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Lady Pioneers lose late lead to Lady Cavaliers
Kam Nowlin 2-9-21.jpg
Lady Pioneer senior Kam Nowlin is on the move Tuesday during district action against Cookeville. - photo by Brad Durham

It was Senior Night at the Dalt and all four Lady Pioneer seniors, Erica Cantrell, Kam Nowlin, Brielee Kelsey and Madalyn Stubblefield, started Tuesday night’s game with sophomore Shelby Smartt. 

The Lady Pioneers scored first and together the seniors gave the Cookeville Lady Cavaliers all they could handle. It was a surprising, energetic start to the game. The Lady Pioneers were in it to win it, and lost by only 2 points, 45-43.

Warren County had the lead with just one minute to play.

This game had a similar atmosphere to the Lady Pioneers game at White County a couple weeks ago in Sparta. It was an atmosphere of competitiveness the Lady Pioneers have been developing all season, and their hard-working, aggressive style has produced results.

After the game, Cookeville head coach Jamie Gillies was asked what the difference was in the Lady Pioneers team. Gillies said, “They came out to play, and that freshman was a difference maker tonight. I have told coach Lippe that she has my vote for freshman of the year in the district.” 

That freshman is No. 10, Sable Winfree.

For the first time this season, the crowd was chanting in unison during the game. Chants of “DE-FENSE” were heard in the final minutes. The crowd realized the Lady Pioneers had a chance to win. 

With 1:42 left, the Lady Pioneers took a 41-39 lead. Cookeville’s No. 30, K.K. Graves was a force around the basket, and she tied the game for the Lady Cavs, 41-41. 

Winfree then drove to the basket and put the Lady Pioneers ahead, 43-41, with only 1:02 left. Cookeville responded and tied the game. Then with :35 left and the score tied 43-43, Winfree was driving to the basket and called for a charge. Film shows that the player’s feet were moving when Winfree made contact. 

Cookeville took possession and called timeout with the score tied and only 14.7 on the clock. The Lady Cavaliers ran a play that set up Cookeville’s No. 12, Jordan Gillies for a backdoor, 2-foot basket. That gave Cookeville the lead, 45-43 with 1.6 seconds left. 

WCHS coach Anthony Lippe called timeout and Warren County had one last chance with little time remaining. The inbound pass was deflected and the game ended.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the team. However, minutes after the game the Lady Pioneers had regrouped and were feeling a sense of improvement. The Lady Pioneers are 10-11 for the season with a 2-6 district record.

After the game, Sable Winfree said, “It was good until we lost. It was Senior Night and we wanted to do it for the seniors.” 

Mia Hobbs, a sophomore, had similar comments, “It was Senior Night and we knew what we had to do. We lost to Cookeville by 30 last time, and we did not want that to happen again.”

Winfree and Hobbs led Warren County in scoring with 10 points each. Cookeville’s top scorer was Liv Shipman with 16. 

The Lady Pioneers are expected to host Rhea County in a play-in game to the district tournament on Tuesday night next week. 

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WARREN county 43

LADY CAVS: Liv Shipman 16, K.K. Graves 14, Cassie Gallagher 8, Jordan Gillies 5, Emma Webb 2

LADY PIONEERS: Mia Hobbs 10, Sable Winfree 10, Kyra Perkins 5, Brielee Kelsey 5, Shelby Smartt 4, Kam Nowlin 4, Jaden Smartt 3, Erica Cantrell 2