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WCHS currently second in District 6-AAA standings
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Friday will be the opening night of District 6-AAA play and every boys team seems to be hitting its stride entering 2012.
The Warren County High School boys basketball team is no different, as the Pioneers are riding high after winning the Watertown Christmas Classic and are currently 10-5 overall.
Winners of six of their last seven games, the Pioneers own the second-best record entering district play in two days. Warren County opens up at Coffee County, while the other district game will be Cookeville playing host to Cumberland County.
White County will make its debut on Friday, Jan. 13 when the Warriors visit Charlie Dalton Gym.
Warren County bounced back from some early-season struggles to end 2011 on a high note. The Pioneers won three games in three days in Watertown, including beating the host school in the finals 46-43.
Warren County relied heavily on its depth to win the tournament and it showed when the all-tournament selections were made. Of the four players named to the Watertown all-tournament team, three were subs. Senior Hunter Daniel came off the bench in the finals to lead the team with 15 points, while juniors Tucker Smith and Nick Simmons led the team in scoring in the two other games.
Simmons was named tournament MVP for his performance in Watertown and could be a key in District 6-AAA play as his 6-foot-6 frame and midrange jumper make for a tough matchup for opposing teams.
Daniel currently leads the Pioneers in scoring with 201 points, which is an average of 11.8 points per game. No other Pioneer averages in double figures, but Simmons, Smith, Jacob Reagan and Hunter Adams each have scored 100 or more points and nine different players have been the team’s leading scorer in a game this season.
Warren County isn’t the only team entering district competition playing its best basketball.
The Cookeville Cavaliers (15-4) are coming off tournament championships in the Hilton Sandestin Beach tournament and the Sun Drop Romp tournament held in Warren County. Led by point guard Phillip Roper and shooting guard Matt Case, the Cavaliers beat Warren County by 22 in the Sun Drop Romp finals.
Cumberland County (9-7) and Coffee County (9-8) enter district action tied in victories, but the expectations around the teams were very different at the beginning of the season.
The Jets have had their troubles to begin the season, but did claim third place in the Sun Drop Romp and fourth at the Sonic Shoot-out in White County. Senior point guard John Bilbrey and junior wing Tayler Houston have been the driving force behind Cumberland County and will have to step up their play when action begins Friday night.
The Raiders were selected to finish fifth in the five-team district before the start of the season. Coming off a five-win season and returning only five players with significant varsity experience, Coffee County has turned heads already.
With the team’s next victory, Coffee County will double its win total from last year. The Raiders earned major bragging rights with a win over county rival Tullahoma earlier this season.
White County (8-8) enters district play with the lowest win total, but the Warriors’ status as preseason District 6-AAA favorites hasn’t changed. Opening up the season with one of the toughest schedules in Tennessee, White County lost seven straight games at one point.
The Warriors have bounced back by winning six of its last seven, including winning the Sonic Shoot-out over Lebanon. White County is currently on a five-game winning streak and will play Upperman, DeKalb County and York before next week’s district game against Warren County.
The Pioneers played their final tune-up game before district action last night when the team traveled to Cannon County. Scores were unavailable at press time. Check Friday’s Southern Standard for a full recap of last night’s game.