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Hurting at home
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With coach Shea Panter looking on, Brielee Kelsey takes a baseline jumper in Tuesday's game. The Lady Pioneers were defeated 54-28.

The struggles at home in district play continued for the Lady Pioneers Tuesday night. Warren County was crushed 54-28 at Charlie Dalton Gym by Stone Memorial, dropping the team to 8-11 overall. 

It was the team’s 10th straight loss at home in district play, a streak that dates back nearly three years. 

The Lady Pioneers haven’t won a home district game since Feb. 5, 2016 when they beat Rhea County 54-42. 

This year’s group came into the season with expectations of competing for a district title. With six seniors returning, most felt this was the year the Lady Pioneers have been building toward under fifth-year coach Shea Panter.

Instead, Stone Memorial led by double figures for the final three quarters Tuesday, ultimately handing the Lady Pioneers their worst loss of the season.

“We did not start district play the way we had hoped,” said Panter. “The game started out the way we wanted, but when they made their run early we just didn’t have an answer.”

Warren County never stood a chance after the Lady Panthers took control with a 12-0 run to end the first quarter. The Lady Pioneers were tied 6-6 before the run, showing success at slowing the pace and working the ball into the post to Tyra Wright and Grace Rains.

Stone Memorial jumped into control in the final two minutes of the first quarter, spurred on by 3-pointers from Alex Eldridge and Keaton Frietag.

Warren County had a prolonged offensive drought stretching through the second and third quarters. The Lady Pioneers hit only one shot from the field over 10 minutes of live action - a buzzer-beating layup by Emily Mikkola before halftime.

The scoring shortage allowed Stone Memorial to build a 32-13 advantage by the break. The lead swelled to 46-19 by the end of the third quarter.

The Lady Pioneers never threatened in the second half, ultimately suffering a 26-point loss to their District 6AAA foe. It was the team’s third 20-plus point loss this season, the first two coming in matchups with powerhouse Blackman.

Warren County finished without a player reaching double figures. Rains led the way with eight points, followed by Wright with seven and Beth Vaughn with six. Brielee Kelsey came off the bench to score four and Lia Wright hit a fourth-quarter free throw for her lone point.

Stone Memorial countered with three players - Frietag, Tessa Miller and Emily Boyd - finishing with 10 points each.

The Lady Pioneers will be back in district play Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Rhea County. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. 

Warren County will get a chance to snap its home losing streak in district play Friday, Jan. 18 against Cookeville.