The book is out on the Pioneers run-and-gun style. Good thing for the WCHS boys team, it can still grind out wins when forced.
Speared by a clutch free throw by Tyree Ladet and a 9-0 run in overtime, the Pioneers finished off DeKalb County 67-58 Friday night.
"Everybody has seen the tape on us by now," said WCHS coach Chris Sullens, who has encouraged his team all season to play fast and let loose from deep. "We're going to have to win half-court games too. The guys locked in and really took over the last two minutes."
Overtime was anything but an assurance.
Hope for the Pioneers seemed lost when Irving Espinoza's 3-pointer with :15 left danced around the rim and out, leaving DeKalb County with a rebound and 54-53 lead. Trey Jones, who led the Tigers with 14 points, was fouled on the ensuing inbound and marched to the line with a chance to give the visitors a three-point lead.
Jones missed the front end of a one-and-one though, and Sloan Seymour swooped in for the rebound. The Pioneers flew upcourt, with Ladet getting the ball on the wing with a chance to attack the basket. The senior guard flew through the lane and was fouled with 2.9 seconds left.
With an packed crowd at Charlie Dalton Gym watching his every move, Ladet spun out the first free throw. The senior's aim was true on the second however, knotting the score with just seconds remaining.
The Tigers tried a desperation heave down court, but the ball was lost of bounds. Chance Hobbs got a final chance at the buzzer for the Pioneers, but his halfcourt shot slammed off the backboard.
Things got worse for the Pioneers with 2:40 left in overtime when Isaiah Grayson fouled out, robbing the Pioneers of their starting post after he had scored 18 points. Jones hit both free throws on the foul, giving the Tigers a 58-56 lead.
Warren County wouldn't let DeKalb County score again.
Seymour tied the game moments later on a jumper in the lane, then Hobbs gave the Pioneers the lead for good with 1:34 to play.
Hobbs, who scored a game-high 21 points, got loose from the corner just in front of a raucous student section. His 3-pointer clanged off the rim, bounced up off the backboard and nestled into the net as the crowd went wild.
After a Tiger miss on the other end, Ladet sank two more clutch free throws with 52.7 seconds left.
The Tigers would miss the rest of the their shots, while Seymour and Hobbs added two free throws each in the final 30 seconds to give the Pioneers the victory.
"We had some guys step up in big moments," said Sullens. "Sloan was everywhere in overtime. He really cleaned the glass. We got the home bounce on Chance's shot - good shooters get those rolls."
The victory came on the heels of a tough loss in Tullahoma Thursday night. The Wildcats, who won 62-59, are the only team to defeat the Pioneers this season.
Coach Sullens was happy to see his team perform in the clutch after a devastating close loss less than 24 hours before.
"We're starting to play like a nine-win team. We're buying in to the fact we can play really good basketball," said Sullens.
Seymour was the third Pioneer in double figures with 13 points.