There's alway next time. That's what the Pioneers left Cookeville thinking Saturday after another demoralizing loss to the Cavaliers.
Warren County trailed by double figures the entire second half of a 66-52 loss, not the outcome coach Chris Sullens expected with first place in District 6-AAA on the line.
"Cookeville was better prepared and really did a better job in many areas," said Sullens. "They didn't allow us to get in an offensive rhythm and slowed our transition game to a crawl."
Sloan Seymour and Irving Espinoza shared the team lead with 11 points for Warren County, which trailed 33-23 at halftime. Tyree Ladet added 8, followed by Isaiah Grayson and Chance Hobbs with 7 points each.
The fierce nature of a big game was felt in the second half. Coach Sullens was assessed a technical in the quarter, followed by Grayson getting charged with an intentional foul in the fourth. On the same play, Cookeville’s Braiden Brown was T’d up while ahead by 25.
The Cavaliers were able to pick apart the Pioneers 1-3-1 zone for open looks and stymied the Warren County offense to 15 points below its season scoring average. Cookeville never trailed after Alex Garrett hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left in the first quarter to push the home team to a 17-14 lead.
"Cookeville held serve on its homecourt," said Sullens. "I thought mentally they were more comfortable in a big-game environment.
"We have to keep pace and hope to return the favor on our court."
Tuesday's game against White County was still ongoing at press time. Check Friday's Southern Standard for more information.
The Pioneers will be back in action Friday at home against Stone Memorial. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Warren County will also play at home Saturday against Shelbyville, one originally scheduled to be played Jan. 13. Saturday's tip is set for 3:30 p.m.
Cookeville scoring - Bailey Gilliam 15, Jacob Reeves 15, Noah Hilliker 13, Alex Garrett 13, Jack Humphrey 3, Zack Hall 3, Braiden Brown 2, Stockton Owen 2
Pioneer scoring - Sloan Seymour 11, Irving Espinoza 11, Tyree Ladet 8, Isaiah Grayson 7, Chance Hobbs 7, Lacedric Cox 2, Jerry Mrema 2, Caleb Newby 2, Bunker Brock 2