The free-throw line has been a thorn in the sides of the Lady Pioneers all season, but Megan Dishman made sure she was pure from the charity stripe when it mattered most Tuesday night.
Dishman sank a pair of free throws with 6.1 seconds to go and Warren County held Franklin County from scoring at the buzzer to win 42-40 on the road.
The Warren County High School girls basketball team has become road warriors in the early season. The Lady Pioneers improved to 5-0 away from Charlie Dalton Gym with their latest dramatic win.
Dishman’s free throws capped a frantic comeback by the Lady Pioneers which saw Warren County rally from down by as many as 12 points in the third quarter to win.
Warren County got contributions from the entire roster to complete another comeback and improve to 5-1 this season.
Freshman Bri Melton came up with a big jumper in the third quarter, sophomore Camerie Martin played strong defense on the top Lady Rebel guard and sophomore Jessie Newby jump-started the Lady Pioneers in the fourth with a layup.
Martin, Melton and freshman Brittany Myers all had to pick up the slack in the fourth quarter when senior guard Bree Smith fouled out late in the game.
Smith, who is second on the team in scoring, went to the bench with six points and had to watch as the Lady Pioneers tried to comeback in her absence.
The comeback attempt looked bleak when Warren County’s struggles at the free-throw line started showing.
The Lady Pioneers missed seven free throws in the fourth quarter, including sharpshooter Lauren Wilkinson missing a pair midway through the fourth.
But when it counted, Dishman was able to find the mark. The junior post player was sent to the line with 6.1 seconds to go when Franklin County was called for a foul on an inbounds pass.
Warren County had the ball by its bench with less than 10 seconds to play in a 40-40 game and Dishman threw the ball in to Martin. Martin looked back under the basket for Dishman, who had cut off a screen from Taylor Johnson and was wide open.
While the ball was in the air, Dishman was shoved in the back and the ball sailed out of bounds.
The referee whistled a foul on the play and Dishman was awarded two free throws because Warren County was in the double bonus.
In a pressure-packed setting, Dishman calmly swished two free throws to put the Lady Pioneers ahead 42-40.
Franklin County had one last chance to tie or take the lead, but the Lady Rebels couldn’t score on a last-second shot and saw Warren County celebrate its fifth win on their home court.
Wilkinson was a big reason why Warren County stayed in the game early. The star senior scored 10 of Warren County’s 15 points in the first half as the team fell behind 23-15. Wilkinson drained two 3-pointers in the first half, then came back to score five more in the third as the Lady Pioneers began to cut into the lead.
Warren County still trailed 35-29 going into the fourth, but the team effort on offense and stifling defense led the team to victory.
Coach Erick Baird was extremely pleased with the resolve his team showed while trailing by double digits in a hostile environment.
“I believe it's the biggest win since I got to Warren County three years ago and it's a strong indicator of things to come in the future, not only this year but in years ahead,” said Baird.
Wilkinson led the Lady Pioneers with 18 points. Dishman finished with nine.
The Lady Pioneers will be back on the road tonight when the team travels to Van Buren County. Warren County will take the court at 6 p.m.