Warriors avenge earlier loss against Cookeville

Photos by Nathaniel Mullins


White County and Cookeville are rivals. It doesn’t matter if the schools are playing football, basketball, softball, bowling, chess, or anything else. You don’t want to lose to the school from up the road. 

The Warriors welcomed in their biggest rival into Roy Sewell Gymnasium with revenge on their minds.  The Cavaliers had embarrassed them earlier in the season when the Warriors played in Cookeville.  The Warriors were also desperate for a win, coming off five straight losses to very good competition.  The crowd was electric. Both student sections were loud. There was great energy in the gym.  Both teams played hard.  There seemed to be a symmetry to the game. One team would score then the other. A 3-pointer by Sparta would be matched by one from Cookeville. A turnover on one end would be followed by a turnover on the other end.  The game had 14 lead changes and was played within a couple of points for most of the game.

Tripp Pinion, who happened to be celebrating his birthday, was the offensive star for the Warriors in the first quarter.  He had 6 points off of hustle plays and putbacks. Thomas Paul and Christian Henderson also scored. The Warriors would take a 13-10 lead after the first.

The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair.  Thomas Paul was very aggressive as he took the ball to the hoop time after time.  Jackson Young took advantage of some playing time and really made an impact on the game.  He hit a big 3-pointer to give White County the lead, 19-18. The Cavaliers would keep fighting despite not getting any production from their star player, Josh Heard.  The score at halftime was 28-27 in favor of the visitors from Cookeville.

The third quarter saw the teams continue to battle. Thomas Brock hit from long range.  Josh Heard hit a deep 3 for Cookeville, but Tripp Pinion would answer with a 3 of his own.  Thomas Paul made a circus shot as he was falling down after contact, giving himself an “and one” opportunity. Christian Henderson would hit a huge 3-pointer toward the end of the quarter and would give the Warriors a 43-42 lead after three quarters.

The Warriors would not be denied in the final quarter.  They kept playing hard and hitting key shots. Richmond hit a 3.  Brock hit another long shot.  Thomas Paul knocked down one shot from the secondary logo and one from the volleyball line to help extend the Warrior lead. The Cavaliers didn’t go away, and they kept fighting. However, the Warriors were able to pull away to a 66-57 victory.  The crowd went crazy as the final buzzer sounded and Coach Eric Mitchell pumped his fist in the air.  The Warriors desperately needed the victory, and they had earned a hard-fought win.

The scoring for the Warriors was as follows: Paul 22, Brock 12, Henderson 10, Pinion 8, Richmond 7, Davis 4, and Young 3.


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