Friday night basketball at Charlie Dalton Gym was nothing less than superb for the Lady Pioneers on Gold Out night. Warren County would rally from a double-digit deficit and pull off the win against district rival Cookeville, 46-40.
Karagan Turner was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points for Warren County, but it was Lady Pioneer Brittany Myers that rocked the Lady Cavs late in the game scoring 13 points to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
After a slow-paced start, Warren County found itself down at the half, 24-15.
Cookeville would find the range as the third quarter came to a close with a 3-point bomb right on target, but the Lady Cavs left too much time on the clock and hesitated on getting back, allowing Warren County to answer right back with a 3-point bomb of its own by Allison Hitchcock. The third quarter closed with shots from long range and the score was 36-24 Lady Cavs.
Both teams traded baskets again to open the fourth and WCHS coach Shea Panter called for timeout to regroup. Coach Panter must have lit a fire under her Lady Pioneers. Out of the timeout Myers would catch Cookeville lagging and connect from behind the arch twice on back-to-back 3-pointers.
Warren County was not finished as Saydee Winfree attacked the boards and put back a two-point basket underneath. The lead for the Lady Cavs was now cut to four points with 5:00 to play.
Myers would find her way free again for a third consecutive 3-pointer, this time from well behind the line. The Lady Cavs were in shock and on their heels, the crowd was on its feet, and the Tree City Mafia let the Lady Pioneers hear it.
Down by one point out of the timeout, Karagan Turner would take the first lead for Warren County 39-38, but Cookeville wasn’t going to surrender that easily and answered right back with two points to take the lead right back, 40-39.
With 2:41 to play, Myers was not done yet, driving hard to the basket and drawing the foul from the Cookeville defender. She would hit both to take the Lady Pioneers back in front 41-40 with 2:00 to play and coach Panter would call for time. Lady Cavs would turn the ball over out of the timeout and Myers and Winfree would chase it down, only to let Cookeville come away with it.
Cookeville turned the ball over and Turner quickly raced back to the other end and hit for Warren County, and the score was 43-40. The Lady Cavs were very careless with the ball late in the game. Cookeville tried a 3-pointer to tie and came up empty.
There was a tussle for the ball and it went out of bounds off Warren County with :45 to play. The Lady Cavs struggled to find anything for an open look and their shot was over the rim and Winfree for Warren County rebounds. She is fouled with 27.2 to play and hit both, extending the Lady Pioneer lead, 45-40.
In a last-ditch effort, the Cavs heaved a long-range shot and it hit off the rim and Winfree rebounded it again. Cookeville fouled out of frustration and Winfree would be shooting again, this time hitting only one. Warren County led 46-40 and didn’t need anything else with 9.8 to play as time would expire.
Warren County outscored Cookeville 22-4 in the fourth quarter, stifling the Lady Cav offense.
“We had a very slow start tonight, so slow it took us until late in the third quarter to find a flow,” said coach Panter. “We kept digging and refused to give up and all it took was one spark and that’s all we needed to finish strong. To win our first district game on a night like tonight in honor of Hailey was extra special for the Lady Pioneers”
Panter was referring to Hailey Taylor, one of her former players at WCMS, who passed away in August. Gold Out night was held to raise money in the fight against childhood cancer.
The Lady Pioneers will be back in action Jan. 16 when Rhea County comes to town with a game time of 6 p.m.
LADY PIONEERS SCORING – Karagan Turner 16, Brittany Myers 13, Allison Hitchcock 7, Saydee Winfree 7, Kristen Rowland 2, Elsa Eckenrod 1
LADY CAVALIERS TOP SCORERS – Riley Masters 12, Sydney Bean 10, Megan Whitson 7