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Pioneers prepare for regional tournament
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It’s go time for the Warren County Pioneers after a third-place finish in the District 6-AAA Tournament.
The Pioneers left it all on the court and defeated Cumberland County on Tuesday night, the first time this season Warren County has grounded the Jets.
WCHS head coach Chris Sullens was happy with Tuesday night’s win and the third-place finish. Last year the Pioneers lost in the first round of the district tournament to Stone Memorial and this year the Pioneers returned the favor.
The Pioneers knocked out Stone Memorial in the first round and cemented third with a win over the Jets in the consolation round.
The Pioneers finished the season with a district record of 5-6. They were five points away from being 7-4, much improved over last year. Last season Warren County went 0-10 in the district and it was a tough pill to swallow. After a long summer and hard work the Pioneers were back with the addition of two senior transfer players, Trevor Gaines and Lorenzo Wilson.
The Pioneers set out on a mission and have battled through some tough losses. Warren County earned a trip to the regionals after a first-round win over Stone Memorial, regardless of how they finished the tourney.
Coach Sullens said, “We have to play our best basketball and our kids are excited.”
The Pioneers now face the 14th ranked Bradley Central Bears in the first round of the Regional 3-AAA Tournament. The Bears finished with a 10-0 district record and a 22-6 overall record.
Bradley Central rode a 14-game winning streak that started back on Dec. 30 and continued through Feb. 23 when the Bears lost to 21st ranked Walker Valley in the District 5-AAA Tournament finals by a final score of 71-62.
The Warren County defense will have to slow down the Bears momentum on offense and junior Cole Copeland. He finds ways to score and has a quick first step to the basket.
A junior sensation, Copeland received Player of the Year in District 5-AAA and has exceeded the 1,000-point mark in his third season as a Bear. Sullens said, “Copeland is a good overall athlete and can flat-out play.”
The Bears have four seniors, Brandon McCurdy, Peyton Parker, Tra Ware, and Tyrell Pitner. Three of these players start and one helps off the bench.
Coach Sullens said, “I have watched about 10 game films on Bradley and they are guard heavy. They shoot the ball well outside on the perimeter. We should have an advantage in the paint and in transition. They will run man defense about 95 percent of the time and they are quick in a 2-2-1 press.”
The Pioneers will be all-in Saturday night versus the Bradley Central Bears in Cleveland. Game is scheduled for a tip-off for 7 p.m. Eastern, and 6 p.m. Central.