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Lady Raiders defeat WCHS

The District 6-AAA standings don’t reflect moral victories, but the Warren County High School girls basketball team got one Friday night in Manchester.
The Lady Pioneers played one of their best games of the season, but it wasn’t enough as Coffee County defeated Warren County 36-26 to keep its second-place spot in the district standings.
Warren County dropped to 1-4 in district play with the loss and is in trouble of falling under .500 for the first time this season. The Lady Pioneers currently hold a 13-13 record, one that has taken a big hit as the calendar swapped and District 6-AAA action began.
The Lady Raiders started a trend of blowouts for Warren County when Coffee County came into Charlie Dalton Gym Jan. 4 and beat the Lady Pioneers by 28. A 29-point loss at White County followed and last Tuesday the Lady Pioneers were thumped by Cookeville by 32.
Knowing something had to change, coach Erick Baird made big changes in the second meeting against the Lady Raiders. While usually a 2-3 zone exclusively on defense helped the Lady Pioneers, coach Baird knows his team still has plenty of work to do.
“We still allow teams to have spurts against us that put us in big holes, but overall I was pleased with our team’s play,” said Baird. “We never gave up. Our defense kept us in the game.”
The Lady Pioneers looked ready to celebrate early when the team looked like it would be able to avoid another slow start against the Lady Raiders. In the first matchup, it took the Lady Pioneers seven minutes to score. In Friday’s game, Bri Melton found Jessie Newby on a perfectly executed pick-and-roll on the team’s first possession for a layup.
Then the drought hit.
Warren County would go scoreless the rest of the first quarter, allowing the Lady Raiders to take an 8-2 lead after eight minutes.
Melton finally jump-started the offense with two 3-pointers in the second period, but the Lady Pioneers went into halftime trailing 19-10.
Coffee County was able to push the lead to double digits with 3-pointers from Missy Jones and Katie Reid, but the Lady Pioneers got a three-point play from Newby to keep hope alive.
Entering the fourth period trailing 28-15, Melton picked up the offensive pace by connecting on a 3-pointer, a three-point play and a layup that cut the lead to single digits.
The Lady Pioneers scrambled late, hoping to get back in the game, but Coffee County shut the door when Jones and Alaina Lusk each hit two free throws in the final minutes to push the final margin back to 10.
Melton scored a game-high 14 points, giving the sophomore her third game in double figures during district play. Newby and Camerie Martin scored six points apiece in the loss.
Warren County will be looking for its second District 6-AAA win Tuesday night when the Lady Pioneers play host to White County at Charlie Dalton Gym. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.

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