The Lady Pioneers got their first win of the season at Charlie Dalton Gym Tuesday night. Warren County throttled Tullahoma 56-27, getting big nights from seniors Kyra Perkins and Brienne Kelsey to improve to 2-2 this season.
Perkins had a season-high 19 points as her defense and pressure led to easy layups, while Kelsey bombed away with four 3-pointers on her way to 13 points. It was the perfect bounce back for the Lady Pioneers, who were coming off two losses Saturday to Bradley Central and York Institute.
Coupled with a dominant win last week at Walker Valley (59-13), the Lady Pioneers are starting show flashes of why media outlets were ranking them as a top 10 team before the season.
"Our focus is taking it game-by-game, understanding situations and leaning on our experience. We have to do the little things great," said coach Anthony Lippe. "We don't have to be spectacular and score 70-80 points, but we have to do the little things great and be consistent. The rest of it will take care of itself."
The Lady Pioneers started off the game quickly and never took the foot off of the gas. Coach Lippe, who is starting his fourth year as the leader of the Lady Pioneers, had his team looking sharp against Tullahoma. He has a senior-heavy team and has been with them since they started high school. The chemistry between the seniors and coaching staff was obvious - They were clicking on all cylinders.
Warren County is leaning on a starting lineup featuring Perkins, Mia Hobbs, Savannah Winfree, Shelby Smartt and Sable Winfree. Sable, a former District 6AAA freshman of the year and all-tournament honoree, is the only starter that isn't a senior and she is now in her third year with the varsity team.
Sable had nine points against the Lady Wildcats, including a big 3-pointer in the third quarter when Warren County was stretching its lead. Perkins was also a monster in the third, dominating Tullahoma's front line with hard drives and backcuts to get to the rim.
Along with being the team's leading scorer, Perkins pulled down nine boards and had five steals. Hobbs was also effective in doing all the little things, including pulling down seven boards. Hobbs had a team-high +30 in her minutes (which measures Warren County's ability to outscore opponents in the minutes each player is on the court).
After scoring just 19 points in a loss to York Saturday night, the Lady Pioneers broke out with 56 points against Tullahoma. Smartt scored eight, Hobbs added three and Savannah and Bri Taylor had two points each.
Tuesday's matchup with Tullahoma was the first of four straight matchups with non-district teams that are in close range to Warren County. The Lady Pioneers face DeKalb County on the road Friday and will face White County and Cannon County next week. Lippe is hopeful his team will continue to accept the challenge against some strong programs from close by.
"You always want to battle against your neighbors - it's about bragging rights," said Lippe. "It's always tough to play at DeKalb County, I don't care what year it is. Every year they have shooters, it's a tense environment and it's a hard place to play. They're going to be ready for us and we have to be ready."
It’s always good to get that first win under your belt, especially knowing you have a good basketball team and not letting that get to your head. The Lady Pioneers dropped 56 points on Tullahoma, which is a big part of the success in night one at the Dalt, but the defensive play by the Lady Pioneers really seemed to stick out. They were like ballhawks out there and created lots of turnovers, which will be beneficial in the future as well!