Silencing the stigma of being a potential bottom-dweller may not be easy for the Lady Pioneers.
Warren County was picked before the season to finish last in District 6-AAA play, and Tuesday's debut didn't help the Lady Pioneers' perception. Stone Memorial downed Warren County 78-50, the team's third-worst loss of the season.
"It's not the statement we wanted to make to open district play," said coach Shea Panter. "We had a lack of focus and execution which dug a hole too deep for us to climb out."
Warren County (10-9) has now lost three straight games, including falling in its last two games by a combined 70 points. The Lady Pioneers had lost by 25 or more only twice this season, both times to defending state champion Upperman.
Tuesday's game was supposed to be a measuring stick of where Warren County would be in the five-team district. The Lady Pioneers left knowing there is lots of work to do to get into title contention.
Stone Memorial (14-3) raced out to a 19-8 lead after one quarter, then ballooned its advantage to 15, 42-27, by halftime. The Lady Panthers got baskets from seven different players in the first half, led by eight points each from Emma Capps and Emily Boyd. On the night, Stone Memorial would have five players reach double figures, led by Boyd's 18 points. Alex Eldridge and Tesa Johnson added 13 points apiece, while Capps and Tessa Miller had 10 points each.
Warren County didn't seem to settle in offensively until late in the second quarter. Megan Patch knocked in two 3-pointers in the final minutes of the first half, but it did little to dent the deficit.
Caylie Sherrill was a bright spot for the Lady Pioneers in the second half. The junior forward scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter, including sinking a pair of 3-pointers.
Tyra Wright also was able to reach double figures for Warren County, scoring 10 points against a stingy Lady Panther defense.
Warren County was scheduled for a rematch against Shelbyville, which beat the Lady Pioneers 48-37 in their previous meeting, Saturday, but the game was postponed. Warren County will try to snap its three-game skid at home Tuesday against Rhea County.