The clock hit zero on a Pioneer comeback Tuesday night. Warren County wasn’t able to go end-to-end in three seconds against Tullahoma and fell 54-53 in its home debut.
Excitement was already at a fever pitch for the first game under Danny Fish at Charlie Dalton Gym and it hit a different level when Alex van Vuuren started the avalanche of toilet paper with a 3-pointer early on Whiteout Night. That buzz stayed in the gym throughout the evening, including in the waning seconds when it looked like Warren County may complete a crazy comeback.
Sawyer Seymour had a driving layup with :04 left that cut the Tullahoma lead to one. Warren County was forced to foul on the inbounds and cleaned the glass when Tullahoma bricked the front end of the 1-and-1. Fish took a quick timeout and tried to come up with something to move the Pioneers 94 feet in just three ticks and find an open look.
Treyton Terry tried to push the ball ahead to Kaden Rutledge for a heave at the buzzer, but his shot was late and errant as the Pioneers fell. It was a tough way to end the first home game, but Fish was pleased with the grit his team showed by battling back from down eight late to get a chance to win.
“These guys are never going to say die. They grind – they’re a reflection of their head coach because I’ve grinded my whole life. We’re going to keep coming at everybody every night,” said Fish. “Give it up to Tullahoma. They made some shots we didn’t expect them to make, but our guys are putting themselves in a good position to get better and they’re getting better at everything we do.”
Warren County (0-4) got 14 points each from van Vuuren and Treyton Terry, while Seymour had four of his seven points in the fourth when the team tried to rally.
Rutledge had a chance to put the team up on a 3-pointer with less than a minute to play, but his shot rimmed out. A redemption shot moments later was stopped before he could ever heave it, leaving the Pioneers still in search of their first win.
Getting an elusive victory as Warren County coach was what Fish had hoped for in his home debut. The anticipation of Tuesday’s tip-off had been building for months and getting on the home sidelines was a big moment for Fish.
“I’ve been anxious – I’ve barely slept, not that I sleep much anyway. I’ve been looking forward to this game since June 1. Our guys just leave it all out there. I love ‘em,” said Fish. “There was a lot of excitement tonight. The Dalt was full, I just wish we could’ve walked away with a W.”
Warren County will get another shot to break its early slide Friday in Smithville, where Fish presided over the Lady Tiger program for the last 10 years. Tip-off between the Tigers and Pioneers is set for 7:30 p.m.
WC scoring – van Vuuren 14, Terry 14, Seymour 7, Nate Elrod 5, Rutledge 5, Aaron Templeton 4, Devin Fish 2, Braylon Grayson 2