The Pioneers rocked Stone Memorial on Friday night by a final score of 72-56 in the first round of the District 6-AAA Tournament held in Cookeville.
Said Warren County coach Chis Sullens about the win that advances the Pioneers to the region tournament, “It’s all about surviving and advancing at this point. We had good practice all week and executed our game plan.”
Pioneer senior Trevor Gaines led all scorers with a game-high 26 points. He shot 8-of-10 from the free-throw line.
Chance Hobbs also lit up the scoreboard. Hobbs blistered the Panther defense for 15 points on five 3-pointers, including three in the second quarter.
Stone Memorial attempted to set the tone in the first quarter and the Panthers were successful on both ends of the floor. For the first eight minutes, it seemed the Pioneers were in for a dogfight.
The Pioneers were down 12-5 at one point and by the end of the first eight minutes, Warren County cut into the lead and trailed 12-8.
Hobbs started the second quarter with great accuracy and the Panther defense left him with too much time. Hobbs spotted up and buried an open 3-pointer and Warren County pulled within one, 12-11.
Stone Memorial lost the handle and the Warren County offense went back to work. For the second time Hobbs was left with too much room and he was spot on and hit his second consecutive 3-pointer and the Pioneers claimed their first lead, 14-12.
Hobbs would then deflect a pass and tap it over to Lorenzo Wilson. He raced down the floor for an uncontested layup, 16-12.
Another trip down the floor for Stone Memorial and the result was a turnover. Isaiah Grayson weaved his way through the two Panther defenders and attacked the rim. His shot dropped and the Pioneers extended their lead to 18-12.
Then Hobbs let it fly from behind the arch and connected on his third 3-pointer. Warren County was in a rhythm and Stone Memorial was staggering as the Pioneers led 21-12.
After Stone Memorial pieced together a mini run to cut the deficit, Warren County used back-to-back baskets from Gaines to take a 31-23 lead.
Nothing came easy for the Panthers before the half and Norman was sent to the free-throw time and shot 2-of-2 and Stone Memorial trailed 31-25.
Gaines put his final stamp on the period on a close shot inside with an assist by Grayson. Warren County closed the second quarter with a 34-25 lead.
Stone Memorial cut the lead to six points in the third quarter, but never got any closer.
The Pioneers continued to push the tempo despite a technical foul assessed to coach Sullens after being warned to stay within the coach’s box.
In the fourth quarter, Warren County took its largest lead after an assist from Holden Baker to Gaines. The Pioneers led 64-44. With two minutes left in the fourth coach Sullens emptied the bench and the Pioneers cruised to a 72-56 win.
Coach Sullens added, “I’m happy for our guys to play on for a championship and advance to the region.”
The Pioneers advanced to a second-round game Saturday versus undefeated and No. 1 seed White County Warriors. Results for the game were not available at press time.
PIONEER SCORING – Trevor Gaines 26, Chance Hobbs 15, Isaiah Grayson 14, Holden Baker 8, Lorenzo Wilson 4, Isaac Golden 2, Lucas Patrick 2, Caleb Newby 1
PANTHER SCORING – Shade Foster 18, Brett Newcome 17, Tristan Norman 10, Connor Barnwell 5, Nathaniel Sexton 3, Justin Hendrick 3.