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Rutledge, Melton named all-district

The regular season may not have turned out how the Warren County High School basketball teams would have liked. The Pioneers and Lady Pioneers each finished last in District 6-AAA, but the bright spot for each squad was the play of their shooting guards.
Over the weekend, senior Kendall Rutledge and sophomore Bri Melton were named to the All-District 6-AAA team after leading their respective teams in scoring during the eight-game district season which saw the Pioneers finish 2-6 and the Lady Pioneers go 1-7.
Rutledge had a sensational stretch of district games in his final regular season at Warren County.
The smooth-shooting lefty developed into the primary option on offense for the Pioneers, especially when fellow senior Tucker Smith missed the team’s final six games with an illness.
The senior shooting guard averaged 15.4 points per game in district play, oftentimes using his unlimited range to torture opponents. Rutledge was a long-range sniper in district play as he connected on at least one 3-pointer in all eight games. He hit a season-high six 3-pointers against Cookeville Jan. 22 in a 65-54 loss on the road.
It was the sight of the Cavaliers that brought out the best in Rutledge this season. In the January loss on the road, Rutledge scored a career-high 26 points against Cookeville. He followed it up with 20 points against the Cavaliers on Senior Night last Friday, a game the Pioneers lost by four despite Rutledge drilling a 3-pointer in the final minute that gave his team a temporary lead.
Melton played the role as top scoring option for the Lady Pioneers as sometimes she seemed to be the only scoring threat for Warren County.
Despite getting most of the attention from opposing team’s defenses, Melton was able to step up her scoring when district play began in January. Melton averaged 11.6 points per game in district play, including scoring in double figures five times.
Melton’s best outing was a 16-point performance at White County in the team’s second district game, one of six times the sophomore shooting guard led the team in scoring against a district foe.
Melton also led the team with 12 points  Jan. 18 when the Lady Pioneers defeated Cumberland County 34-28 at Charlie Dalton Gym. Melton was the team’s top scorer in 18 of 30 regular season games as she totaled 309 points this season.
Smith and Nick Simmons were named honorable mention All-District 6-AAA from the Pioneers while junior Lady Pioneer Camerie Martin also garnered an honorable mention selection.
Smith played in only three district games before missing the Pioneers’ final six games due to illness. In those three games, Smith averaged 20.7 points as Warren County defeated the Coffee County Red Raiders and Cumberland County Jets at home to start district play 2-1. During his absence, the Pioneers finished district action with five straight losses.
Simmons picked up his play once district play started. After averaging just 7.1 points per game in November and December, including missing four games in December with the flu, Simmons posted an average of 10.8 points against district foes.
Simmons was the team’s leading scorer twice, in road games against the Red Raiders and Jets.
Martin wasn’t a main scoring threat for the Lady Pioneers, but her ball handling and defense were invaluable for coach Erick Baird. Martin was also the player who coach Baird turned to late in games when the Lady Pioneers needed to ice the game on the line, as Martin did in the home victory over the Lady Jets in January.
Lady Cavalier Hannah Goolsby and Red Raider Lance Crismond were named the District 6-AAA players of the year. Lady Cavalier coach Mindy Odom and Warrior head man Eric Mitchell were selected as the top coaches in the district.

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