The WCHS Pioneers were 1-1 going into their third game Thursday, a decider against Cannon County to see who would place in the Sonic Shoot-Out in its final night.
Just coming off a 82-53 defeat at the hands of the Cookeville Cavaliers only seemed to further energize the Pioneer offense, which showed up in force to blitzkrieg the Lions from start to finish.
Leading in all four quarters, the Pioneers dominated the contest, 66-39, winning third place in the Sonic Shoot-Out as a result.
“I think we responded well,” said Warren County head coach Chris Sullens. “We kept them under 40. It was a positive and I liked the flow better. We have to get a good start and have been challenged with the ability to play well early. We did that instead of having to respond in the second half from a deficit. We’ve got to get ready for district play after the break and hit the practice court again.”
There was a new sense of urgency Thursday, which was apparent. Players were stepping up with confidence, like Caleb Newby who grabbed a rebound on one end and scored a fast-break layup on the other end more than once.
Halftime had Warren County well on the way to a win, 38-24.
Game-high top scorer was Pioneer Isaiah Grayson who worked inside and found the hoop more cooperative Thursday, hitting 15 total game points that included one trey and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.
Both teams shot 67 percent from the line. The Pioneers had more chances with 10-of-15 while the Lions were 2-of-3.
Freshman Irving Espinoza continues to show why he’s on the roster as he hit for 11 points, including three treys. On the other side of the court, Espinoza’s speed and ability to read the offense helped with turnovers. Grayson also is instrumental in picking off the opponent’s pass or forcing a turnover trying for a jump ball.
Warren County’s Tyree Ladet had the sweet spot for his fader going well, earning 6 points.
Pioneer Isaac Golden’s presence was felt more on the offensive side as he grabbed boards for the Pioneers often passing to the open man which helped the overall scoring average while hitting for 4 points of his own.
Big man K’Rojhn Calbert got into the action as the biggest player on the hardwood. He took the lion’s share of boards and scored 2 points on top.
McCall Turner was another Pioneer who showed an ability to play both sides of the court, as he scored 8 points in the contest but set up opportunities for teammates as well.
Coach Sullens got to play some of his bench as the team was up by over 20 points in the fourth, and Austin Hodges didn’t disappoint as he tickled the twine with a nice 3-pointer that put the icing on the cake as the Pioneers were awarded their third place medal after the game.
Also scoring for Warren County were Logan Wilson 5 points and Sloan Seymour with 2 points.