An eerie ‘here we go’ again feeling may have been creeping in during another slow first half Friday night for the Lady Pioneers, but it was quickly followed by one of the best stretches of the season for the standout squad.
Warren County rode a dominant third quarter at home to a 70-36 crushing of Cannon County. The Lady Pioneers poured in 28 points – and six 3-pointers – in the eight minutes after the break, turning a tight 26-21 game into a blowout.
“I wish we could take that third quarter, bottle it up and take it everywhere we go,” said coach Anthony Lippe on the 92.1 FM radio broadcast following the game. “We play at our best when we’re sharing the ball and don’t care who scores it. I think they did a good job of that, especially in the second half.”
The Lady Pioneers flipped a switch out of the break and their offense hit a fever pitch the team caught fire from outside. Cannon County tried to stop the momentum with a timeout after Sable Winfree’s 3-pointer put the Lady Pioneers up 33-21, but it was only the start of the onslaught.
The Charlie Dalton Gym nets were basically smoking once Shelby Smartt and Brienne Kelsey started bombing away from deep.
As the Lady Pioneers pulled away, Smartt drilled back-to-back triples at one point, including getting a great home roll on a shot from the corner. Kelsey kept pace off the bench, popping off a pindown for another triple that made it 48-31. Smartt followed with a pull-up bomb from the top of the key to make it a 20-point game, then Kelsey drilled another from deep right in front of the student section right before the end of the third.
The avalanche of outside shooting in the third allowed Warren County to cruise to the victory, though there was some worry when senior star Kyra Perkins went down following a collision late. Lippe noted after the game that there’s hope Perkins, who hit the ground hard several times against Cannon County, was just dealing with some bumps and bruises and hopefully will be in uniform this coming week.
Warren County’s spread-out shooting allowed five girls to reach double figures Friday, led by Kelsey’s season-best 16 points. Perkins was next with 13, followed by Smartt with 12 (all on 3-pointers) and Mia Hobbs and Sable Winfree with 10 points apiece.
The Lady Pioneers will be back in action Tuesday when the team travels to face Stewarts Creek. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
Lady Pioneer scoring – Kelsey 16, Perkins 13, Smartt 12, Sable Winfree 10, Hobbs 10, Savannah Winfree 3, Addison Smith 2, Kennedi Pegg 2, Jenna Newby 2