Tara Koran got an early Christmas present from her Lady Pioneers.
The WCMS girls won the Creek Holiday tournament, beating Rock Springs 43-35 in the finals just before Christmas.
In her third year, Koran has seen her team improve each season. In her debut, WCMS won eight games. The Lady Pioneers jumped up to nine wins in 2018-19, which has been followed by a huge leap this season.
With Saturday’s title, Warren County is now 13-6 and is bringing hardware back for the trophy case before Christmas.
“Proud is an understatement,” Koran said after the victory, which evened her coaching record to 30-30 at WCMS. “I love each one of my girls. They played tough.”
Warren County’s run through the tournament, which included victories over Stewart’s Creek and Rucker Stewart to make the finals, was especially impressive considering the roster shakeups. Because of holiday plans, leading scorer Sable Winfree was absent the final two games, as were key contributors Hailey Simpson and Kyleigh Ramsey.
Koran had a host of players step in to lead the Lady Pioneers, including huge performances by Paige Sweeton and Alexxia Verge.
Sweeton scored 13 points in the championship, while Verge added eight, helping both earn all-tournament honors. The pair also hit two of the biggest shots of the game, sinking triples in the third quarter when Warren County was able to take the lead after trailing 24-20 at halftime.
Brianna Taylor also sank a 3-pointer in the third, helping the Lady Pioneers go into the fourth leading 30-28.
Taylor continued her clutch shooting in the fourth. The team’s solid seventh-grader hit a pair of short jumpers, keeping the Lady Knights chasing on the scoreboard.
Warren County was able to bring home the trophy by calmly sinking nine fourth-quarter free throws.
Taylor finished with nine points in the championship, followed by Aleah Davis with seven. Sixth-grader Elly Bain chipped in six points as she was moved up to add ball handling and a scoring punch in Winfree’s absence.
Koran and her team are setting their sights on another trophy when play resumes in 2020 - a CTC tournament championship trophy.
Warren County 40
Stewart’s Creek 19
Lady Pioneer scoring - Sable Winfree 21, Alexxia Verge 10, Hailey Simpson 9
Warren County 41
Rucker Stewart 9
Lady Pioneer scoring - Paige Sweeton 11, Alexxia Verge 11, Bella Pennington 8, Brianna Taylor 3, Aleah Davis 2, Sydney Matthews 2, Alexis Verdel 2, Elly Bain 2
Next game: Monday, Jan. 6 vs. Tullahoma East, 6 p.m.