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Heading down the stretch
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It’s time for the WCHS basketball teams to build some down-the-stretch momentum as they put the finishing touches on the regular season and prepare for tournament competition.

Heading into Tuesday night’s home game against White County, it’s been a sparkling 16-4 season for the Pioneers. The Lady Pioneers are 11-10 and have shown flashes of promise, including a district win Saturday night in Cookeville.

So what can we expect from these teams as February, and the postseason, approaches?

It’s been a different kind of year for the Pioneers with the most noticeable difference being the team’s eye-catching record. To win 80 percent of your games is a great accomplishment.

Outside of the record, this is a team that looks to score from beyond the 3-point line. In over two decades, I’ve never seen a Warren County team rely so heavily on the 3-point shot, but that’s how basketball, at all levels, is transforming.

We can either thank the Golden State Warriors or simple math for this. Based on what we’ve all learned in school, 3 is greater than 2, so shoot the 3.

In another shift, coach Chris Sullens doesn’t rotate a high number of players, which is unusual for him. In a win last week against Rhea County, only seven Pioneers took the floor.

I like Warren County’s overall athleticism and think the Pioneers can compete with Cookeville for the district title. I don’t know if Saturday’s loss in Cookeville is a fair indication of Warren County’s capabilities.

I’m probably not the only one to have noticed this, but the Pioneers didn’t get to practice all week because of snow, then they had to face the Cavs in Cookeville. That’s not a blueprint for success.

On the girls side, the Lady Pioneers have beaten some decent teams this year. That includes a sweep of Tullahoma and a huge home win against Coffee County.

The problem, as you might expect, is beating teams with elite players. Upperman serves as a prime example.
There are some talent-packed teams in District 6-AAA, including Stone Memorial and Rhea County. It will be a challenge for the Lady Pioneers to beat either one of those teams, mainly due to their lack of baseline-to-baseline foot speed.

For the Pioneers to win the district tournament, it’s going to take lights-out perimeter shooting from players like Chance Hobbs, Isaiah Grayson and Irving Espinoza.

For the Lady Pioneers, it’s going to take monster play from Tyra Wright in the paint, combined with brilliant shooting from 3-point specialist Megan Patch.