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Pioneers win third straight
Lacedrick 'Red' Cox 2.jpg
Senior Lacedrick 'Red' Cox, pictured in a previous game, busted out of a shooting slump to drill four 3-pointers in Thursday's 71-66 road win at Livingston Academy.

Warren County may have been out-manned Thursday in Livingston Academy, but the Pioneers are rarely out-gunned. 

Seniors Irving Espinoza and Lacedrick ‘Red’ Cox combined to hit 10 triples while Dee Spates and Aiden Cummings both scored in double figures as the Pioneers downed the Wildcats 71-66 on the road.

Down to eight players with leading scorer CJ Taylor sitting out due to injury and three other players missing while on a choir trip, the Pioneers leaned on the great equalizer to win their third straight game. Warren County was again red-hot from the outside, hitting 11 3-pointers to outduel Livingston Academy.

“Our short-handed bunch kept working and got the win,” said coach Chris Sullens. “We had eight guys and they all knew they would be counted on heavily. We battled and played extremely hard. Overall, it was a good win considering the circumstances.”

Warren County (7-2) knew going in it was going to be a tough game. Livingston Academy features one of the top scorers in the state - junior guard Matthew Sells. Sells didn’t disappoint, scoring 32 points, but the Pioneers were able to do just enough to slow down the Wildcat star.

“I thought we made a couple of adjustments in the second half to help limit the type of looks Sells was getting, but the kid is a flat-out scorer and hit some really tough, contested looks,” said Sullens.

The Pioneers led 32-31 at halftime, leaning on its outside shooting to build an early lead. Three of the team’s first four makes were triples, most coming from Espinoza and Cox.

Espinoza helped give Warren County a huge cushion in the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half to spark a 17-3 run. Livingston Academy tried to claw back into the game by running the Pioneers off the 3-point line, but Spates was money down the stretch.

Spates scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a double-clutch layup with 29.6 seconds left which gave the Pioneers a 69-66 lead. He added two free throws with :08 to seal the victory.

Espinoza finished with a team-high 20 points, the third game in a row the senior has led the team in scoring. With six 3-pointers Thursday, Espinoza has now connected on 28 triples this season while shooting 50.9 percent.

Cox, who entered the night hitting just 5 of his last 23 outside shots, drained three 3-pointers in the first half. Cox finished with four 3-pointers, breaking out a three-game shooting slump. Cox finished with 16 points, one more than he had scored in the previous three outings combined. 

Cummings, usually the team’s brute around the basket, showed his range early as well, stepping out and draining a 3-pointer. He would go on to finish with 13 points and a team-high six rebounds.

Warren County traveled to Pickett County Saturday night in search of its eighth victory in nine tries. Scores were unavailable at press time. Check @sstandardsports on Twitter for more updates.

The Pioneers will play at home Monday, Dec. 16 against Cannon County.  Tuesday’s game against DeKalb County – all set to be at Charlie Dalton Gym – has been rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 27.