A tiebreaker left Warren County with the No. 3 seed in this week’s Central Tennessee Conference, but the Pioneers found out last week they can beat anybody in the league.
Warren County closed out the regular season in style Thursday, beating Coffee County 34-31 on the road to force a tie for second place. The Red Raiders took the second seed due to a tiebreaker, but the Pioneers will take the mental edge entering the tournament.
Free throws nearly sunk the Pioneers late in the game when they were protecting a two-point lead, but the team’s rebounding made up for the misses. Warren County missed the front end of three straight 1-and-1’s at the line in the final 40 seconds, only to rebound two of the misses.
The third miss gave Coffee County a chance to tie, but Warren County was able to force an errant shot and Baylor Melton secured the rebound. The Red Raiders immediately fouled the Pioneer post, leading to a 94-foot walk to the other end.
Melton calmly sank the first free throw with 11.2 seconds left, but missed the second to keep the door cracked for a late miracle.
Coffee County, which had beaten Warren County earlier in the season in the final seconds, didn’t have another late shot in its arsenal. A 3-pointer missed everything and flew out of bounds. The Pioneers quickly tossed it back in, with Dyson Elam dribbling out the clock to preserve the victory.
Isaiah Cummings had 14 points to lead the Pioneers Thursday, including seven in the fourth quarter as Warren County held the lead. Treyton Terry added eight points, none bigger than his 3-pointer to open the final period.
Melton added five, followed by Alex van Vuuren with three and Jonathan Lara and Cameron Perry with two points each.
Warren County will make its CTC tournament debut Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. against Franklin North.