The border battle between the DeKalb County boys basketball team and Warren County has turned into annual border beatings for the Pioneers.
In the semifinals of the Sun Drop Romp Christmas tournament, Warren County lost for the second time this season to the Tigers 61-41.
The Pioneers, who had won their first two games in the tournament, have had troubles with the Tigers over the last three years and nothing changed Friday night.
With another lopsided loss to DeKalb County, Warren County is now 1-6 in the last three years against the Tigers.
Earlier this season, the Pioneers hung tough in a 60-55 loss to DeKalb County in Smithville, but Friday’s tilt went the Tigers way from the start.
With Sonni Young getting off to a hot start, DeKalb County jumped out to an early lead. Young scored seven points in the first quarter, including a late 3-pointer that gave the Tigers a nine-point advantage.
Pioneer senior Nick Simmons sank a 3-pointer before the buzzer for the home team, cutting the deficit to 16-10 after the first quarter.
Tucker Smith tried to bolster the Pioneer offense with four points in the second quarter with two layups, but DeKalb County countered with more long-range shooting.
Eli Lomas and Will Molander each splashed in 3-pointers to push the Tigers in front 31-18 at halftime.
Smith swung the momentum back in the Pioneers’ direction when the second half started. Using his size and speed, Smith sliced through the Tiger defense for four baskets in the third quarter as Warren County drew within six at one point.
The game began to get chippy, like many of the previous battles between the bitter rivals.
After Molander had pushed the Tiger lead back into double figures with his second triple, the senior point guard drew a technical foul for having a squabble with several Pioneer players.
Molander was frustrated by the call and had to be restrained by his coach near midcourt when he had words with junior Lee Carden.
Kendall Rutledge split the pair of ensuing free throws, but the Pioneers weren’t able to take advantage of the frustrated Tigers.
Warren County went into the final quarter trailing 47-35 then had to watch DeKalb County make several trips to the free-throw line to seal the victory.
The Tigers shot 13 free throws in the final quarter, making 10 from the charity stripe. The freebies were enough to push DeKalb County to a 20-point win over Warren County, despite junior Ryan Jennings swishing a pair of jumpers in the final period.
Smith had 17 points in the loss, followed by Simmons with seven and Jennings with six.
With the loss, Warren County fell into the third-place game in the tournament where it faced Cookeville yesterday. DeKalb County moved into the finals to play Wilson Central. Results were unavailable at press time. Check Wednesday’s Southern Standard for results from the final day of the Sun Drop Romp Christmas tournament.