Moral victories aren’t going to change the Lady Pioneers’ record, but right now, it’s probably all that the team can take from the court.
Warren County fell to 0-7 following Friday’s 57-38 home loss to Tullahoma. It was the fourth loss by double figures for the Lady Pioneers, and the team’s sixth in seven games.
This was always going to be a rebuilding year under first-year coach Anthony Lippe. Warren County lost all its starters from last year, along with over 80 percent of its scoring. Even with all its experience last year, Warren County won nine games – none coming in District 6AAA.
Expecting this team to take off under Lippe would’ve been foolish, even for the most positive Lady Pioneer fans.
Instead, it’s been easier to try to focus on the small positives, especially for Lippe.
“We’re taking it quarter-by-quarter. We preach to the girls to win the quarter,” Lippe said following Friday’s loss. “We still have the buy in. The girls are working their tails off until the last buzzer.”
The Lady Pioneers should have plenty of positives to take away from Friday’s loss, even if their search for an elusive first victory still continues.
While the final score felt like another punch in the gut for the Lady Pioneers, it was a massive improvement from the first meeting with the Lady Wildcats. Just 10 days prior, Tullahoma had beaten Warren County by 38 points, including scoring the game’s first 13 points.
In Friday’s game, the Lady Pioneers actually held a 14-13 lead at halftime.
Beth Vaughn, who scored a career-high 16 points, buried a huge 3-pointer midway through the second quarter, stopping Tullahoma from taking control early.
The Lady Pioneers also held Julia Duncan, one of the state’s top scorers, in check for a half. Duncan, who scored 17 points in quick fashion at home, scored just six points in the first half.
Warren County came in with the mindset of making anybody but Duncan get buckets for Tullahoma and it worked – albeit just for a half.
“We talk about it all the time about being locked in and understand the strategy we’re going into the game with. They played hard and executed. We’re still struggling offensively, but we ended up with more points than them going into halftime. I was proud of them,” said Lippe.
If the game could have stopped at that moment, the Lady Pioneers would have been a lot happier. Alas, as it has been all season, the young team had to go through trials and tribulations.
Duncan scored 20 points after halftime, leading Tullahoma’s eventual blowout. To make matters worse, the Lady Pioneers lost senior guard Hallie Jo Pennington to a knee injury during the contest (While there was no official word, I wouldn’t expect to see Pennington suited up next week, or maybe even until after Christmas).
It’s going to take to time and Lippe is still searching for the right combination. Every night, it seems like he’s digging deeper down the bench, looking for a spark offensively.
It may not matter who Lippe puts in if the ball doesn’t go in, but at least he – and his Lady Pioneers – are still trying. Whether it takes a few more weeks or a few more months, success will ultimately come if the effort stays the same as it’s been this season.