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Lady Pioneers beat the Heat
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Some team may figure out how to stop Lauren Wilkinson and Bree Smith, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Wilkinson and Smith were brilliant once again for the Lady Pioneers as the team moved to 7-1 with a 47-35 win over the Middle Tennessee Heat Tuesday night at Charlie Dalton Gym.
The star seniors have accounted for over half of the Lady Pioneers’ points this season and Tuesday was no different.
Wilkinson scored 20 points, which was her seventh game of 20 or more points this season, while Smith added 14 points, five assists and five steals.
The seniors stole the show early. Smith began the game by hitting fellow senior Taylor Johnson with a bounce pass to get the Lady Pioneers on the board with an easy layup.
Smith found Wilkinson on the next possession for another layup, then Wilkinson drained a wide-open 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 7-3 early.
Smith started looking for her own shot on the next possession when she went baseline and pulled up for a short jumper.
Smith mixed it back up the next time down the court when she drove through the defense then kicked the ball out to Wilkinson for another wide open 3-pointer.
Wilkinson’s second long-range shot jump-started a 13-3 run to end the first quarter. Wilkinson accounted for nine of the points as she hit a jumper, went coast-to-coast for a layup and knocked in two free throws.
Smith and Megan Dishman each added two free throws apiece as Warren County led 22-11 after the first quarter.
The scoring spurt for Warren County carried over into the second quarter. Smith found Rachel Nokes open under the basket off a pick-and-roll for the first points of the period, then Nokes shared the ball with Dishman on a high-low set to get Dishman a three-point play.
After a basket by Middle Tennessee, Smith dropped in an off-balance floater in the lane to push the lead to 16 points and force a time-out by the Heat.
Wilkinson closed out the half with a putback as Warren County went to the locker room leading 31-16.
The Lady Pioneers rolled off a huge run in the third quarter to turn the game into a laugher. After Middle Tennessee opened up the scoring with a free throw, the Lady Pioneers rolled off 11 straight points to take their biggest lead of the season.
Smith started the scoring with a floater, then Johnson sank a free throw following a technical foul on the Heat’s coach. Wilkinson added a steal and score, Dishman followed with a putback and Smith ended the run with two straight layups as Warren County built a 42-19 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Coach Baird went deep into his bench in the fourth quarter as Wilkinson and Smith watched most of the game. The Heat were able to make the final score respectable as the Lady Pioneers scored only five points in the fourth quarter, three on a long bomb by freshman Brittany Myers.
The Heat outscored Warren County 16-5 in the fourth but the Lady Pioneers still hung on for a 12-point victory.
The fourth-quarter play was a little alarming for coach Erick Baird, but the third-year coach sees plenty of positives from his team’s play.
“Megan has stepped up as a third scorer and we’re flowing really good right now,” said Baird. “I’m searching for a bench to help my starters get rest. We have some tough games on the horizon.”
The Lady Pioneers will be looking for a sweep tonight when the team plays host to the Franklin County Lady Rebels. Warren County defeated the Lady Rebels 42-40 on two last-second free throws by Dishman on Nov. 29.
Tonight’s game will tip-off at 6 p.m. at Charlie Dalton Gym.