An alarming trend has started to show up in the Warren County High School boys basketball games. The Pioneers have let slow starts cost the team a chance to win in two of their past three games.
The latest loss came in Franklin County as the Pioneers fell behind by 14 at halftime before a comeback attempt fell seven points short. Warren County lost 70-63 to fall to 3-2 this season.
The Pioneers, led by senior Mitchell McCorkle, tried to rally from a big hole at halftime, but the deficit was just too great.
Coach Malcolm Montgomery thinks his team needs to continue to grow as the season progresses.
“We’re not playing bad right now,” said Montgomery. “We just need to continue to improve on a daily basis and take advantage of opportunities when we get them.”
Warren County was outscored 15-8 against Franklin County on Tuesday night five days after falling behind 22-4 against Jackson County in a game the Pioneers eventually lost by nine.
Even with Jacob Reagan and Lee Carden opening up the Pioneer offense in the second quarter, the Franklin County lead continued to grow.
Reagan had five points in the second quarter, including connecting on a three-point play midway through the period. Carden, a sophomore who has seen his minutes increase as the season has progressed, hit two baskets in the quarter but Warren County trailed 37-23 at halftime.
McCorkle started to bring the Pioneers back in the third. The senior guard hit two 3-pointers in the quarter and Nick Simmons added a big three-point play as Warren County closed the lead to four at one point in the third.
Franklin County quickly responded with a run of its own to move the advantage back to 48-38 entering the fourth quarter.
Success at the free-throw line kept the Pioneers close in the fourth, but Franklin County was just as good at the charity stripe to preserve the win.
Warren County scored 12 of its 25 points in the fourth quarter from the free-throw line, but the Rebels countered by hitting 10-of-19 from the line down the stretch.
Two baskets from Nick Simmons, a 3-pointer from Kendall Rutledge and layups by McCorkle and Carden made it a game, but in the end the Rebels early lead was too much to overcome.
McCorkle, who entered the game with 13 points in six previous games, scored a team-high 14 points against the Rebels. Simmons had back-to-back double figure games by scoring 11 against Franklin County. Carden finished with eight points.
The Pioneers will return to action tonight when the team travels to Van Buren County. Tip-off is tentatively set for 7:30 p.m. as the boys game will follow the girls game beginning at 6 p.m.