The ball had barely dropped from the air when the first whistle blew. Referees stopped the senior night girls game in the first three seconds, issuing a technical foul on the Lady Pioneers because all six seniors were on the court.
It may have been the only way Warren County could’ve stayed close with White County Friday night.
The Warriorettes spoiled the senior night festivities, downing the Lady Pioneers 63-37. The loss, the team’s seventh straight, sealed Warren County’s first winless season in the district since 2009.
“We’re moving forward. Our attention is turning toward Rhea County,” said coach Shea Panter.
Warren County (9-18) didn’t put up much of a fight against the Warriorettes. The Lady Pioneers were behind by double figures, 18-7, before the first quarter ended and never cut into the lead in the final three quarters.
Grace Rains was a bright spot, scoring 15 points in her final game at Charlie Dalton Gym. The big closing night made Rains the team’s leading scorer for the season. Rains was the lone Lady Pioneers to average double figures, finishing the season scoring 11.6 points per game.
Fellow seniors Bri Young, Emily Mikkola, Tyra Wright, Megan Patch and Caylie Sherrell were all on the court when the game began. Panter took the technical for having six players on the court, one of two times the team was whistled for the violation in the contest.
All six seniors got on the scoreboard on the final night. Sherrell had five, followed by Mikkola with four, Patch and Wright with three and Young with one.
It wasn’t the way any envisioned the regular season ending, especially for a group that has been close over the last four years.
“It was emotional. It was a lot to take in,” said Mikkola. “We sat in the locker room for 20 minutes after the game, crying and hugging each other.”
Patch tried to focus on the happier times.
“It was bittersweet. All the memories were rushing to me with these girls,” said Patch. “We started with 13 of us as freshman and then it finished with us six.”
“It was sad. I think the best part was remembering the memories we made,” added Sherrell.
The Lady Pioneers will have a chance to make more memories in the District 6AAA tournament.
Warren County will play Rhea County in the play-in game, with the winner moving on to face top-seeded Stone Memorial. A victory also assures a region berth.
The game is expected to be played Tuesday at Stone Memorial, the host site for the district tournament.
Final scheduling will be completed Monday at the district meeting.