it during the preseason conditioning and jamboree games,” he said. “I thought if these girls start meshing, we could be very dangerous and the first game of the Mary Garber tournament, things came together really well.”

Leak said Cannon carried the offensive load for the Mustangs throughout the tournament. He feels like Parkland is no longer a doormat in the conference and plans to show everyone what they can do.

“I named her (Tatiyana) a captain as soon as summer workouts started and the strange thing is, she is a quiet captain,” Leak said. “She is a quiet captain, she is not the type that is rowdy or get people pumped up, she does it in a very respectful and quiet way. She will pull one of the girls to the side and whisper in her ear. What she whispers, I have no idea. She is just a captain that leads by example.”

“I knew that she was putting in the work to have a good season. I didn’t think she had the confidence until halftime of the first game of the Mary Garber, because she had struggled during the preseason with her shot. Once she saw one or two go down, the basket got really big for her. She is probably one of the best pure shooters, male or female, that I have coached over the last 30 years. She had the range that some boys would like to have.”

Leak said before the season started, there were one or two teams interested in Cannon. Following her run to MVP at the Mary Garber, Leak says there are more that ten teams that have contacted him about Cannon.  

“She is just now realizing what she can do and that’s the good part from a coach’s point of view,” he continued. “She is starting to see what her family saw in her; she just didn’t believe it herself. Now she has that confidence and she has a good support system. I know she wants to play college ball and whoever gets her will be getting a great individual, student and basketball player.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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