WCMS celebratesAs the final seconds tick down on eighth-grade night, the Pioneers celebrate a comeback win over White County.
There was no slowing down the Pioneers once they got rolling against White County Thursday night.
Treyton Terry and Kaden Rutledge caught fire in the second half of eighth-grade night, helping the Warren County Middle School boys team rally from a 15-point halftime deficit to throttle the visiting Warriors 45-33.
Terry scored 11 unanswered points in the third quarter, part of a 13-point performance, and Rutledge scored 15 of his game-high 22 points after the break to push the Pioneers to their 11th win. It was the second time Warren County had rallied to beat White County, the first coming in December when Rutledge hit a last-second shot in a 24-22 victory.
Coach Kevin Burnett couldn’t help but be impressed by the performance in the second half, when his team quickly erased a 26-11 halftime hole to win running away.
“We just changed a few things defensively, but they come out with a lot of energy – something we were lacking in the first half,” said Burnett, who also noted the raucous crowd and large community turnout. “They have worked really hard this season and they deserve all the credit. Myself and coach Lee Carden were really proud of them. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the tournament this week."
Terry lit the fuse on the comeback early in the third. The point guard began taking aim from outside, finding his favorite spot on the right wing in front of the Pioneer bench. Terry sandwiched two 3-pointers around two free throws, the second long-range shot prompting a White County timeout.
Right out the break, the Warriors turned the ball over and Terry again drifted in front of his bench. His teammates already had their hands in the air in anticipation when Terry caught the ball and he calmly drained another 3-pointer to make it 26-22.
Rutledge took over from there.
The team’s leading scorer drew the Pioneers within one at 28-27 with a 3-pointer, then gave Warren County its first lead on a Michael Jordan-esque fadeaway on the baseline. Rutledge made sure the Pioneers led going into the fourth quarter when he Euro-stepped through the White County defense for a layup with 4.0 seconds to play.
Leading 32-31, the short break did little to cool off Rutledge and the Pioneers. Rutledge opened the fourth quarter by knocking down a step-back 3-pointer, then penetrated for an and-one layup that pushed the lead to seven.
Braylon Grayson added the exclamation point in the final minute. Grayson grabbed a steal and outraced the White County defense for a layup. Grayson was hit by a defender just before releasing and watched from the ground as his shot spun around the rim before sinking in.
Braylon breaks awayBraylon Grayson races past the White County defense for a late layup in Thursday’s win.
He sank the free throw for his eighth point, as well as giving the Pioneers a double-digit win.
Logan Earls added two points for the Pioneers, who will be taking part in the conference tournament this week. The tournament details were not available at press time.