In Tuesday night basketball action, the Warren County Pioneers were on the road against the Franklin County Rebels. In the prior meeting between these two teams, Warren County had enough to hold off the Rebels, 55-50, on the Pioneers’ home floor.
Tuesday would have a slightly different ending after the Pioneers made a huge effort to come back from an early 10-point deficit to take the lead early in the second half, only to give it back to the Rebels in the closing minutes of play.
Warren County fell to Franklin County at the wire, 43-40, as the Pioneers missed a chance for overtime at the buzzer. Warren County got an open look from the corner as time expired, but it would not find its mark.
Leading the Pioneers Tuesday night was Joelah Solomon with 11 points, followed by Christian Wilkinson with eight.
At the half it was Franklin County on top, 24-20. Warren County coach Chris Sullens had his team on a mission coming out of the locker rooms to start the third quarter as the Pioneers went on a seven-point run to snatch the lead. The Pioneers did it by moving the ball down court at a very quick pace and picking up loose balls and turning them into points in transition.
With the Rebels on their heels, Warren County finished the rest of the third by pushing the tempo and spreading the defense. With the defense spreading the floor trying to cover more ground, Warren County would have a much easier time hitting an opening lane to the basket. Wilkinson led the charge in the third giving Warren County the edge, 33-29, heading into the fourth.
The Rebels came out quickly in the fourth and the defense for both teams really stepped up and answered the call in the final quarter. Franklin County cut the Pioneer lead to just two points.
That’s when Pioneer post Krojhn Calbert, who had been fairly quiet, suddenly picked up his fifth foul with 5:40 remaining.
Franklin County would later shoot two free-throws and the Rebels would connect on both, tying the game at 37 with 3:54 to play.
Warren County would try and slow the pace and run some time off the clock. The tempo did not favor Warren County and after several mishandled balls the Pioneers would suddenly find their offense stalled out. Sullens would call for time to see if he could get his Pioneer team headed back in the right direction.
Turnovers would get the better of the Pioneers and the Rebels would reclaim the lead. Franklin County was up three with 1:29 to play.
Down three with under a minute to play, Carlos Villegas for Warren County got an open look for a 3-point shot and missed. Franklin County rebounds and immediately calls for time.
On the inbound, Warren County pressured the ball but missed the chance for a trap deep in the corner and was forced to foul. The Rebels would connect on both to go ahead five with 20.6 seconds to play.
Solomon for Warren County made a hard drive to the basket and was fouled. The shot was good, sending him to the line for a 3-point play. Solomon hit the shot and the Rebel lead was two.
Zech Clark was hit with a foul before the ball was inbounded with 10.5 left. Franklin County connected on one of two free throws to lead by three.
Wilkinson brought the ball up and coach Sullens called for time with 5.3 seconds to play.
Coming out of the timeout, Isaac Golden would inbound. Players would scatter and Villegas would get the ball in the corner for Warren County and hoist a wide open 3-point shot that had the distance but would hit just off the front of the iron as the clock sounded.
Coach Sullens said he likes close games but would rather have the win ultimately, but is proud of how his team looked Tuesday night and looks forward to every new practice and the next few years. Warren County will be at home tonight against White County with tip off at 6 p.m.
PIONEER scoring - Joelah Solomon 11, Christian Wilkinson 8, Holden Baker 6, Isaiah Grayson 4, Alex Yates 2, Carlos Villegas 2, Krojhn Calbert 2, Jack Davidson 2, Zech Clark 2, Hunter Hawkins 1.
REBEL top scorers - Hunter Watson 11, Clayton Jackson 8.