In its first meeting with Jackson County, the Warren County High School boys basketball team couldn’t overcome a bad first quarter and lost in the Woodbury Thanksgiving tournament.
Playing in the Sun Drop Romp Christmas tournament at home, the Pioneers put together four quarters of inspired basketball to win 60-57 against the Blue Devils.
Warren County was able to avoid the biggest problem it had with the Blue Devils in their November meeting. Instead of starting the game in a 22-4 hole after the first quarter, the Pioneers led 13-10 after the first eight minutes.
Thomas Locke, who has played well since being promoted to a starting role, scored five points in the first quarter, including hitting a 3-pointer.
Kendall Rutledge was able to provide instant offense off the bench in the second quarter to keep Warren County in the lead.
Rutledge scored all eight of his points in the second period as the junior guard did most of his damage from the outside. Rutledge knocked down two 3-pointers and added a short jumper to help Warren County lead 29-22 going into halftime.
The Blue Devils started chipping away at the lead in the third quarter. Jackson County started out the second half with a solid run, but Jacob Reagan’s 3-pointer midway through the quarter kept Warren County afloat.
Two late baskets by Tucker Smith in the third gave Warren County some breathing room as the Pioneers went into the fourth clinging to a 42-39 advantage.
The Blue Devils made a spirited push to try to steal the game from the Pioneers, but senior Hunter Daniel wouldn’t allow it.
Daniel took over the Warren County offense in the fourth quarter and scored 11 points to preserve the victory for the Pioneers.
Daniel hit the biggest shot of the game with two minutes to play. After the Blue Devils had cut the Warren County lead to one several times, Daniel capped off an 8-0 run by drilling a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 59-50 in favor of the Pioneers.
Warren County nearly let the lead slip away as the Blue Devils cut the lead to three in the final seconds, but a three-quarter court heave at the buzzer by Jackson County never got close to the basket.
Daniel finished with 17 points to pace the Pioneers. Locke added nine points.
The Pioneers played against last night against Moore County. Results were not available at press time.
Warren County will return to action tomorrow night.