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WCHS teams prep for Christmas tourneys
wchs pioneers

Before taking a break for the holidays, each of the Warren County High School basketball teams will travel this week to take part in tournaments.

The Pioneers will be heading to Sparta to take part in the Sonic Shootout, which has become a yearly tradition for Chris Sullens’ squad. Still searching for their first win under new coach Anthony Lippe, the Lady Pioneers will head to the mountains to play in the Smoky Mountain Classic Christmas tournament held in Gatlinburg.

Sullens is no stranger to the Sonic Shootout, having taken his team to the event the last three seasons. Warren County won the event in 2017, part of a 23-win season that ended in the region semifinals. 

The Pioneers, who have started 7-4, have similar goals of succeeding in tournament play this postseason. This weekend’s games will be an early test to see how the team handles good competition while playing three games in three days.

“The Christmas tournament is something we need at this point to see if we are willing to do what is needed to win in those type settings,” said Sullens.

Warren County will take on Richard Hardy School from South Pittsburg in its opening game Thursday at 6 p.m. With a win, the Pioneers would play Friday at 5:30 p.m. The rest of the field includes White County, Macon County, Rhea County, Clarkrange, Cumberland County and King’s Academy.

The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. All games will be played at White County High School.

Lippe is hoping the team’s longest road trip of the season will bring the Lady Pioneers together. Warren County will be staying in Gatlinburg while it plays games at Rocky Top Sports World in the event.

Time to gel – on and off the court - could be the best thing for the young team.

“We are excited to be going to Gatlinburg. I really think it will be a great team bonding experience for them as well as our coaching staff,” said Lippe. “We will get to see some different competition and spend quality time with each other outside of basketball.”

The Lady Pioneers open competition against Russell County, Ky. Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Regardless of outcome, the Warren County girls will play again Friday at noon. 

The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at noon and will be played at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. All other games will be played at Rocky Top Sports World.

The bracket features teams from Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.