With six seconds to play in a tie game, the Warren County Middle School Pioneers were hoping to come up with a stop to force overtime. Little did the Pioneers know they’d get a chance to win the game.
Darius Wright got a steal near midcourt and shot a layup with no time to spare that rolled in as the Pioneers defeated Coffee County 41-39 on Monday night at home.
The final possession for Coffee County was set up after Wright was called for traveling with six seconds to play while Warren County tried to hold for the final shot.
The Raiders called time-out and Pioneer coach Adam Wood devised a full-court press to try to stall Coffee County from advancing up the court.
The plan worked wonders and Wright was able to redeem himself from the miscue moments before.
The inbounds pass came to Coffee County’s Ronnie Crismond and he tried to move up the left side of the court against the defense of A.D. Majors.
Trying to go behind-the-back with his dribble, Crismond slipped and the ball rolled right to Wright at midcourt.
Wright sprinted toward the basket, releasing a layup with 0.5 seconds left on the clock. The ball banked in as the Pioneer bench erupted and Wright jumped into the arms of his coach as the players gathered in celebration.
Wright’s shot sent the crowd into a frenzy as Warren County celebrated for over a minute before regrouping and doing the post-game handshakes with the Raiders.
The final basket was part of a stand-out night for Wright. The super sub led the team with 13 points, including scoring nine points in the second quarter as the Pioneers made up a 10-point deficit to trail 19-18 at halftime.
Post Will Lupo and guard Isaac Golden made big contributions in the second half to help the Pioneers pick up their 11th win.
Lupo scored six points in the third quarter and Golden made a 3-pointer as Warren County went into the final period leading 28-26.
The Pioneers stretched their lead out in the fourth quarter, with the biggest lead coming with 1:20 to play when Golden drained a 3-pointer from the left corner.
Coffee County came back though. Wyatt Day hit a 3-pointer of his own and Garrett Eldridge tied the game with 40 seconds left with a layup.
Before Wright could be the hero, he looked like he may be the goat down the stretch. Wright took a pass at the free-throw line as the clocked ticked under 10 seconds.
While facing a double team and trying to find an open teammate, Wright was called for traveling as the referee ruled he drug his pivot foot.
The play happened right in front of the Pioneer bench and stunned coach Wood, who nearly ran out on the court to protest the call.
Instead, coach Wood gathered his team during the time-out and was able to get the right play called to end the game in dramatic style.
Golden scored 10 points for the Pioneers, who improved to 11-4. Majors added nine, followed by Lupo with seven. Krojhn Calbert scored two points.
The Pioneers will hit the road tomorrow to play another Central Tennessee Conference opponent.
Franklin North Middle School will play host to the Pioneers and the action will begin at 6 p.m. with a girls game.