Basketball was on tap Saturday afternoon at the annual Coffee County Christmas Tournament in Manchester.
For its first game, Warren County would be facing off against the Oakland Patriots from Murfreesboro. Oakland came into the game with a record of 5-3 and in the bottom half of District 7, while Warren County is playing with a 7-8 record overall.
Warren County was a little undersized in the paint but held the Patriots pretty close until halfway through the third quarter. Being one big man down with the absence of Pioneer big man Hunter Hawkins, Krojhn Calbert would have to carry a huge load down low against the Oakland post players.
The Pioneers would fall victim to the Patriots big men late in the game and Oakland would get the win, 66-35.
Holden Baker was the main offensive threat for Warren County, leading the Pioneers with 14 points. Baker would provide the long-range shooting for the Pioneers connecting on three deep 3-point shots.
Starting with a slight size disadvantage right from the opening tip, scoring inside would be a tough feat for Warren County, but it did not stop the Pioneers from trying. The Pioneers would have to try and expose any weakness in the Patriots zone defense early. After a first couple of failed attempts on the offensive end, Warren County would find points from a mid-range jumper form Baker. Passing the ball deep inside proved to be a challenge early for the Pioneers as turnovers cost them the first few trips down the floor.
In the early going of the game, Warren County would keep the tempo slow for the most part. The Patriots’ ability to get the passes deep in the post would draw two early fouls on Calbert, forcing Warren County’s big man to sit for most of the first half. Oakland started attacking the post with Calbert out, but the Pioneer defense would step up and keep the Patriot offense at bay for the rest of the first quarter.
Warren County would take possession with under a minute and try and hold the ball for the last shot. The Pioneers would get a decent look but the ball was just off target. Oakland gathered the rebound, sprinted to the other end and hit a lay-up, drawing the foul. The first quarter ended on a Patriot 3-point play, with the score 14-5.
Oakland controlling the boards and trying to get out and run was finally starting to take its toll on the Pioneers. The bench from the Patriots was deep and lack of help in the post for Warren County would be the difference late in the first half. Warren County was able to add 12 points to its total with Carlos Villegas and Baker leading the way as Warren County went into the half down 32-17.
Oakland’s plan out of the half was obvious. The Patriot offense went into attack mode. Every trip down the floor, the Patriots were attacking the rim. After some contact down low, Oakland would inbound underneath its own basket. The ball would be lobbed to the front of the rim, caught, and slammed through. The Oakland crowd was now awake as well as the Oakland offense.
It would be all Oakland much of the second half by running the floor and speeding up the tempo. Foul trouble early for Warren County did not help the cause but the Pioneers did not roll over for Oakland and fought right up until the final horn. Oakland would send the Pioneers away with a 66-35 loss.
PIONEER SCORING - Holden Baker 14, Krojhn Calbert 7, Isaac Golden 4, Carlos Villegas 4, Christian Wilkinson 4, Joelah Solomon 2
OAKLAND TOP SCORERS - Ricky Dunnaway 17, Kyle Oliver 11, Jaleen Lyons 10