The White County Warriors started 2023 with a matchup with the Stone Memorial Panthers, on Jan. 3. The Panthers are a strong team who came into the game with a (12-2) record with their only losses being to Cookeville in overtime and to a strong Maryville team in tournament play. Coach Eric Mitchell and the Warriors knew they would be in for a battle, especially in the Panthers’ home gym.
People often say, “It’s not how you start but how you finish that matters.” In the case of Jan. 3 game, the Warriors started well and finished well, but the middle portion of the game left a lot to be desired. The Warriors had a lead after one quarter, 11-8, on the strength of two Thomas Brock 3-pointers and a couple of nice Thomas Paul drives. Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter, but the Warriors where only able to muster 4 points and went into the half with a total of 15 points and trailed by 4.
The second half saw the Warriors come out as cold as ice. Nothing would go in the basket. The Warriors made two baskets in the quarter, one with five minutes left and one with one minute left in the quarter. The score after three was 34-21 in favor of the home team.
The Warriors would score as many points in the final quarter as they did in the rest of the game. The Panthers also got hot in the final quarter and pulled away for a 57-42 victory.
Thomas Brock and Thomas Paul were the only Warriors to score in double figures as Brock had 11 and Paul had 10. The Panthers will have to make their way to Sparta, on Jan. 27. Make no mistake, the Warriors will be looking for pay back in Roy Sewell Gymnasium.
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