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Downed by DeKalb... again

The third time proved not to be the charm for the Pioneers Tuesday night.
The Warren County High School boys basketball team lost for the third time to the DeKalb County Tigers this season, falling 67-48 at Charlie Dalton Gym.
Warren County (10-13) was looking to turn the tide against the Tigers, but instead DeKalb County finished a three-game sweep of the Pioneers for the second time in three years.
The Pioneers had previously lost to DeKalb County Nov. 20 in Smithville 60-55 and in the Sun Drop Romp Christmas tournament 61-41, but a hot start by the home team looked like it may finally give Warren County an edge.
The Pioneers scored the first seven points, including five points from Lee Carden and senior Tucker Smith delighting the crowd with a dunk. Smith would continue his high-flying act in the first quarter with another slam and an acrobatic layup that kept the Pioneers in front 13-11 after the Tigers made a surge.
Stephen Howell gave DeKalb County a brief lead with a 3-pointer, but another basket by Carden started a 6-0 Pioneer run to end the quarter. D’Andre League added a layup and Trace Taylor sank two free throws with 2.1 seconds left as Warren County led 19-14 at the first break.
The turning point came with 4:53 left in the second quarter while Warren County clung to a 21-18 advantage. League picked up his third foul, sending him to the bench for the rest of the half and the Tigers to the line.
Without their point guard, the Pioneers saw DeKalb County go on a 7-0 spurt to go ahead 25-21.
Senior Nick Simmons temporarily pushed Warren County back in front with a bank shot from the top of the key, but a rare four-point play gave the Tigers the lead for good.
Ethan Roller lofted a 3-pointer from the right wing that connected as he went tumbling to the ground after being hit by a Pioneer defender. Roller got the opportunity to finish off his four-point play after a time-out by Warren County coach Malcolm Montgomery and the free throw was true.
A three-point play by Justin Bone with 51.0 seconds remaining gave the Tigers a six-point cushion, one the visitors would take to the locker room when Carden and Braxton Atnip traded layups in the final 15 seconds.
Down 38-32 coming out of halftime, the Pioneers couldn’t seem to find their offense while Howell lifted the Tigers to a double-digit lead.
Warren County managed only eight points in the third quarter, getting four points each from Carden and Kendall Rutledge.
Howell’s back-to-back 3-pointers late in the period put the Tigers ahead 53-40 entering the final quarter.
Atnip made sure the Tigers would win for the seventh time in eight tries over the last three years when he capped an 18-point performance with eight points in the final period.
Warren County emptied its bench with six minutes to go as the Tigers had moved their lead to 20. Junior Dillan Wood hit a late 3-pointer for the Pioneers to avoid what would’ve been the team’s sixth loss by 20 points or more.
Carden was the only Pioneers to score double figures as he scored a team-high 12 points. Rutledge was next with nine.
The loss was the Pioneers’ sixth in their last eight games after moving above .500 for the first time Dec. 20 with a 54-50 victory over Rhea County.
Warren County hopes to end a two-game losing streak tonight at Charlie Dalton Gym in a District 6-AAA game against the Cumberland County Jets.
Tonight’s game, which will be Whiteout night, is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

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