Chance Hunter didn’t need to hesitate. The freshman forward had the ultimate green light.
Hunter hit seven 3-pointers, including two in overtime, to push the Warren County High School freshman team past Coffee County 46-44 Monday at Charlie Dalton Gym.
“We have a big group of guys, so you don’t know who the hot hand may be on a given night,” said coach Stephen Glenn. “You have to go on feeling when somebody shows they have the touch. Chance led us. He was feeling it.”
The Pioneers scored only nine points in the first half, struggling to generate any offense against the Red Raiders. Coach Glenn made an adjustment in the second half, inserting Hunter as a floor stretcher in hopes of opening up the offense.
It worked wonders.
Hunter drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half, pushing the Pioneers into the lead. He stayed hot the rest of the way, including hitting a giant 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation that helped push the game into extra time.
Warren County trailed by as many as six in the final minute of regulation, but Hunter erased half the deficit with a 3-pointer following a turnover. The Pioneer defense forced three turnovers with its press in the final minute, allowing the team to come back to tie the game on late free throws.
A final turnover with 1.8 seconds left gave the Pioneers a chance for the win, but a late layup spun out and sent the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Hunter again came up clutch. After Coffee County regained its lead in extra time, Hunter struck again. The Pioneers set up a play to get Hunter free on the wing and he responded by burying a big 3-pointer.
He followed with another 3-pointer on the following possession, putting the game away.
“The kids seemed to realize Chance was hot and were working to get him the ball,” said Glenn. “I thought we played well enough. After not playing over the break, I think we had some jet lag in the first half. In the second half, we were pressuring the ball and crashing the boards.
“When Chance found some rhythm, we just rode it.”
Aaron Ashburn added eight points in the victory, while Asher Wallace chipped in five, including a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. Keldric Cox scored four points – all in the fourth quarter – and JJ Brown, Eli Kuykendall and Jahhad Middleton scored two points each. Hunter Musgrove scored one.
The freshman Pioneers will be back in action Saturday in the Watertown league. Warren County is back at home Tuesday, Jan. 29 against Van Buren County.