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WCHS girls downed in tournament
wchs pioneers

Dreams of snapping a 10-game losing streak were dashed late for the Lady Pioneers Thursday in the opening round of the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic.

The Lady Pioneers fell 47-45 to Russell County, Ky., extending the team's losing streak to 11 games to start the season.

This one may have been the toughest to take for Warren County, which had lost all but one of its games by double figures before fading late in Thursday's matchup.

"It was really close late and we just struggled to finish," said coach Anthony Lippe.

Already short-handed due to the loss of senior Hallie Jo Pennington to a knee injury and Rhealee Johnson's decision to leave the program, Warren County got more bad news before leaving for Gatlinburg when it was revealed sophomore starter Jaden Smartt wouldn't play. Her scoring and defense was missed, especially late against Russell County when Warren County had to lean heavily on its youngsters.

"They fought the whole game like they always do - we just came up short with a young group that is now readjusting to playing without three starters," said Lippe.

Beth Vaughn, one of the few veterans still suiting up for the Lady Pioneers, finished with 15 points. All of Vaughn's points came from the 3-point line, where she canned five triples, including three in the third quarter as Warren County kept pace.

The Lady Pioneers trailed 35-32 entering the fourth quarter, but could never get over the hump late.

Freshman Shelby Smartt hit a late 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game, but late chances to tie missed the mark as Warren County tried to snap the season-long losing skid.

Lia Wright finished with eight points in the loss, while Smartt finished with seven. Kam Nowlin and Erica Cantrell added six points apiece.

Warren County will have two more chances in Gatlinburg to snap the streak. The Lady Pioneers are set to play Friday at noon. The team will play again Saturday, with the game time determined by Friday's result. Check @sstandardsports on Twitter for more information on this weekend's action.