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Tripped up by Cookeville
Treyton Terry goes up for a bucket during Friday's matchup with the Cavaliers. Cookeville took down the Pioneers 64-55. - photo by Jeffery Simmons
Kyra Perkins works for a bucket late in a tough 58-52 loss to the Lady Cavs. - photo by Jeffery Simmons

After a one-year hiatus, Warren County resumed one of its longest standing rivalries on the hardwood Friday night. The Pioneers and Lady Pioneers took on Cookeville, though neither were able to finish the night with a victory.

The Lady Pioneers fell to Cookeville 58-52, while the Cavaliers finished the sweep at Charlie Dalton Gym with a 64-55 victory over the Pioneers. It was the first time the schools have met since early in 2021, when both programs were a part of the old District 6AAA.

Friday’s girls game was a showcase of two of the most talked about teams in the Midstate. Warren County, now 7-4, generated top 10 buzz in the preseason, while the Lady Cavaliers have now rolled off eight impressive wins in a row as a top squad in 4A. Behind Jordan Gillies’ unreal shooting night, Cookeville was able to stop Warren County’s own lengthy winning streak.

Gillies scored 22 points and hit six 3-pointers to hand the Lady Pioneers their first defeat in five games. The entire Lady Cav roster had it dialed in from deep, hitting 60 percent from outside and swishing 13 triples.

Cookeville throwing in heat-check triples, including Gillies splashing four in the first quarter, helped the visitors run out to 34-27 halftime advantage, but Warren County wasn’t going to quit.

Kyra Perkins, who had a team-high 15 points, opened the second half with a three-point play, back-cutting Cookeville into a layup she was able to convert while being hit. Sable Winfree followed with an and-1 of her own, getting a leaning layup to roll in as she got laid out on the play.

Warren County took its first lead of the second half on a Mia Hobbs triple from the wing, closing out a 9-0 run to start the second half. Cookeville had a quick response though, getting a 3-pointer from Cassie Gallagher to silence the raucous home crowd.

The Lady Cavaliers found some breathing room by the end of the third and took a 44-40 lead into the final period, only to see Warren County charge back once again.

Perkins started the fourth with a steal and coast-to-coast layup, made extra costly to the Lady Cavs when they fouled Warren County’s athletic wing on the bucket. Perkins followed with a free throw to cut the deficit to one, then tied it up a minute later with another swish from the charity stripe.

Sable gave the Lady Pioneers their lone lead in the fourth quarter on a banked-in triple with 4:50 to play. Sable’s straightaway shot pushed the Lady Pioneers up 47-44, capping an impressive 7-0 spurt.

Cookeville answered with a run of its own, scoring eight unanswered points as the Lady Pioneers got into major foul trouble. 

Savannah Winfree gave Warren County late hope with a rare 3-pointer from the senior post with 1:11 to play. Savannah went glass, nailing a huge triple to make it 52-50 and cap a seven-point night.

Warren County couldn’t get over the hump from there. Gillies sank four free throws in the final minute to seal the win for Cookeville, while the Lady Pioneers had crucial misses from the stripe late.

“I thought there were a lot of good things from us. Our girls fought extremely hard to be in it late,” said coach Anthony Lippe in a radio interview with 92.1 FM after the game. “I thought we played hard for four quarters, we just didn’t get it done down the stretch.”

The boys game followed a similar script. Warren County found itself in catch-up mode most of the night, but the Pioneers kept trying to push to get over the hump against an athletic Cavs roster.

Alex van Vuuren had a career night, scoring 22 points as he was lethal from deep against the Cavs. The junior’s shooting helped the Pioneers get off to a quick start, though Cookeville was able to gain the upper hand and lead 30-23 by halftime.

The Cavaliers thought they had put the game away with a 15-2 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth and pushed the Pioneers behind 58-38, but Warren County came back firing.

Van Vuuren had a three-point play during an 8-0 run that cut the deficit to 12 and added his third triple late that made it a single-digit game, but the clock ran out on the Pioneer comeback. 

Both Warren County teams will get back in action Monday in the Frank’s Shootout in Sparta. The Lady Pioneers are scheduled to take on South Gibson at 4:30 p.m., while the boys will face East Nashville at 6 p.m. (at White County Middle School). The Pioneers are also scheduled to play Bradford at 11 a.m. Tuesday at White County High School.

Lady Pioneer scoring – Perkins 15, Hobbs 12, Sable Winfree 8, Savannah Winfree 7, Brienne Kelsey 6, Shelby Smartt 2, Lex Verge 2

Pioneer scoring – van Vuuren 22, Treyton Terry 12, Sawyer Seymour 8, Nate Elrod 6, Chase Newby 4, Devin Fish 2, Kaden Rutledge 1