Once White County found a way to bottle up Beth Vaughn, the Lady Pioneers couldn’t keep pace in their district debut.
The Warriorettes thumped Warren County 79-43 despite 16 points from the senior sniper.
Vaughn did all of her damage in the first half, drilling five 3-pointers while scoring all but six of her team’s first-half points. She was swarmed in the second half and Warren County’s offense sputtered, allowing White County to dominate.
“We played two good quarters, but lost shooters in transition and it really hurt us” said Lady Pioneer coach Anthony Lippe. “We were able to get Beth some looks early by spreading the floor and getting penetration. Shelby (Smartt) did a great job of getting into the paint and finding Beth on the perimeter.”
Smartt, a freshman, has picked up her play of late, allowing Lippe to put the ball in her hands in most situations. Smartt’s lightning-quick first step had White County on its heels most of the first half, forcing help to come to the rescue.
Most times, Smartt chose not to force up shots and instead looked for open shooters. When the ball touched Vaughn’s hands, three points were about to go on the board.
Erica Cantrell added six of her eight points in the first half, when Warren County went to the locker rooms trailing 37-22.
In the second half, White County made adjustments to stay home on Vaughn. It’s a strategy Warren County will likely see more in the next month and Lippe is already planning counterattacks.
“Going forward, we will have to be smart about where we place Beth on the floor because teams will not want to help off her. We can also look to have her set screens for other players to free up some other looks,” said Lippe.
Tuesday was the 11th time Vaughn has led the team in scoring in 17 games and her fifth time scoring 15 or more points. It’s been a dramatic turnaround from last year, when Vaughn was primarily used in the paint and scored just 40 points all season.
Smartt finished with nine points and three assists. The freshman point guard is currently second on the team in scoring and leads the team in assists.
With the game slipping away, Lippe was able to get more time for a group of freshmen. Brienne Kelsey, Mia Hobbs and Kyra Perkins all got in on the action, with Hobbs hitting a corner triple in her time.
Brielee Kelsey scored five points in the loss, while Kam Nowlin had two.