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Lady Pioneers fade late
Hallie Jo Pennington 1.jpg
Senior Hallie Jo Pennington tussles for a loose ball during Monday's 48-35 loss to visiting Livingston Academy.

It seems the Lady Pioneers have solved their issues with slow starts. Finishing will be the next lesson for the young squad.

Warren County showed great improvement in its last two outings, but second-half slumps proved costly both times. The Lady Pioneers scored just four points in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 48-35 loss against Livingston Academy, which came two days after the team surrendered a halftime lead in a 59-44 loss at Cannon County.

The Lady Pioneers, who are now 2-14 this season, found themselves out of games by the end of the first quarter earlier this year, including in a 35-point loss at Livingston Academy. In Monday’s contest, the Lady Wildcats found out Warren County wouldn’t be a pushover at home.

Erica Cantrell, who finished with nine points, spotted the Lady Pioneers an early lead. The post who went from spot minutes early to a vital cog in the rotation scored seven quick points in the first quarter, carving out space in the paint to get off layups.

Cantrell’s early scoring had Warren County up 11-6 after the first quarter, though the Lady Wildcats rallied to knot the score at 18-18 by halftime.

Livingston Academy (10-8) threw a haymaker out of halftime, ripping off six straight points and forcing Anthony Lippe to call a timeout. Warren County was able to respond, led by its freshman point guard and a pair of senior gunners.

Shelby Smartt went to work, slicing through the Lady Wildcat defense to get easy layups and open shots for teammates. Beth Vaughn was the recipient of two clean looks from the corner, burying a pair of 3-pointers in front of the Lady Pioneer bench to cut the deficit.

Fellow senior Hallie Jo Pennington added a sky-scraping triple late in the third, while Smartt’s floater to beat the buzzer made it 32-31 going into the final period.

From there, the offense stalled.

Warren County didn’t get on the board in the fourth until Livingston Academy had already taken control. Jaden Smartt added a late layup and Cantrell hit two free throws, but Warren County fell for the third time in four nights.

Vaughn finished with 11 points to lead the Lady Pioneers against the Lady Wildcats. She also had 11 Saturday when the Lady Pioneers built a 25-22 halftime lead in Woodbury before falling by 15.

Shelby Smartt finished with 10 points against Cannon County, a career-high outing.

Scores from Tuesday’s outing at Upperman were unavailable at press time. Check Friday’s paper for more details.