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3 - WCHS girls win in region
Photo courtesy of Painted Barn Media Mia Hobbs, left, and Sydney Burger celebrate after the Lady Pioneers earned their first region win in 44 years last February. Warren County finished the season with 24 victories.

It may have felt like a win three years in the making, but it snapped a 44-year slide at the same time. The WCHS girls basketball team picked up their first region win since 1979 last season, capping a 24-win year that put the Lady Pioneers back on the map.

The biggest victory was beating Ooltewah 44-41 in the region quarterfinals at home – just the second region girls game to be hosted at Charlie Dalton Gym. It followed a second-place finish in the District 6-4A regular season and tournament, where the Lady Pioneers piled up seven district victories.

The program’s turnaround was accomplished under Anthony Lippe, who won just two games in his inaugural season (2019-20) before building of the best teams in the Midstate by year three. Warren County won the Sonic Shootout, Tampa Bay Christmas tournament and piled up its most wins in over two decades in the 2021-22 season.

The Lady Pioneers had a star-studded roster, with guards Shelby Smartt, Kyra Perkins and Sable Winfree all honored by District 6-4A. Senior Jaden Smartt was also a stalwart in the post, while Brienne Kelsey, Mia Hobbs and Savannah Winfree played key roles as well.

The same group has started the 2022-23 season with nine early wins and garnered preseason top 10 rankings in the state.

Members of the Lady Pioneers last year were Perkins, Hobbs, Kelsey, Shelby Smartt, Sable Winfree, Jaden Smartt, Savannah Winfree, Rudy DeArmond, Sydney Burger, Bri Taylor, Lex Verge, Kennedi Pegg, Jenna Newby, Miranda Medley and Isabella Pennington.