WCHS Warriors fall one game short of substate
Posted By Andy Southard | March 9, 2017 7:34 am
After watching The White County High School Warriors team of last year have a perfect regular season, win the 6AAA District Tournament, 6AAA Regular Season and break State 3- point records, many people came into the season not knowing what to expect out of this year Warriors team, because of the loss of four key contributors off of last year’s team.
The Warriors of 2016-17 would go on to surprise a lot of people when they won the District 6AAA tournament championship and then beat the team that upset the Warriors from a year ago in Bradley Central. But this year’s Warriors team also ended their season one game away from a substate birth. The Warriors lost a heartbreaker to the East Hamilton Hurricanes 56-52 to end their season on Feb. 28.
Pierce Whited got the Warriors going in the first quarter when he hit a 3 to get the game going and put the Warriors up 3-0. East Hamilton would answer back, though, scoring the next 4 points to take a 4-3 lead. The Warriors would answer back scoring the next 5 points to take an 8-4 lead. Whited would hit another 3, and then Thomas Dalton would get a layup. East Hamilton and the Warriors would trade baskets to make the score 10-6, but East Hamilton would end the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 13-12 lead into the second quarter.
Hunter Copeland would get the scoring started in the second quarter when he made a shot underneath the basket to give the Warriors the 14-13. Then Jared Carter would extend that lead with a 3 to put the Warriors up 17-13. But East Hamilton would answer back with a 3 of their own to cut the lead to 17-16. Malik Murray would be the next Warrior to score when he hit a layup to put the Warriors up 19-16. The Hurricanes and Warriors would trade baskets for the rest of the quarter, and the Warriors would take a 26-21 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, East Hamilton would get the scoring started when they hit a pair of free throws to cut the Warriors lead down to 26-23. Dalton would put the Warriors back up by 7 when he hit back-to-back shots to put the Warriors up 30-23. But East Hamilton would answer back with a 3 to cut the Warriors lead down to 4. After a Whited layup, East Hamilton would answer right back with a layup of their own to make the score 32-28. After East Hamilton tied the game up near the end of the third quarter at 35 all, Cole Crosland would take the ball to the basket and get fouled. He would hit a pair of free throws to put the Warriors up 37-35 at the end of three-quarters of play.
In the final quarter of the game, East Hamilton would get a basket to tie the game up at 37-37, but the Warriors would answer back scoring 5 straight points. Murray would give the Warriors the lead again when he knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Warriors up 39-37. Whited would put the Warriors up 3 when he went one of two from the free throw line to make the score 40-37. Crosland would finish it off getting a layup to put the Warriors up 42-37. But East Hamilton would answer back with 5 straight points to tie the game back up at 42.
Murray would give the Warriors the lead back when he hit a pair of free throws to put the Warriors up 44-42. East Hamilton would answer back going 3 of 4 from the free throws line to take the lead 45-42, and then they would get a layup to go up 47-44. The Warriors would get the lead down to 2 when Crosland would go one of two from the free-throw line to cut the Hurricanes lead to 47-45. East Hamilton would get a layup to extend their lead to 49-45.
But with 40 seconds left to go in the game and the Warriors down 52-48, Whited would step to the line for a pair of free throws. He would sink both of his free throws to put the Warriors down 52-50. Then on the ensuing inbounds pass, Logan Swoape would get a steal and make a pass to Crosland who would find Saylor Wilson cutting to the basket, and Wilson would make the layup to tie the game up at 52-52. But East Hamilton would make four free throws in the next 30 seconds and walk out with a hard fought 56-52 win.
With the loss, the Warriors finished the season with a 25-7 record. The Warriors will say goodbye to nine seniors: Pierce Whited, Cole Crosland, Jared Carter, Thomas Dalton, Malik Murray, Saylor Wilson, Logan Swoape, Hunter Copeland and Zack Lynn. This senior class has an overall record of 84-12 since joining the varsity team their sophomore season. They have been a part of two regular season district titles, two district tournament titles, one region tournament title, and one trip to the state tournament.
This Warrior team has gone through more adversity than any team should ever have to go through, but each time they did, they got back up and dusted themselves off and went right back to work. Though this team didn’t end their season where they ultimately wanted to, they never gave up and proved a lot of people wrong in the process.