The gym at White County Middle School began to fill up early, on Nov. 29, 2021. Whenever a team from Cookeville comes to Sparta, there always seems to be a little more excitement, a few more nerves, and a passion to win that only comes with a rivalry. It would be a long night of basketball, as four games would be played between the two schools.
The first game of the night saw the Junior Varsity Warriorettes face off against the Prescott Lady Bulldogs. The Sparta girls got off to a fast start and took a 6-0 lead. Afterward the Prescott girls got on the board with a single point from a free throw. The Warriorettes pushed the lead to 9-1 on a deep three-pointer by Cassidy Reed. WCMS continued to dominate the first half of play and led 14-1 at half-time. The Lady Bulldogs came out with much more energy in the second half and put up a fight, but the home team was able to hold on for a 17-12 win. Reed and Sanders both had four points in the game. Angell had three points, and Floyd, Swindell, and Burke all scored two points.
The second game of the night had the Junior Varsity Warriors taking on a very strong team from Prescott. The Bulldogs would jump out to a quick 5-0 lead with strong inside play and good outside shooting. The Warriors would battle but trailed the Bulldogs 8-16 at half-time. The Bulldogs would score the first seven points coming out of half-time, pushing their lead to 23-8. The younger Warriors continued to fight, however. Jack Carpenter caught fire from long range and nailed three three-pointers in about a minute’s time. The comeback effort fell short, and the Warriors were defeated by a score of 36-25. Carpenter led the JV Warriors with 11 points. Smith added six. Seibers and Dowell had three points, and Walker had two.
The Varsity Warriorettes and Lady Bulldogs took center stage in the third game of the night. From the opening tip the Lady Bulldogs came out aggressive on both ends of the court. They used a lot of full court pressure and forced the Warriorettes into several turnovers. There seemed to be a lid on the Warriorette basket as shots that normally fell were not going in. The frustration was obvious for both the coaches and players, but they kept playing hard. The final score of the game was 45-27 in favor of the Lady Bulldogs. Winningham led the Warriorettes with 11 points. Fox had seven points. Haley and Selby had three points apiece. Burke scored two and Grasty had one point.
The night culminated with coach Mark Sims’ Warriors taking on the Bulldogs in varsity action. The Warriors came out playing an aggressive brand of basketball. Strong drives by Cole Sims and Exavior Gamblin produced points. The Warrior also got good post play from Mason Steele and JG Wallace. Tucker Pinion was steady with the ball in his hand. The Bulldogs tried to use a full court press on the Warriors, but the Sparta boys had no problem with the pressure, and it led to easy baskets. The score was 27-17 in favor of the Warriors at half-time. The Bulldogs tried to make a run in the second half, but every attempt would be met by a response from the Warriors. The final score of the game was 47-36. After the game, Coach Sims expressed his pride in his team’s effort, calling the game a “good win.” Cole Sims led the team with 17 points on the night. Gamblin added nine points. Philips had seven. Wallace had six. Underwood had three. Steele had two and Pinion had one.
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