The Warren County Pioneers are headed down the home stretch with an overall record of 11-14 and a district record of 2-3 prior to Tuesday’s meeting with district foe White County.
Warren County will face its toughest remaining district games this week against White County at 5-0 and Cookeville at 4-1.
Pioneer head coach Chris Sullens said, “We just take one game at a time and one possession at a time. We realize as a team we have more wins today than we had all of last year. We also know we have let five to seven games slip away early on this year. We lost some close overtime games and a few games by one possession. All of that got us to where we are now.”
Warren County has seven regular season games left on its schedule, five of which are against district teams. In order for Warren County to finish .500 in the district, the Pioneers need to snatch a win against either White County, Cookeville or Cumberland County, and then complete their sweeps of Stone Memorial and Rhea County.
Friday night versus Cookeville, the Pioneers face a team that ran away with the game after the first quarter when the teams played earlier in Cookeville. The Cavs extended their lead in the second period and then the wheels rolled off in the second half for the Pioneers and they were defeated, 65-42.
A breakdown on defense and foul trouble kept Cookeville at the free-throw line for much of the second half. The Pioneer offense never had time to settle into any type of rhythm after the first quarter ended with a Cookeville run that claimed the lead from the Pioneers.
If the Pioneers do drop games this week against White County and Cookeville, Warren County must win out its remaining district games versus Cumberland County, Rhea County, and Stone Memorial, which is a good possibility.
The toughest of those three games will be versus the Cumberland County Jets. The Jets edged Warren County and escaped Charlie Dalton Gym with a narrow 59-57 win Dec. 4.
Warren County must continue to battle inside the post and control the boards. Trevor Gaines and Krojhn Calbert provide a large presence on both ends of the floor, while Isaiah Grayson provides a spark from outside. Grayson also has a quick first step and can use his quickness to take defenders off the dribble.
Outside for Warren County is a host of shooters who can hit the deep ball. Chance Hobbs exploded during the White County Christmas Tournament and connected seven times from behind the arch.
Holden Baker, Wesley Jennings, and Isaac Golden can all shoot from deep when needed.
Added coach Sullens, “We are looking at roughly 10 more games counting the district and the region and we are playing some of our best basketball of the season. We tell our guys every day to do your job and be the best team on the floor when you play and yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery, just live and play for the moment. This group has made the program better just like last year’s group and we are just trying to win the next possession.”
There is still plenty of basketball to be played over the course of the next few weeks and the Pioneers will play host to the Cookeville Cavaliers this Friday following the Lady Pioneers game that is set to tipoff at 6 p.m. at Charlie Dalton Gym.