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Tigers take tourney title
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In the regular season, the Warren County Middle School Pioneers was the team to build big leads and run teams out of the gym.
In the Warren County elementary fifth- and sixth-grade boys title game, Irving College gave the Pioneers a taste of their own medicine.
The Tigers built a 21-point lead in the second half and cruised to a 41-30 victory over Warren County to take home the tournament title.
The Pioneers and Tigers have been the two best boys teams all season. The Tigers won the preseason 3-pt Club tournament in the elementary league. The Pioneers followed by going 12-0 to claim the regular-season championship.
The finals of the elementary tournament was the final meeting place to decide once and for all which was the best team in elementary basketball.
Irving College used a 10-0 run at the end of the second quarter and an 11-1 spurt to start the third quarter to put away the Pioneers.
Warren County led 9-7 following the first period after Wesley Jennings scored five points, including hitting a 3-pointer, to lead the Pioneers.
Irving College started taking control in the second when Tyler Pomales knocked down two free throws and banked in a 3-pointer to give the Tigers the lead.
The game went back and forth for the next four minutes and Warren County looked ready to jump back in the lead when Alex Steiner sunk a free throw with 2:34 to go and Jennings followed with a baseline jumper 30 seconds later to cut the Tigers lead to 14-13.
Instead of letting Warren County take control, the Tigers responded with a big run to close the half. Chance Hobbs sparked the run with a layup. After Jeffery McCormick scored on a putback seconds later, Hobbs hit a jumper to make it 20-13 with 34.8 seconds left.
Hobbs then stole a pass at midcourt and swooped in for a layup to make it a nine-point game. Before Warren County could retreat to the locker room, the Tigers scored once more when Douglas Nelson hit a layup at the buzzer to put Irving College ahead 24-13 at halftime.
The Tigers were just as hot when the team came back on the court for the second half. Pomales brought the Tiger fans to their feet by drilling a 3-pointer from the top of the key to begin the quarter.
Jennings momentarily stopped the Tiger run with a free throw, but McCormick and Luke Martin answered back in a big way.
McCormick and Martin cleaned the glass and scored four points each on layups in the paint to put Irving College ahead 35-14 with 2:57 to go in the third quarter.
Bunker Brock got Warren County back on the board with a free-throw line jumper, but Lucas Patrick pushed the lead back to 21 with a floater in the lane.
Jennings closed the quarter with two jumpers as the Pioneers trailed 37-20 going into the final period.
Warren County made things interesting in the fourth quarter by opening the quarter with a 10-0 run. Jennings got things started with a layup, then Steiner drove in for a reverse layup to make it 37-24.
Brock added another layup before Tyree Ladet took over for the Pioneers. Ladet sliced through the Tiger defense for a layup, then stole a pass at midcourt and drove in for another layup as Warren County closed the gap to seven.
It would be as close as the Pioneers would get though. McCormick ended the Pioneer run with a layup of his own and the Tiger defense held Warren County scoreless in the final two minutes to preserve the victory.
Pomales scored 11 points to lead the Tigers. McCormick added 10 points, while Hobbs and Martin scored six points apiece. Patrick and Nelson added four points each.
Jennings scored a game-high 14 points. Ladet added eight, followed by Brock with four, Steiner with three and Cole Estes with one.