It wasn’t long ago when both the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers had fond memories in Sparta. On Tuesday night though, Warren County teams couldn’t wait to get out of White County.
The Lady Pioneers fell 59-46 to the Warriorettes, while the Pioneers are still in search for their first win after dropping a 75-67 decision to the Warriors. The Warren County girls are now 3-3 this year, while the boys are sitting at 0-6.
The Lady Pioneers won the Sonic Shootout in Sparta just last year by beating the Warriorettes, but White County, got its revenge in the first matchup of 2022. Celeste Reed went wild with 22 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter to lead the Warriorettes to a 5-0 start.
The game got away from the Lady Pioneers quick. KK McDonald buried an open 3-pointer late in the first quarter to push the home team up 18-7 and Warren County rarely cut the deficit below 10 the rest of the night.
Sable Winfree found her sister Savannah Winfree for a wide-open layup to cut the deficit to 25-19 late in the second quarter, but White County stretched its lead back to 13, 32-19, by halftime.
Reed capped a 6-0 run by the Warriorettes to start the second half with a putback through contact as White County was doubling up the Lady Pioneers 38-19 just two minutes into the second half.
Warren County found a little life when Sable banked in a 3-pointer with 5:38 left to make it 42-31 and Kyra Perkins drilled a triple of her own to make 43-35 moments later, but the Lady Pioneers never got closer.
Perkins and Sable Winfree finished with 16 points apiece for the Lady Pioneers, who didn’t pick up their third loss until after New Year’s last season. Brienne Kelsey nailed two 3-pointers as well for the Lady Pioneers.
In the boys game, an abundance of whistles stole the show from what was otherwise a tight game. The teams were called for 43 combined fouls, leaving the game to be decided late at the charity stripe. White County sank 12-of-17 free throws in the fourth quarter to rally out of a four-point deficit entering the final eight minutes to win by eight.
It was another tough loss for the Pioneers, who have held fourth-quarter leads in each of their last three defeats (and four of their six total losses). Tuesday’s was especially frustrating with Warren County scorching the nets.
Senior Sawyer Seymour and junior Treyton Terry both were cooking for the Pioneers, hitting some shots that resembled the bombs-away attack that led Warren County to hoist a district championship in White County’s gym just three seasons ago. Seymour (4-for-5 from deep, 7-of-8 from the FT line) finished with 19 points and Terry added 18, including banking in a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to put the Pioneers up 52-48 going into the fourth, but it still wasn’t enough.
Nate Elrod added eight points and 10 rebounds for the Pioneers, but White County had all the answers late behind Tripp Pinion, sharpshooter Jakeb Davis and big man Japheth Richmond.
Pinion had 23 points and was unstoppable on the attack in the fourth before fouling out late, while Davis nailed three triples on his way to 18 points. Richmond only had six points, but they all came on empathetic dunks that got the Sparta crowd rolling.
Both Warren County teams will be looking to bounce back in a big way Friday at home. Cannon County will be coming to the Dalt, with action set to tip off at 6 p.m.