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Ready for regionals
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After a big district tournament championship win, the WCHS Lady Pioneers will face former district rival Rhea County in the first round of the region tournament Monday. 

This is an interesting matchup as last year Warren County and Rhea County played in the same district, and Rhea went undefeated in the district tournament, similar to the Lady Pioneers this year.

After changing districts, the Lady Pioneers don’t see much of Rhea County anymore, but the two will be reunited in Warren County once again Monday night with a berth in the sectional tournament on the line. Game time is 6 p.m.

This year, Rhea County finished No. 1 in the regular season for District 5, going 11-1. They lost the district championship to Walker Valley which stood 11-4 in its season.  

Walker Valley hosts District 6 runner-up Coffee County on Monday.

The winners will meet Wednesday for the regional championship at a site to be determined.

This time last year, the Lady Pioneers stood 16-7 after being knocked out of the district tournament by White County, one game short of facing Rhea County for the championship. 

This year, Warren County stands at a near-identical 17-7. The Lady Pioneers became the first Warren County sports team this school year to win a district tournament championship when they beat Coffee County on Wednesday night.

Last year, Warren County lost to Rhea County in the first round of the district tournament despite dominating them in the regular season, so it’s hard to predict how the region tournament game will unfold Monday night. 

WCHS coach Gooby Martin credited the Lady Pioneers’ tenacity as their strength in this year’s district tournament and said, “We just don’t quit. We continue to play hard.”

He added, “If we don’t take care of business Monday, our season will be over. So the biggest game of the season is Monday.” 

The Lady Pioneers would also reserve a spot in the sectionals on Friday if they beat Rhea County as the top two in the region advance. The winner of the sectional game qualifies for state.