After splitting a pair of games already this season with Franklin County by very narrow margins, these two teams are familiar with each other and on Monday afternoon in the Coffee County Christmas Tournament, they would face off for the third time.
Warren County would be missing several players in the rotation due to illness and injury and playing with a couple who were recovering from flu-like symptoms Monday. The Pioneers would need some of the younger guys to step up during the game and fill key roles.
Holden Baker would lead the scoring with 14 points and Krojhn Calbert followed close behind with 13 points of his own. But despite their efforts, the Pioneers ran out of time and gas down the stretch and Franklin County won this meeting late from the free-throw line, 60-49.
Franklin County was up coming out of the break 31-22 to start the third quarter. Sloppy play on both ends of the floor started the second half with the advantage going to the Pioneers. Quick baskets by Warren County would cut the Franklin County lead to five points and then it would be Isaac Golden with a huge 3-point shot to cut the lead to just two points after trailing the previous two quarters.
It would never get any closer for Warren County. Franklin County would call for time after a made basket took the Rebel lead back to four points. With 1:20 to go in the third, Warren County would mishandle the ball giving it back and allowing Franklin County to score four more points to take the lead to eight just before the end of the third.
The Rebels would try and slow the pace starting out in the fourth to use the clock, forcing the Pioneers to extend their defense. It would open up the baseline to the taller Franklin County post players. Franklin County would hit one 3-point shot the entire fourth quarter and the rest of their 20-point total would come by way of the free-throw line. As bad as it seemed at times for Warren County, the offense stepped up and found ways to score in the final quarter.
Several Pioneers got into the scoring column in the fourth. Points came from Calbert, Carlos Villegas, and Zech Clark. The Pioneers only way to stop the Rebels late in the game was to send them to the line but the Rebels shot 17-of-24 to keep them out front as time ran out on Warren County.
After starting the game red hot and everything going according to plan, the defense cooled off as Krojhn Calbert would pick up two cheap fouls early.
Calbert is a presence inside and is often an easy target for officials to charge with personal fouls. Without Calbert on the floor, the defense quickly cools down.
Warren County was out front very early in Monday afternoon’s game but Franklin County would not be intimidated with Calbert out. The Rebels fought back to tie the game at 13 to end the first quarter. Franklin County would get their first lead off a Warren County turnover and the Rebels would go into attack mode, driving the lane and drawing the foul. The Rebels would complete the three-point play and suddenly they were up 16-13.
Warren County’s next possession would result in a charge. The Pioneer defense would withstand the Rebel offense and get the ball back. Driving back the other way and looking for a spark, the ball would find its way to Holden Baker who is no stranger to shooting the deep ball. Baker would hit a 3-point shot to tie the game at 16. Like a heavy-weight boxing match, Franklin County would come right back and score.
Franklin County was back to pushing the tempo as Calbert had a seat on the bench. The Rebels would try to take full advantage of the situation. Franklin County extend its lead before the half off Warren County turnovers. The shot selection for the Pioneers was not great in the second quarter. If they planned on getting back in this game, they would need to stop Franklin County form getting deep in the paint and attack the glass on offense.
But the damage was done in the second quarter to the Pioneers and they just could not get it turned around the rest of the way. They would fall for the second time to Franklin County by a score of 60-49 in the Coffee County Christmas Tournament.
PIONEERS SCORING - Holden Baker 14, Krojhn Calbert 13, Christian Wilkinson 8, Isaac Golden 5, Jack Davidson 5, Zech Clark 3, Carlos Villegas 1
REBELS TOP SCORERS - Cody Lester 17, Hunter Watson 11, Derek Brown 10.