The Lady Pioneers knew they would have the target on their back this season after last year’s resurgence, but nothing said they had to be easy targets.
Franklin County did everything it could to get a statement win to start District 6-4A play Tuesday, but the Warren County girls had other plans. The Lady Pioneers took Franklin County’s best punch and still came out on top, beating the Lady Rebels 50-40 to extend their winning streak to eight games.
Shelby Smartt had 12 points and six assists, while Mia Hobbs added 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals as Warren County continued its dominance of its district foes from Winchester. The Lady Pioneers have now won all four matchups against Franklin County since the teams started facing off in district last year and have won six straight overall.
It wasn’t always easy – Franklin County actually led 23-21 at halftime – but coach Anthony Lippe knows every win is crucial when only six games will decide the district standings this season.
“Every district game for us is huge. There’s just so much on the line,” said Lippe, who has guided his group to a 15-5 record. “Anytime you can go on the road and win a district game, it’s a good night. The thing that impressed me most about the game is that our girls didn’t quit and came together at the right time.Even though they weren’t playing well for much of the game, they figured out a way to win.”
It looked like it could be another Lady Pioneer rout from the tip when Kyra Perkins tabbed it easily to Sable Winfree and she fed her sister Savannah for an easy layup just five seconds into the game. It ignited an 8-0 in the first 90 seconds, punctuated by 3-pointers from Smartt and Sable.
Franklin County fought back from there, even building a 23-17 advantage midway through the second quarter following back-to-back 3-pointers from Paislee Edge. Warren County grabbed the momentum before heading to the locker rooms though, with Savannah beating the buzzer with a layup off a perfect pass from Hobbs.
Warren County trailed all the way into the fourth quarter, but Brienne Kelsey opened the final period by splashing a 3-pointer from the right corner. It was one of three crucial triples from the senior off the bench and helped the Lady Pioneers go ahead for good.
Kelsey’s second triple of the fourth made it 36-32, then Smartt nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing that pushed Warren County up 39-34. Hobbs iced the game midway through the fourth, driving through the defense and hitting a contorting layup while being fouled. She completed the 3-point play with a free throw, capping one of the senior’s best performances this season.
The Lady Pioneers will get a chance to make it nine in a row at home against Shelbyville Friday. The Lady Eagles are 0-1 in district play following a 68-36 loss to Coffee County Tuesday. Tip-off at Charlie Dalton Gym is set for 6 p.m. Friday.
WC scoring – Smartt 12, Hobbs 11, Kelsey 9, Savannah Winfree 8, Perkins 7, Sable Winfree 3