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Tough loss to Tullahoma

Sawyer Seymour had seven points Tuesday (Painted Barn Media)

New Warren County men's head coach Danny Fish is still looking for his first win at the helm of the Pioneer program after his squad lost in the regular season opener on Tuesday night to the Tullahoma Wildcats 54-53. It obviously wasn’t the outcome Coach Fish wanted, but the atmosphere in The Dalt on whiteout night was second to none.

"Before we went out I looked at Coach (Jerry) Martin and said, 'Man, I'm a little nervous,'" said Fish. “The crowd was great, the student section was live. It was fun being initiated with the toilet paper.”

Pioneer Nation made the toilet paper rain early in the first quarter on Whiteout night after junior Alex van Vuuren dialed one up from deep to get the Pioneers on the board. Van Vuuren totaled 14 points, matching junior Treyton Terry for a team high in points.

The game was back and forth throughout the first half and right before the halftime break senior Sawyer Seymour nailed a three from the corner, three of the veteran guard's seven points, to give Warren County a 31-28 lead at the break.

The third quarter was a defensive battle that saw neither team draw a big lead. Going into the fourth, the Wildcats led 42-40. Early in the fourth, the Pioneers had few key turnovers that led to Warren County being in a nine-point hole with just under six minutes to play.

The Pioneers closed the game on a 13-6 run but it ultimately it wasn’t enough to give coach Fish and his squad their first win. Warren County had a missed 3-pointer with 56 seconds left that could've been the game winner and also tried to make a desperation full-court run in the final three seconds, but the clock expired before senior Kaden Rutledge could fire up a potential game winner.

After the game, the WCSA caught up with Fish and got his thought on how proud he was of his team. “I thought we showed a lot of resilience tonight. We dug ourselves in a hole late after they hit a couple shots and we had a couple turnovers, but we never stopped grinding," said Fish. "We finished on a 13-6 run to end the game. I wish it would’ve been 15 but at the same time these guys they just won't be quitting on anyone, they won't quit on their school, or their teammates, or this community and that's what we want. Yes, it's just a game but at the same time there were life lessons taught, and resilience is something a lot of kids don’t have these days. Most of them want to shut down and quit but inside that's not what we are about.”

Treyton Terry finished with 14 points against Tullahoma (Painted Barn Media)

Warren County has played a tough schedule up to this point in the Hall of Champions preseason. The Pioneers matched up with teams like Ravenwood and region opponent Bradley Central, with the early tests making this team tough. “We are just gonna keep grinding and finding the positives in it”, said Fish. “We don't ever talk about losing - we either win or we learn. We just got to turn the bad into good.”

On Friday, Fish will lead his team into Dekalb County - his old stomping grounds - to take on a really good Tiger team. Warren County is no stranger to going into Smithville and winning as the Pioneers have beaten the Tigers 14 straight times but the Tigers have the best squad they’ve had in a really long time.

“It's gonna be packed,” said Fish, who was the head coach of DeKalb girls for many years before taking the Warren County job. “I'm not sure if there will be boo birds or not, at the same time it’s gonna be a big game for them. This is the best team they’ve had in about 10 years.” The Tigers are 0-1 in the regular season following a loss to Cannon County at the buzzer on Tuesday night.

Tip-off tonight is set for 7:30 p.m.

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