It only took the Warren County Middle School boys team one game to prove the Pioneers will be a handful in their return to the Warren County Elementary League.
The Pioneers defeated the defending fifth- and sixth-grade champion Dibrell 26-17 in the first game of the 3-pt Club preseason boys tournament Tuesday. In the second game of the night, Irving College crushed Centertown 33-17.
Warren County jumped on Dibrell early, using a pressure defense to frustrate the Wildcats. Wesley Jennings scored five points in the first quarter, including banking in a 3-pointer, to help the Pioneers lead 12-4 after six minutes.
The offense slowed in the second quarter as the teams combined to score six points. Noah Campbell made a shot and David Greene hit two free throws for Dibrell while Jennings hit the only shot for Warren County.
The Pioneers went into halftime leading 14-8, but opened up the lead in the third quarter. Alex Steiner, Sloan Seymour and Gavin Myers came off the bench and gave coach Anthony Lippe two points apiece to expand the advantage to 20-10.
Myers would add four more points in the fourth and Jennings rounded out his nine-point game with a late layup as the Pioneers held off Dibrell’s rally.
Thomas Judkins, Jaeden Pyburn and Lee Randolph each hit shots for the Wildcats in the fourth and Greene added a free throw, but Dibrell lost in the preseason tournament for the first time in four years.
Bunker Brock added three points and Tyree Ladet had two as the Pioneers advanced to the semifinals of the preseason tournament.
In the night cap at Charlie Dalton Gym, Irving College’s lopsided first quarter led to a victory over Centertown.
The Tigers outscored the Warriors 13-0 in the first quarter as Lucas Patrick dominated. Patrick had seven points in the first quarter and would end up scoring a game-high nine to lead Irving College.
Clay Eckenrod scored three points in the second quarter to get Centertown on the board, but Freddie Trevino led a scrappy second unit for the Tigers. Trevino scored four points, Jalen Smith added two and Patrick hit his final shot to put Irving College ahead 21-5 at halftime.
Four points from Luke Martin in the third quarter, along with baskets by Chance Hobbs, Jeffrey McCormick and Trevino, expanded the Tiger lead to 31-9 entering the fourth quarter.
Brant Young, Chad Thompson, David Nichols and Hunter Adams would all hit shots for the Warriors in the fourth quarter, but the baskets barely put a dent in the Tigers’ big lead. Trevino scored the only points for Irving College in the final period, but the Tigers rolled on to a 16-point victory.
Eckenrod’s three points led Centertown, while Adams, Nichols, Thompson, Young, Evan Stephens, Nathan Wright and Kadin Cope added two points apiece.
Patrick’s nine points were the most for Irving College, closely followed by Trevino’s eight. Martin scored six and Hobbs finished with four. Smith, McCormick and Tyler Pomales added two points each.
Irving College and Warren County played last night in the semifinals. Scores weren’t available at press time. The Warriors and Wildcats will match up in a consolation game next Monday at 7:45 p.m.