The Lady Pioneers showed true grit Saturday in an exciting overtime win against Notre Dame at Whitwell High School.
It was a very physical, fast-paced game that appeared to be going in Notre Dame’s favor until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. Shelby Smartt was the star of the game by making two clutch free throws with 13 seconds left in overtime that gave Warren County a 64-62 victory.
Smartt also tied the game 52-52 with a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The tie cemented a comeback that was an uphill battle for the Lady Pioneers. Notre Dame responded to the tie and made two free throws with 28.5 seconds left to take a 54-52 lead. Kyra Perkins was fouled, and she made two free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime, 54-54.
It was fitting that free throws played a crucial role in a game punctuated with fast, physical play. According to the Notre Dame scorekeeper, Notre Dame is not normally an overly physical team. On a day when Warren County’s shots were not dropping at a high percentage, the free throws became a significant factor. Mia Hobbs made all six of her free throws which was a big difference.
What the Lady Pioneers lacked in a hot shooting hand, they made up for with defense. Warren County made inbound passes very difficult for Notre Dame late in the game, and key steals were made on those inbound passes. A strong full-court press also created steals and turnovers for Warren County.
This was a game the Lady Pioneers can truly build on, and it should give the team confidence to come from behind. This was the type of game the Lady Pioneers may have lost last year, but the team has matured physically and mentally.
HEAD COACH COMMENTS
Lady Pioneer head coach Anthony Lippe said, “I was very happy with how our girls handled adversity. We did not shoot the ball well at all from the field or free throw line, but our girls still figured out a way to win. I was very proud of that.”
Junior Shelby Smartt said, “We were really flat in the first half. Coach Lippe gave us a good talking to … we had to fight against adversity. We had to move the ball. Some of us did not do well with free throws in the beginning, but a bunch of us got better at the end. I did not start well, but I made some shots at the end. It is always our defense that makes the difference. We all missed Jaden (Smartt) out there.”
Shelby Smartt was asked about what went through her mind as she made key baskets late in the game. Smartt said, “There was a little bit in my head at the end, but I knew that we had to make them. We all had to focus and make them.”
1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q OT
W.C. 9 20 32 54 64
N.D. 14 29 40 54 62
WARREN COUNTY Shelby Smartt 14, Mia Hobbs 14, Kyra Perkins 12, Sable Winfree 9, Lex Verge 8, Brienne Kelsey 3, Savannah Winfree 2, Sydney Burger 2
NOTRE DAME Makyla Skaggs 16, Dayonna Perryman 14, Mary Fillauer 14, Kenzie Campbell 12, Maliyau Maples 1
The Lady Pioneers played host to Whitwell later in the afternoon on Saturday and won 55-36. Shelby Smartt was the top scorer in that game with 11 points, followed closely by Sable Winfree and Mia Hobbs with 10 points each.
The Lady Pioneers opened their regular season last night at Tullahoma as the Southern Standard was going to print. The score from that game can be found at the Southern Standard Scoreboard on the newspaper’s website, www.southernstandard.com.
Both the boys and girls are home Friday night against DeKalb County.
WARREN COUNTY 55
WARREN COUNTY Shelby Smartt 11, Sable Winfree 10, Mia Hobbs 10, Kyra Perkins 9, Rudy DeArmond 6, Brienne Kelsey 5, Savannah Winfree 2, Sydney Burger 2
WHITWELL Courtney Zensen 16, Jamie Rollins 7, Addie Colvard 5, Kiley Kilgore 3, Lilly Dzingish 3, Kendall Long 2