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Lady Pioneers eye fresh start
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There wasn’t a ceremony to bury the basketball, torch the nets or destroy the disks of the game, but coach Erick Baird is definitely ready to put last week’s District 6-AAA opener in the past.
The Warren County High School girls basketball team started the district season by being crushed by Coffee County 52-26, the team’s worst loss of the season.
Warren County (12-9) knew going into the game with the Lady Raiders last week that history wasn’t on its side, but that will be the same story tonight when the Lady Pioneers travel to White County.
Coffee County continued its nearly decade-long winning streak over the Lady Pioneers last Friday and White County has been winning against Warren County just as long.
Since coach Erick Baird arrived in Warren County before the 2009-10 season, which was also the first year District 6-AAA featured five teams, the Lady Pioneers have never beaten the Warriorettes.
The most bitter loss came last year in the District 6-AAA tournament when a blunder in time-out calling cost the Lady Pioneers a victory and a shot at the championship game.
Coach Baird tried to call a time-out after Lauren Wilkinson put the team ahead in the final seconds, but Warren County was out of time-outs and was called for a technical foul.
A free throw and game-winning shot by Allyson Quillen gave the Warriorettes the victory and handed coach Baird one of his toughest losses during his tenure.
Getting a win against the Warriorettes this season, especially on the road, would be a huge boost for the Lady Pioneers. Coach Baird knows it won’t be an easy task though.
“Watching the film, you can tell this is a quality team we’re going to face,” said Baird. “They are a senior-laden team that plays well together.
“We’ll have to rebound well and hit our 3-pointers to stay with them.”
Outside shooting has been the barometer for success this season for the Lady Pioneers. In Warren County’s nine losses this season, the Lady Pioneers have hit just 16 3-pointers. By contrast, when Warren County won five of six games before the outing against Coffee County, the Lady Pioneers connected on 19 3-pointers in wins.
Coach Baird hopes the Lady Pioneers find the range early and often against the Warriorettes.
“It’s been a pretty simple formula for us this year,” said Baird. “When we’re hitting 3-pointers, we are pretty good. When we aren’t hitting, we can look bad.”
The Lady Pioneers will have to keep it close early if the team wants to pull the upset on the road tonight. Last week, Warren County was down by double digits before scoring.
Coach Baird wants his team to keep its focus on the task at hand at all moments in hopes of keeping up with the Warriorettes.
“We have to play possession-by-possession and execute. It will give us a chance at the end if we stay close,” said Baird.
The Warriorettes enter tonight’s game, which will be their first District 6-AAA game, with a 13-5 record. The game will begin at 6 p.m.