After the Lady Pioneers suffered a tough road loss in the final minutes versus Cannon County on Tuesday night, the question was how would they respond Friday night in Cookeville?
Not exactly the way head coach Shea Panter wanted.
Before the game coach Panter said, “We did not finish well against Cannon County and we need a spark. Maybe tonight will be the spark.”
That spark didn’t materialize as Cookeville defeated Warren County, 47-34
Heidi Smith of Cookeville led all scorers with a game-high 14 points. She connected four times from beyond the arch. Marlee Smith of Warren County got inside the Lady Cav defense and scored a pair of baskets for a team-high nine points. The rest of her points came at the free-throw line.
The Lady Pioneers started off on the right foot and attacked the much larger and much more physical Cookeville defense. Rylan Moore got the nod to start Friday night and she made good use of her time.
Moore backed inside and was able to pick up a quick score inside. On her next trip in the paint the Lady Cav defense sent her the free-throw line where she shot a perfect 2-of-2.
Saydee Winfree and Smith also earned trips to the free-throw line. The two combined and knocked down all four free throws. The Lady Pioneers got physical right back in the early minutes. Callie Cathcart scored her only two points in the first.
As time wound down in the first, Cookeville crept back after they were down much of the opening quarter. Sydney Bean buried a pair of deep 3-pointers over the Lady Pioneer defense. The game’s high scorer started her night off with five first-quarter points.
In the final minute of the first quarter Warren County had a lapse on defense and Cookeville claimed the lead and after a turnover the Lady Cavs got off a shot as the horn sounded and the shot dropped through. Cookeville led 19-14.
The Lady Pioneers were rattled and it seemed Warren County had no idea where to be on defense. Several trips down the floor players moved away from the ball and allowed the Lady Cavaliers to score easy baskets from close range.
A 3-pointer dialed up by Elsa Eckenrod was the only shot from the floor that was made by Warren County in the second quarter.
Cookeville led 31-18 at the half.
In the third quarter, Smith went back to work for Warren County in the post and the free-throw line and added four more to her total. Allison Hitchcock struggled to find the range and scored her only two points in the third.
The Lady Cav offense did not fare any better. Megan Whitson and Riley Masters combined on two separate trips down the floor for a pair of baskets while Bean shot 1-of-2 from the charity stripe and after three complete Cookeville led 36-24.
The fourth was a mirror image of the third. The Lady Cavaliers were dominant on the inside and the Lady Pioneers were waiting on someone to step up.
The Lady Pioneers were clearly out of sync. The passing game was off and the shot selection was limited by a sizable defensive presence by the Lady Cavs.
Cookeville (12-5) defeated Warren County by a final score of 47-34. The Lady Pioneer overall record falls to 7-14 and 0-3 in the district. The Lady Pioneers head to Wilson Central on Monday with game time scheduled for 6:30 p.m., the third game of the four-game road trip for Warren County.
LADY CAV SCORING – Heidi Smith 14, Toiya Gwynn 8, Sydney Bean 7, Courtney Savage 6, Megan Whitson 6, Riley Masters 4, Chloe Grace Savage 2
LADY PIONEER SCORING – Marlee Smith 9, Elsa Eckenrod 7, Saydee Winfree 4, Rylan Moore 4, Megan Patch 3, Tyra Wright 2, Allison Hitchcock 2, Anna Bain 1