The Pioneers left Rhea County with a little more daylight Friday night, both literally and figuratively, as they crossed into Eastern Time for a rematch with Rhea County. The Pioneers previously won in the last minute at home.
This time, they started an hour earlier, and left a much bigger gap in the final score as well, taking a road victory over the Golden Eagles, 65-53.
“Our guys rallied around each other tonight and just played consistent fundamental basketball,” said Warren County head coach Chris Sullens. “I’m proud of our balance tonight in the scoring column and rebounding column. Our guys continued to play hard and I’m proud of their effort. We know this time of year we need to start playing our best basketball.”
There might have been a few moments of concern in the fourth quarter, after the Pioneers – having jumped to a 36-23 halftime lead – let the Golden Eagles get within 4 points, 55-51, with a little over two minutes left. But, some clutch free-throw shooting and an all-out blitzkrieg by the Pioneer offense made sure that was as close as Rhea County would get.
Pioneer Isaiah Grayson was a force to be reckoned with, as the junior had a standout performance, making rebounds on both ends of the court, a critical steal in the fourth quarter, and scoring a game-high 20 points.
Even with Grayson’s court coup, it was a team effort and the Pioneer offense was hitting on all cylinders. Finesse shooter Chance Hobbs hit for four treys and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe for 14 points and Caleb Newby was all over the paint, scoring 14 points from inside with his jumpers and layups.
Warren County’s K’Rojhn Calbert, who signed with UT on Wednesday and was honored before the game by the Rhea County fans who heard the news, was critical on both ends of the court pulling down rebounds and scoring 9 points. Calbert gave everyone a scare when he was slow to get up from the hardwood after taking a charge, but fans were glad to see he recovered and went back in after a few minutes of down time.
Senior Isaac Golden hit for six points and Logan Wilson added 2 more to round out the final tally for the Pioneers.
Warren County traveled to play Siegel on Saturday in a snow-day makeup game. Results were not available at press time.
The Pioneers will play host to Stone Memorial this Tuesday, Feb. 7. Games begin at 6 p.m.