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Pioneers fall to Cavs
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CJ Taylor avoids defenders for a layup in Friday's game. Taylor's 16 points were not enough in a 70-51 loss to Cookeville.

Schemes went out the window Friday at Charlie Dalton Gym. The Cavaliers simply relied on speed and shooting and Warren County couldn’t keep up.

Cookeville handed the Pioneers a 70-51 defeat, dropping Warren County to 14-8 overall and 1-2 in District 6AAA play.

“They came out and played at a pace in the first eight minutes that took us 15-20 minutes to adjust,” said Pioneer coach Chris Sullens. “They played physical and with speed.

“We’re going to have to work to match it because I don’t think they’re going to slow down.”

Sullens tried his best to slow down Cookeville in the opening moments to no avail. The Warren County coach uncharacteristically burned two timeouts in the first five minutes, when the Cavaliers shot their way into a 15-4 lead.

When the Cavaliers weren’t running the floor for layups, they were splashing away from outside. Cookeville hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter while building a 25-12 lead.

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Lacedrick Cox did his best to keep the game respectable early, drilling two 3-pointers from the right corner in the first half. CJ Taylor, who finished with a team-high 16 points, added a 3-pointer of his own to cut the lead to 31-18 with 5:45 to play.

Cookeville quickly surged back in front, relying on the hot hand of Alex Garrett in the middle. The Cavalier brut was unstoppable in the paint and also stepped out and hit two 3-pointers in the first half. Garrett had 14 of his game-high 22 points in the first half as Cookeville led 40-25 at halftime.

Warren County cut the lead to 10 right out of halftime, getting a 3-pointer from Cox that followed a putback from Taylor. Cookeville coach Kevin Bray quickly called a timeout 53 seconds into the second half, regrouping his team.

The Cavaliers quickly regained the upper hand, holding Warren County to just five points in the next seven minutes to take a 52-35 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Pioneers made one final charge late. Ethan Smith made a 3-pointer with 6:03 left that trimmed the lead to 56-44. Kason Holder made it a 10-point game on the next possession, finishing a layup after Raven Lewandowski flew out of bounds to make a save.

Warren County had four chances over the next 45 seconds to slice further into the lead. The Pioneers missed the front end of a one-and-one and turned the ball over after getting the offensive rebound. After a Cookeville miss, the Pioneers missed a 3-pointer and putback, squashing any late charge.

Cox, Smith and Eli Jones all finished with nine points, while Lewandowski scored four and Ben Clark and Holder chipped in two.

Warren County will try to rebound Tuesday at White County. The Pioneers will face the Warriors at 7:30 p.m.