Anytime the whistle blew, Jalen Smith seemed to have another sub waiting at the table. With a roster that outnumbered visiting Tullahoma 13-7, it only seemed right to the Pioneer freshman coach to overwhelm the visitors with depth.
The strategy paid off late, when Warren County busted open a tight game in the second half to win 47-35.
Nine Pioneers got on the scoreboard in the victory, led by Chase Newby’s team-high nine points. Newby scored six of his points before the halftime break, when the Pioneers went to the locker rooms trailing 14-11.
The offense, which only scored twice from the field in the first half, finally found its groove in the second half. When the ball finally started falling through for the Pioneers, they never looked back.
Jeremy Jones made his presence known with back-to-back triples late in the third quarter, his lone two baskets proving vital as Warren County took a 33-25 lead.
Jones’ instant offense was a boost, but the Pioneers defense was just as impressive after the break. Warren County routinely swarmed Tullahoma, forcing turnovers which turned into quick points.
Braylon Grayson, who scored eight points, got a pair of layups in transition in the third quarter, then had a big bucket in the fourth when Warren County was able to build a double-digit advantage.
Nate Elrod chipped in seven points, showing a good command of the offense and the ability to balance making plays for others with an ability to get buckets.
Collin Panter finished with six points, all coming in the second half when the Pioneers flipped the game. JJ Jacobs added four points, while Evans Watts finished with three.
Will Davis scored the team’s first points from the field in the first quarter, the lone bucket for the 6-foot-6 big man who came off the Pioneer bench. Justus Majors swished two free throws in the fourth for his lone points.
The Pioneer freshman boys will go for the sweep of Tullahoma Monday night on the road.