Maybe the Lady Pioneers just need to start all their games an hour earlier.
On the road in Rhea County, Warren County finally found what it was looking for at 6 p.m. Eastern time, its first district win, as the Lady Pioneers defeated the Lady Golden Eagles, 55-50.
Up by 13 points in the third quarter, Warren County had some tense moments in the fourth, as the Lady Golden Eagles brought the game to a two-possession score, 55-51.
The Lady Pioneers made friends with the charity stripe, coming through in the clutch hitting 5-of-5 for 100 percent in fourth-quarter action. Overall, the team shot 10-of-16 from the foul line for 62 percent.
“It feels great,” said Warren County coach Shea Panter in a post-game interview on WAKI radio. “I was running out of stuff to say if we lost. I’m proud of our girls and the way they played tonight. They played with a lot of heart and it was super-positive so it was a fun game to coach. We are finally putting that nail in the coffin and finishing the game.”
A close game all the way through, Rhea County led by 1 point at the half, 21-20. A third-quarter surge by the Lady Pioneers gave them some breathing room as they led into the fourth, 43-33.
The Lady Pioneers were energized and ready to give back what Rhea County brought to the Dalt in the last matchup, having beaten Warren County in a close 59-51 ballgame.
Stepping up, point guard Emily Mikkola pulled down boards and coordinated the offense with precision. The Lady Pioneers distributed the basketball well with six players posting points. Senior Elsa Eckenrod led the Warren County scoring with 14 points, followed closely by Megan Patch with 13.
Lady Pioneer Rae Anna Hodges and Callie Cathcart both hit for 10 points and were a crucial controlling force in the paint on both ends of the court. Mikkola hit for 6 points and tall post Tyra Wright scored 2, along with grabbing boards all night.
Warren County traveled to play Siegel on Saturday in a snow-day makeup game. Results were not available at press time.
The Lady Pioneers will play host to Stone Memorial this Tuesday, Feb. 7. Game time is 6 p.m.