The Warren County Middle School fifth- and sixth-grade boys basketball team went undefeated during the regular season last year, but the preseason and postseason championships eluded the Pioneers.
With another chance to take a tournament championship Saturday night at Dibrell Gym, Warren County finally got its title.
The Pioneers defeated the Centertown Warriors 43-28 as Warren County claimed its first championship since returning to Warren County elementary basketball a season ago.
Brandon Hennessee and Crockett Walker led the Pioneers to victory on their way to being named to the all-tournament team.
Hennessee scored a team-high 15 points, including six in the fourth quarter to ice the game, while Walker added 10 as Warren County dominated the second half.
Neither team could gain the upper hand in the first half as the teams went into the locker rooms knotted at 14.
Damian Thomas shouldered most of the scoring load for the Warriors as he put in eight points in the first half, most coming on layups.
Hennessee led the Pioneers with seven points, including sinking a 3-pointer in the second quarter as Warren County had trouble getting open looks against a pesky Warrior defense.
When the third quarter began, the Pioneers began to flip the switch with stingy defense and opportunistic offense. Warren County outscored the Warriors by nine in the third quarter as Centertown was held to four points.
Walker matched the Warrior total on his own as he got two layups to spark the Pioneer offense.
Hennessee, Sloan Seymour and Will Cantrell each added baskets as Warren County carried a 27-18 lead into the final period.
Hennessee showed accuracy at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to help build the Warren County lead, while Walker chipped in two more baskets. Hennessee sank 3-of-6 shots from the charity stripe, then nailed a back-breaking 3-pointer late as the Pioneers pulled away to claim the championship.
Seymour had six points in the victory, followed by Cantrell with four, Isaiah Rutledge and Gavin Myers with three each and Benjamin Clark with two.
Thomas led the Warriors with 11 points. Brant Young added seven, while Hunter Adams scored four. Jax McBride, Clay Eckenrod and Carter Mansfield chipped in two points apiece. Adams and Young were each named to the all-tournament team from Centertown.