It was a foul Warren County didn’t need to make.
After tying the game in the final seconds, the Pioneers committed a backcourt foul to allow Cumberland County to take the lead from the free-throw line with 3.5 seconds to play.
Warren County managed a desperation shot at the buzzer, but it was off target and Cumberland County escaped with a 59-57 win Friday night at Charlie Dalton Gym.
The hectic sequence of events that led to the final buzzer began when Warren County post Trevor Gaines battled for a rebound and made a putback with :05 left. That tied the game 57-57.
Cumberland County quickly inbounded the ball thinking it would have to travel the length of the floor to get a good look. But Warren County committed a foul as soon as the ball was put in play, which gave Jordan Graham two foul shots with 3.5 seconds left. He made both to put the Jets ahead 59-57.
Warren County tried a desperation shot at the buzzer, but it was off the mark and the Jets stormed away with a victory.
Gaines led the Pioneers with a game-high 24 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter when he put the team on his back. He also had a strong game rebounding.
Cumberland County pressed from start to finish, but the backcourt defense didn’t seem to bother Warren County in the opening half. The Pioneers committed few turnovers and held a 32-23 lead at the break.
But the Jets cranked up their intensity in the second half and their once-sluggish press began creating turnovers in the third quarter. When Warren County began to get sloppy, it allowed the Jets to claw their way back.
Cumberland County took its first second-half lead when a blocked shot triggered a fast break. Clark would spin his way to the basket for a layup with 1:20 left in the third and the Jets were up 43-41.
From there, Warren County would take the lead once and tie the score twice as the game was especially tense in the closing minutes. Gaines would score the final eight points for the Pioneers during a 4:55 stretch.
The loss drops Warren County to 4-5, while Cumberland County improves to 1-2 overall. It was the district opener for both teams. Warren County stays at home Monday night for a game against Seigel.
Cumberland County – Silas Clark 19, Lee Hale 10, Jordan Graham 9, Drew Vaden 9, Ty Tabor 6, Cade Smith 5, Josh Dykes 1.
Warren County – Trevor Gaines 24, Isaiah Grayson 15, Chance Hobbs 8, Isaac Golden 7, Wesley Jennings 2, Holden Baker 1.