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Pioneers fall in sectionals
Treyton Terry.jpg
Trayton Terry and the WCMS Pioneers ended their season with a 38-35 loss to Smyrna in the TMSAA sectional semifinals. The Pioneers ended the season 13-9 overall.

The Warren County Middle School boys basketball team made the most of its first season in the Tennessee Middle Secondary School Association.

The Pioneers were eliminated just shy of the state tournament, falling in the sectional semifinals Wednesday. Warren County lost 38-35 against Smyrna a day after beating Whitworth Buchanan 47-41 in the quarterfinals.

The final loss left the Pioneers at 13-9, a very successful mark that had coach Kevin Burnett bragging on his team.

“I think our kids improved so much over the year,” said Burnett. “This is a tight-knit group of great friends who work hard. Sometimes near the end, you're ready to slow down. I'm disappointed we can't play more.

"I wish them the best of luck going forward. With their work ethic, I think they'll continue to have lots of success as a group."

Kaden Rutledge was a driving force during the sectional run, as he has been all season. Rutledge scored 19 points in a comeback win over Whitworth, when the Pioneers erased a 39-33 deficit going into the fourth quarter. Rutledge also led the team with 14 points against Smyrna.

Wesley Sherrell added five big points in the final period Tuesday, including a momentum-changing 3-pointer to power the Pioneers to victory.

Collin Panter added nine points, followed by Logan Earls, Trayton Terry and Alex van Vuuren with four points each. Braylon Grayson chipped in two.

"We played our best game of the year Tuesday. We had played them before and were ready in the rematch," said Burnett.

Less than 24 hours later, Warren County was back on the court trying to earn a bid into the TMSAA state tournament. Instead, the Pioneers were the victims of a fourth-quarter flurry.

Warren County led Smyrna 28-25 going into the last quarter, but the offense sputtered. Smyrna was able to surge into the lead and withstand a final fling off an inbounds play at the horn.

The Pioneers scoring against Smyrna included Terry with eight, van Vuuren with six, Grayson, Earls and Sherrell with two and Panter with one.