The Warriors from White County are the No. 1 team in class 6AAA for a reason. Tuesday night at Charlie Dalton Gym, the Warriors left little doubt as to why.
The Pioneers went into the game with momentum from back-to-back wins over Rhea County and Stone Memorial. The Pioneers tied the hands of the Warriors in the first quarter and a high-arching 3-pointer by Lorenzo Wilson gave Warren County a 15-14 lead at the end of the first.
White County adjusted and it was all Warrior basketball for the next three periods. White County picked apart Warren County and defeated the Pioneers, 88-58.
The Pioneers faced a relentless and physical Warrior defense. Trevor Gaines led Warren County with 13 points, many of which came in the third period.
Cade Crosland of White County lit up the Pioneer defense and scored a game-high 27 points. Crosland showed his range in the second quarter as he connected four times from behind the arch.
The Warriors are well known around the area for their accuracy behind the 3-point line. In the first meeting of these two teams the Warriors knocked down 17 shots from 3-point range. The Warriors finished Tuesday night 12-of-32 behind the arch.
White County’s defense was very aggressive and turnovers by the Pioneers allowed the Warriors to get out and run in the open floor.
Gaines and Krojhn Calbert were in for a long night under the basket. The duo picked up the first four points for Warren County in the paint off putbacks after misses from outside and the game was locked at 4-4.
A pair of turnovers allowed White County to go ahead 7-4. The Pioneers set up the offense and Holden Baker slipped free on the wing and pulled the trigger and hit his mark on his first 3-point shot and tied the game at 7-7.
Just as the Warriors appeared to pick up steam, they were hit with a technical foul for taunting. Baker stepped to the free-throw line and shot a perfect 2-of-2 and Warren County trailed 14-12.
Wilson made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pioneers a 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
What happened next was something no one anticipated. The Warrior offense outscored the Pioneers in the second quarter 31-9 and took a commanding 45-22 lead at the half.
The Pioneers picked up the pieces and got the offense going again in the third quarter. Gaines went back to work on the inside and was fouled on the way up. He showed his strength and muscled up the shot with a defender on his arm and the shot dropped. Gaines completed the three-point play.
Joelah Solomon entered the game and immediately went to work. He picked up a quick basket off the missed shot from outside. Moments later after a second rebound he was fouled on the putback and Solomon went to the free-throw line and knocked down both attempts.
From outside, Chance Hobbs spotted up and connected on his first 3-pointer. Baker followed with his second 3-pointer.
Despite the efforts of the Pioneer offense, the defense could not stop the Warrior offense and White County led 69-41 at the end of the third.
Lucas Patrick entered the game for the Pioneers on the inside. He picked up a quick basket underneath and a pair of free throws.
Christian Locke went on the attack in the final quarter and he went straight to the rim against the Warrior defense.
The Warrior offense just kept coming and at the final buzzer White County won 88-58. The Warriors are very precise and every possession there is a White County player near the ball. The Warrior offense created second, third, and fourth shot opportunities.
WARRIOR SCORING – Cade Crosland 27, Pierce Whited 24, Jacob Fresh 10, Mitchell Lamb 7, Jared Carter 5, Cole Crosland 3, Thomas Dalton 2, Allen Frasier 2, Zack Young 2, Saylor Wilson 2, Logan Swoape 2, Zack Lynn 2
PIONEER SCORING – Trevor Gaines 13, Holden Baker 12, Tyree Ladet 6, Chance Hobbs 5, Joelah Solomon 4, Lucas Patrick 4, Logan Wilson 3, Lorenzo Wilson 3, Krojhn Calbert 3, Caleb Newby 3, Isaiah Grayson 2.