Sports

Bengal Spotlight: 1,000 Points and Counting for Cannon

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Senior guard Grace Cannon prepares for the 2016-2017 season Credits: Nicolas Fernandes/TAPinto Bloomfield
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Senior guard Grace Cannon shoots a free throw during a Bloomfield Bengals practice Credits: Nicolas Fernandes/TAPinto Bloomfield
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Senior guard Grace Cannon shoots free throws with teammate Genesis Collins during a Bloomfield Bengals practice Credits: Nicolas Fernandes/TAPinto Bloomfield
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Grace Cannon has recorded 1,083 points, 253 rebounds and 150 assists for the Bloomfield Bengals girl’s basketball team all before her senior season, but the veteran basketball player believes she still needs to improve her skills on the court.

The senior guard led the team in scoring and was one of the main contributors to the team’s (18-5, 10-0 SEC) 2015-2016 season, averaging 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 22 of the team’s 23 contests.

Considering the talent last year’s starters brought to the team, Cannon knew they could have a successful season from the beginning and hoped they would perform even better. The girls dropped the first round of the NJSIAA Tournament to West Orange by five points.

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“I think we could have gone farther in the states and gone farther with the talent that we had,” Cannon said in an interview with TAPinto Bloomfield.

Cannon was able to score 371 points in each of her past two seasons thanks to the history of basketball in her family. Growing up watching her brother and sister play, she joined a team for the first time in fourth grade, where she was coached by her own father.

“It wasn’t really a choice. I love basketball, but I was born into it,” Cannon said.

He required her to practice for long hours from a young age, which taught her the many different ways to score.

“When you have different ways to score, it becomes easier,” Cannon said.

Aside from finding every way possible to accumulate points, Cannon’s other advantage is the fact that her teammates know her talents and are always passing her the ball.

“My teammates are always looking for me because they knew I would most likely make it, so I was always a target on the floor,” Cannon said.

In addition to leading her team to so many wins during her junior and sophomore years, Cannon played in all 25 games as a freshman, pacing the (15-10) team with 341 points, 38 assists and 26 rebounds.

Cannon knew she was capable of making such an impact as early as her freshman year if she put her mind to it.

“I had an expectation for myself that I knew I could do it, that I could start and make a big impact coming in,” Cannon told TAPinto Bloomfield. “I had to prove it to everyone else.”

During her final season on the Bengals, Cannon hopes to improve stats other than points -- such as assists and rebounds -- and help her younger teammates improve their gameplay.

“I am gonna leave and the program needs to stay strong,” Cannon said.  

The senior also hopes to record more double doubles and aim for a triple double this season.

Cannon knows that the loss of last year’s graduating senior Aniyah Allen will give her more responsibility, but is ready to become even more involved. Allen gave the Bengals 278 points and a team-high 238 rebounds during her final season.

“We’re a much smaller team than we were last year and I’ll have to play a bigger position, so that’ll be a transition,” Cannon said.

As she prepares for her final season at Bloomfield High School, Cannon will also spend the year getting ready for collegiate basketball, preferably at Ithaca College.

After two and a half weeks of practices and scrimmages, Cannon will return to the court on December 16, as the Bengals visit Montclair for their season opener.

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