Rhea County would hit a foul shot with under :01 remaining to stun the WCHS girls basketball team Friday night in McMinnville.
The winning free throw came with just four-tenths of a second on the clock as Rhea County escaped with a 38-37 victory.
The shot came with the score knotted at 37 and Rhea County drawing up an inbounds play from under its own basket. Despite WCHS coach Shea Panter’s desire to keep the ball out of the hands of Lady Golden Eagle Amber Levi, that’s exactly what happened.
Levi circled around the defense, came down the middle of the lane, and caught the inbounds pass near the basket. That’s where she was fouled.
Levi finished with a game-high 19 points, but her biggest point came when she made the first free throw to put Rhea County up by one. She then missed the second shot intentionally as there wasn’t enough time on the clock for Warren County to launch a shot.
Karagan Turner and Elsa Eckenrod scored 10 points each to lead Warren County.
Warren County held a 25-18 lead at halftime. The Lady Golden Eagles would make a stand on the defensive side of the ball and stay within reach of Warren County in the third quarter. The pressure had been turned up on the Lady Pioneers and it was up to Warren County to respond.
Almost all scoring avenues had been cut off for Warren County, but Brittany Myers, Turner and Eckenrod found points in the third quarter. The Lady Golden Eagles flew their way back in and a narrow margin of only two points separated these two teams at the end of the third quarter, 33-31.
Both teams would clamp down defensively in a low-scoring fourth quarter in which Warren County was held to four points. Rhea County only mustered eight points, but it would be just enough.
The Lady Pioneers had a hard time keeping the handle on the ball while maintaining a lead. It was more pressure down the stretch than in previous quarters of play. Warren County would lose possession and Rhea County would take the lead with under a minute to go, forcing Warren County to call for timeout.
Warren County would turn the ball over, but Eckenrod would take the ball back and find an open Myers. She would hit to tie the game at 37 with under a minute to go and Rhea County would call for timeout. Rhea County would throw a long pass toward its basket and it was caught by a Lady Golden Eagle who would have the presence of mind to immediately call for time.
That set up the inbound play which would lead to the winning foul shot.
The Warren County Lady Pioneers will be back on their home floor Jan. 23 versus Cumberland County with tip-off set for 6 p.m.
LADY PIONEER SCORING - Karagan Turner 10, Elsa Eckenrod 10, Brittany Myers 6, Marlee Smith 6, Madison Mason 3, Allison Hitchcock 2
LADY GOLDEN EAGLE TOP SCORERS – Amber Levi 19, Shelby Thurman 7