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Controversy surrounds Lady Pioneer loss to White County
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Choosing between which loss in the District 6-AAA tournament felt worse would be a chore for the Warren County High School girls basketball team, but figuring out which was more bizarre is easy.
A late technical foul on Warren County coach Erick Baird and a buzzer-beating shot by Allyson Quillen gave White County a 43-42 victory in the District 6-AAA tournament semifinals.
Warren County had victory snatched from its hands Saturday night just as the Lady Pioneers looked assured of a berth in the District 6-AAA championship game.
After Lauren Wilkinson hit a runner in the lane with 2.1 seconds to go to put the Lady Pioneers up 42-40,  both coaches immediately signaled for a time-out as the clock ticked under two seconds.
The referees acknowledged a time-out, then proceeded to reset the clock back to 2.1 seconds as the teams went to the bench.
Lady Pioneer coach Erick Baird thought he had another time-out when his team took the court to defend a desperation try by White County.
When the Warriorettes showed their alignment, coach Baird burned what he thought was his last time-out to switch up his defense.
Instead, it turned out to be a technical foul because the referees determined the first time-out was charged to Warren County. The subsequent time-out was the team’s sixth, which was over the limit and sent White County to the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game.
Coach Baird explained after the game his decision to take the time-out.
“The officials in every game let you know as the game comes closer to the end how many time-outs you have,” said Baird. “We were told we had one left and I wanted to see what their coach was going to draw up to prepare my press defense. Unfortunately, the official book didn't have us with any.”
Loren Foster sank the first free throw, but missed the second. Warren County still held a 42-41 advantage, but the Warriorettes were still ready to ruin the Lady Pioneers’ night.
Quillen received a pass from halfcourt as she was streaking toward the basket undeterred. Quillen took two dribbles and released a left-handed layup just as time expired. The shot touched the glass and fell through the basket, sending White County into a frenzy and Warren County into shock.
The last-second shot proved to be the difference and coach Baird gave credit to White County for hitting a big shot.
“Their last-second shot was released really close to the horn and dropped for them. It was a great game and the girls competed really well,” said Baird. “A lot of emphasis was put on the time-out mistake but the game-winning layup was huge and it propelled White County to the finals and ultimately the district championship.”
Wilkinson led the Lady Pioneers with 12 points and Melton added 10.
Warren County led 30-21 at halftime but a scoreless third quarter helped White County get back in the game. Wilkinson’s last-second layup would’ve been the second time this season the senior hit a shot in the final five seconds to propel the Lady Pioneers to victory. The first came against DeKalb County Jan. 17.
White County won the District 6-AAA tournament Monday night with a 33-26 victory over Coffee County. Foster was named the tournament’s MVP.