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WCHS teams prep for new year
Erica Cantrell.jpg
Erica Cantrell emerged as a contributor for the Lady Pioneers over Christmas break.
Anthony Lippe.jpg
Anthony Lippe picked up his first two wins over Christmas break. The first-year Lady Pioneer coach is hoping his team continues to grow in 2020.
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The loud WCHS student section can start gearing up. Basketball returns to Charlie Dalton Gym Monday.

While it won’t reset the season records, the new year will offer new opportunities for the Warren County High School basketball teams. Anthony Lippe and Chris Sullens are ready to welcome the challenge.

The Lady Pioneers enter 2020 with a 2-11 record, although both their wins came in their last two outings. The Pioneers are 9-5, though the last memory of 2019 was a 72-54 loss in the Sonic Shootout finals to White County.

Lippe is hopeful to continue the surge he saw before Christmas, although it won’t be easy as the district schedule looms.

“We definitely want to stay on a positive note. We ended 2019 coming together as a team and we want to continue that and keep improving,” said Lippe. “We want to show that we are making strides in the right direction. Our schedule is tough the rest of the way, but I believe in the heart that our team shows and I know they will fight each and every game.”

Both Warren County teams won’t need long to get back into the routine of playing. After not taking the court since Saturday, Dec. 21, the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers are set to play four games over the next five days.

Action begins Friday night at Coffee County, then continues Saturday at Cannon County. Warren County will play its first home game of the new year Monday, Jan. 6 against Livingston Academy before hitting the road again Tuesday, Jan. 7 to face Upperman. 

Each of the next four games will be rematches for the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers. The Warren County girls are 0-4 against their next four opponents this season, while the Pioneers are 2-2.

One of the most impressive outings this season for Sullens’ squad came against Friday’s opponent. Warren County beat Coffee County 67-49 to start December, part of a stretch where the Pioneers won 7-of-8 games.

Sullens is hopeful his team can get back to that level of play after finishing December with three losses in its last five games.

“We feel as a team we have much room for improvement, especially in the toughness and intangible department. Our staff has really worked hard over the past couple weeks to help our guys realize how we must be better in the rebounding and defensive areas on the floor each possession,” said Sullens.

Tough losses haven’t led to lost faith though. Sullens still believes his team can make a run at a district title.

“This is a really fun group to coach. I have said that from Day 1. We have shown glimpses of good basketball but we need to show a consistency to how we play on the defensive end and willingness to battle throughout possessions,” said Sullens. “We can’t change the size of our guys and wouldn’t want to. What we want to change is the mentality other teams are showing against us, which is you can out-physical and wear on Warren County.  We’re looking to change that over the next 4-5 games before we start district play on the road.”

Friday’s action is set to start at 6 p.m. Tip-off Saturday in Woodbury is also set for 6 p.m.