With just eight games to prove your mettle, coach Malcolm Montgomery knows his Warren County High School boys basketball team can’t afford an off night in District 6-AAA play.
Coach Montgomery has delivered the message to the Pioneers this week that tonight’s game against White County is another important contest if the team wishes to make noise.
“You can’t waste games in district play,” said Montgomery. “You have eight games, which makes every game even more important. To start 2-0 in district would mean we’d have a shot.”
The Pioneers are riding high after last Friday’s District 6-AAA opener at Charlie Dalton Gym ended with senior Nick Simmons connecting on a three-point play with 3.0 seconds to go to help Warren County win 46-45.
Tonight’s game will be the Pioneers’ first road game of the district season and it comes against the team that has traditionally had its way with Warren County.
Since Montgomery’s arrival at Warren County High School, which coincided with the Pioneers and Warriors entering into District 6-AAA, the Pioneers own only one win over White County. That victory came in Montgomery’s first season.
The Warriors have had Warren County’s number the past two seasons, winning the last four matchups by double figures each time.
White County beat the Pioneers 76-60 on its home court last season.
The Warriors come into tonight’s game with a 12-6 record while last week’s win over the Red Raiders moved Warren County to 10-11.
Coach Montgomery feels like the momentum from last week should carry over as his senior class took over as the game went on.
“We have a little momentum coming off a big win,” said Montgomery. “Last week’s game didn’t start off well. We showed a lot of character and our seniors really pushed us at the end.”
Simmons and fellow seniors Tucker Smith and Kendall Rutledge combined to score 41 of the team’s 46 points last week. It will take another great effort from the trio to top the Warriors, who feature sharp shooting wings Kane Young and A.J. Wilkerson and a 1-3-1 zone that can give opponents fits.
Though Warren County may face the Warriors without their starting point guard Devon Davidson, who has missed the season with a leg injury sustained in football, coach Montgomery knows what to expect from the district foe.
“We know what we are going to see from them,” said Montgomery. “We know what we have to do to win games and we know what they want to do to try to win.
“It will be about limiting their opportunities and doing what we do best.”
Tonight’s game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at White County High School gym.