Anthony Lippe is still searching for his first win as the leader of the Lady Pioneers.
Warren County fell for the third straight time Monday night, dropping a 45-39 decision in DeKalb County. Lia Wright and Beth Vaughn each had 11 points as the Lady Pioneers fell short in the fourth quarter to the Lady Tigers.
While it was tough to fall for third time, Lippe left the game filled with pride.
“This was as good an effort as we’ve had thus far,” said Lippe. “We knew it was going to be a fight. This is a tough place – it always is. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Lady Pioneers were once again plagued by a slow start, scoring just four points in the first quarter, the same amount they put up in a 52-26 loss to Summit over the weekend. Instead of letting the Lady Tigers build their lead, Warren County was able to tighten down on defense and only trailed by four after eight minutes.
The light came on for the Lady Pioneer offense in the second quarter. Wright opened the period with a hard drive for a lefty layup through contact. She was able to complete the three-point play, a huge momentum swing as Warren County started building confidence.
The Lady Pioneers tied the game at 15-15 late in the second on a Kam Nowlin 3-pointer, then took an 18-16 lead with 52 seconds left when Vaughn splashed in her first of three triples Monday.
Warren County pushed its lead to 19-16 on a late free throw, but DeKalb County was able to tie the game going into the break when Mya Ruch swished a 3-pointer right before the buzzer.
The Lady Pioneers began the second half with a 6-0 spurt, capped by Nowlin feeding Rhealee Johnson for a layup that gave the team a 25-19 lead with 5:45 to play in the third quarter.
Ella Culwell erased the deficit with just two shots.
Culwell hit back-to-back triples to knot the score, part of a game-high 20 points. DeKalb County took the lead for good late in the third quarter on Grace Griffin’s three-point play.
Warren County didn’t hit a shot in the fourth quarter for nearly five minutes, but it still mounted one final rally.
Trailing 37-30, Vaughn broke the drought with a short jumper with 3:12 to play. The Lady Pioneers caused a jump ball off the inbound, with the arrow pointing their way. Back with possession, Warren County was able to free Vaughn in the corner for an open triple.
Wright then cranked up the defense, forcing a five-second call at midcourt. She followed by driving hard to the basket, getting fouled on a try that rolled out. With a chance to tie the game, Wright split two free throws with 2:35 to play.
Trailing 37-36, Warren County had two possessions where it could have taken the lead, but two turnovers helped the Lady Tigers hold off the visitors.
Colwell delivered the dagger with 1:39 to play, draining an open 3-pointer from the left wing to help her team pick up the victoy in the border battle.
“We’re extremely young and everybody knows that. There’s a lot to build on here. There were a lot of good things going on for us,” said Lippe. “We’re getting girls good experience and this was a good atmosphere for them to grow. I was proud of how we handled it, we just didn’t pull away at the end.”
Nowlin finished with seven points, while Hallie Jo Pennington chipped in three points. Johnson, Shelby Smartt and Jaden Smartt scored two points apiece. Brielee Kelsey added a free throw.
Warren County 26
Game played Nov. 23
Lady Pioneer scoring – Kyra Perkins 7, Jaden Smartt 6, Rhealee Johnson 4, Kam Nowlin 3, Brielee Kelsey 2, Madalyn Stubblefield 2, Hallie Jo Pennington 1, Rudy DeArmond 1