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Program under construction
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Kam Nowlin leads the break while teammates give chase in Friday's practice. Nowlin is one of the few returning Lady Pioneers with varsity experience. WCHS starts its season next Tuesday, Nov. 19 at Community. - photo by Jeffery Simmons
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WCHS girls coach Anthony Lippe goes over sets during Friday's practice. Lippe is beginning his first year with the Lady Pioneers after being a longtime assistant on the boys and girls squads.

One of the first things Anthony Lippe did when he took over the Lady Pioneer program was tear down the locker room and start anew. He stripped it down to the core, then started from the bottom and worked to build it back piece-by-piece.

He’ll need the same hard-hat mentality while putting together the Lady Pioneers this year.

Warren County enters the season trying to replace the top six leading scorers from last year’s team which went winless in District 6AAA. With a new coach and a roster of relative unknown commodities, the Lady Pioneers are entering the season a mystery.

“We don’t know what we are yet,” said Lippe. “We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to be and what roles everybody will play.”

With so much in flux, Lippe is using this time to build the principles which he hopes will guide the program this season and into the future.

“We talk about it all the time, if you’re hungry, then we want to E.A.T.T. It’s about effort, attitude, teamwork and talent – that’s how we’re going to eat,” said Lippe.

Here are some story lines to watch as the Lady Pioneers prepare for their opening game Tuesday, Nov. 19 at Community:

Who can score?

When coach Lippe told his fellow district coaches at media day he had lost 99 percent of his scoring, it was an exaggeration – just not much of one.

Tyra Wright, Grace Rains, Caylie Sherrell, Megan Patch, Emily Mikkola and Bri Young scored over 80 percent of last year’s points, when the Lady Pioneers averaged 46.3 points per game. 

Junior guard Kam Nowlin returns with the other points from last year (82), while senior Hallie Jo Pennington had three double-digit scoring games last season while averaging 2.2 points per game. 

Tough road

The schedule will do Lippe no favors in Year 1, especially in district games. While Warren County lost its entire starting lineup, the rest of the district stayed relatively intact. Stone Memorial’s Emma Capps – already a 1,000-point scorer – is committed to Gardner Webb. Two-time District 6AAA player of the year Mallory Hampton is back for Rhea County, while junior White County guard Gracie Dodgen is already committed to MTSU.

Former Boyd Lady Bronco Alaina Stiles was named the freshman of the year in the district playing for White County last season and will likely contend for an all-district spot this winter.

Cookeville lost Chloe Grace Savage, but was still picked third in the district by the media and coaches.

Early reps

Jaden Smartt and Lia Wright got their feet wet playing varsity as freshmen last year, albeit in spot minutes. They’ll play a big role this year at the forward positions as both are long, lanky wings capable of playing inside and outside.

Shelby Smartt looks poised to follow in their footsteps as the longtime Eastside standout is the lone freshman on the varsity roster.