A regular-season CTC co-championship slipped through the fingers of the WCMS Lady Pioneers Thursday night.
Warren County fell 49-42 in overtime at Coffee County, a tough loss as the team was a win away from tying with White County atop the regular-season standings.
The Lady Pioneers built their lead to as many as eight in the fourth quarter, but a rare seven-point possession turned the tides and helped Coffee County rally.
An ankle-breaking move to the basket for a layup by Sable Winfree put Warren County up 37-29 with 2:48 to play, but the Lady Raiders regrouped following a timeout.
Olivia Vinson, who scored a game-high 21 points, went flying to the basket out of the timeout, connecting on a floater over two Lady Pioneer defenders. Officials whistled a foul on Warren County on the shot, a call protested by the players on the court and a large group of Lady Pioneer faithful who made the trip.
The referees called a technical foul on one Warren County player, citing her holding her hands up in the air as a cause of the 'T'.
Vinson went to the line and connected on her foul shot, then sank both free throws which were awarded to her team following the Warren County technical foul.
Coffee County received the ball back as well, allowing Vinson to attack again for a layup that cut the Warren County lead to one in the span of 40 seconds of game play.
Clinging to a one-point lead with just over a minute to play, a timeout allowed Lady Pioneer coach Tara Kora to draw up a perfect inbounds play to increase the lead. Her team ran her play to perfection.
Paige Sweeton popped wide open under the basket after the break, sinking a layup with 1:05 left to give Warren County a 39-36 lead.
Vinson answered with a layup though, jump-starting a wild final 30 seconds.
After Warren County missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the charity stripe, Coffee County rebounded and rushed up the court. The Lady Raiders charged into the paint, with contact happening near the rim.
The referee blew his whistle, but then stood still as play on the court stopped. Players eventually wrestled over the ball, with Coffee County winning possession and calling timeout.
The Lady Pioneers were called for a touch foul when play resumed, leading to Coffee County’s Bella Lawson sinking the game-tying free throw with 10.7 seconds left.
Warren County had a chance to win with free throws with 8.3 seconds left, but another miss on the front end on a 1-and-1 sent the game into overtime.
Winfree, who led the Lady Pioneers with 16 points, fouled out in OT, while Vinson scored eight points in the last eight minutes – six coming at the free-throw line – to help Coffee County complete the comeback.
Lex Verge finished with 11 points in the loss, while Bri Taylor and Hailey Simpson each connected on two 3-pointers apiece for their lone points. Bella Pennington added a free throw in OT.
Warren County will be the No. 3 seed in this week’s CTC tournament, which will be played at Charlie Dalton Gym. The Lady Pioneers will play Tullahoma East Wednesday at 5 p.m.
A full bracket can be found on the Southern Standard website with this story.