WCHS coach Chris Sullens has discussed in detail how his fundamental goal for Warren County basketball was to re-establish respect from opponents.
Winning back-to-back District 6-AAA championships will make a lasting impression on opponents, clearly fulfilling coach Sullens’ goal.
This is the last year in this current district alignment for the Pioneers, and nothing is sweeter, says Sullens, than beating White County two years in a row for the district championship.
Coach Sullens wants this senior-led team to take it to the next level. The next step is getting to the state sectionals, which means the Pioneers need to get to the Region 3-AAA championship game next Thursday.
Warren County needs two more tournament wins, starting this Saturday night at Charlie Dalton Gym against high-scoring McMinn County.
Pioneer team captain C.J. Taylor has been an outstanding rebounder, perimeter shooter, and aggressively been active around the rim in the tournament. C.J. received his second technical in two consecutive games in the district tournament, the final one coming against White County Warrior and Ole Miss signee Grant Slatten.
C.J. said, “It feels good. Back-to-back is something many people don’t get to do. He (Slatten) is a great player and after I hit that 3, I was just holding my hand up -- nothing against him. He pushed me and then I got a technical. I shouldn’t have got it, but it’s over with and we won.”
Pioneer senior center Aiden Cummings, who was named all-tournament in District 6-AAA, echoes his head coach’s sentiments. Cummings said, “I want us to go to the next level. Back-to-back district championships is great, but as a team, we want more.” Cummings was sore after the district tournament from all the banging he did low in the post against very physical opponents. Cummings is recovering and will be 100% Saturday night.
Senior guard Dante Elam said, “It felt good to win the district championship. It’s one of our many goals this year. We believe in our staff to help us get prepared for McMinn County, and we expect to win and play our style of basketball.”
Coach Sullens credits Elam with doing many things that do not show up on the scoreboard for the Pioneers. Elam has been a solid team player all season, and much is expected of him tomorrow night by his coach and teammates.
Dee Spates was the 6-AAA District Tournament MVP, and he is a man of few words. Coach Sullens and his teammates had much praise for Spates.
Aiden Cummings said, “It is remarkable that Dee only started playing high school basketball last year and look at how far he has developed in two years.”
The team was so excited about Dee Spates being named tournament MVP they picked him up at midcourt and chanted his name.
The seniors told coach Sullens before the tournament they would take care of business, and they delivered big time. There will not be much time to celebrate because tomorrow night’s game against McMinn County is a game the Pioneers must win to get to that next step they wish to reach this season.