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Lady Pioneers earn spot in regional tournament

The WCHS Lady Pioneers won the District 6-AAA Tournament play-in game 63-29 over the Rhea County Lady Eagles at the Dalt on Friday afternoon. For their reward, the Lady Pioneers advanced to play No. 1 seed Cookeville.

This was the third time Warren County and Rhea County have played each other and the outcome each time was decisively in Warren County’s favor. The Lady Pioneers won the three games by an average margin of 35 points.

The win pushed the Lady Pioneers over the .500 mark for the season at 12-11. WCHS head coach Anthony Lippe was pleased with his team’s performance. Lippe said, “It’s tough to beat a team three times. I don’t care how good they are. They know you, and you know them. We had a slow start, but in the second quarter we got fired up.”

Lippe continued, “We have practiced once in five days. The weather has shut everything down. I am excited about the opportunity of playing Cookeville. Going from last year being 2-26 to winning today and gaining

a region berth … I couldn’t be more proud of our girls.”

The Lady Pioneers never trailed and led 8-5 early in the first quarter and took off from there. Senior Erica Cantrell was strong underneath early in the game rebounding and putting up close shots off the glass.

Sophomore Shelby Smartt and freshman Sable Winfree both made 3-pointers in the first quarter that led to a 16-8 lead heading into the second quarter.

The Lady Pioneers continued to increase their lead throughout the game. Warren County’s full-court press created turnovers and several fast breaks against Rhea County. One combination that has been strong this season is Winfree to Perkins and Perkins to Winfree.

Perkins made steals and passed to Winfree during the game and Winfree completed the transition with a layup. Winfree, at point guard, has also been effective at feeding Perkins assists.

As Warren County increased its lead in the fourth quarter coach Lippe emptied the bench and the entire team gained playing time. Perkins led the Lady Pioneers

in scoring with 14 points that included four 3-pointers. Sable Winfree was second in scoring for Warren County with 11 points.

The youth movement was alive and well for the Lady Pioneers last home game of the season. All of their remaining games will be on the road.

Saturday, the Lady Pioneers travelled to Cookeville to play the first-seed Lady Cavaliers. Win or lose, the Lady Pioneers will have another game after the bout against Cookeville. The Lady Pioneers will either advance in district tournament play this week and/ or to region tournament action.

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LADY PIONEERS: Kyra Perkins 14, Sable Winfree 11, Shelby Smartt 8, Erica Cantrell 8, Mia Hobbs 7, Kam Nowlin 5, Rudy DeArmond 5, Brielee Kelsey 3, Madalyn Stubblefied 2 LADY EAGLES: Emily McClure 10, Ava Travis 5, Emma Gentry 4, Emma Reeves 4, Hayla Patton 3, Jayla Goins 3