WHO WILL BE THE NEXT PRINCIPAL AT WARREN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL?

After reading James Clark’s editorial entitled “It’s one really challenging job,” there was one glaring omission –- there was no mention of the man who made the changes at the high school. What about Dr. Grant Swallows, Warren County’s Director of Schools who orchestrated the changes? 

Why did Dr. Swallows make the change, and what does he hope to create with the change? Swallows came to Warren County after serving as the head principal at White County High School in Sparta. Obviously, Dr. Swallows knows a great deal about what he wants in a high school principal.

The head and assistant principal positions are now open at the high school. I am confident there will be several good candidates applying for the job from within and outside the Warren County school system. There are over 400 high schools in Tennessee and over 24,000 high schools in the United States. 

Warren County has principals at schools in its system who would be excellent high school head principals. There are teachers and central office staff who could fill head and assistant principal positions at the high school. There are also talented potential candidates who do not work within the Warren County school system but live in Warren County. There are many principals across the state who have excellent skills and experience who may want to become next head principal at Warren County High School. 

Parents and citizens of Warren County should be encouraged by the fact Dr. Grant Swallows had the courage to make a change, and there are many reasons to trust his judgement. As Dr. Swallows stated recently, “Change is hard.” Swallows also said, “This change is meant to help our district and our high school meet some of the unique challenges that persist in this current environment.”

I have confidence in Dr. Grant Swallows to make the best choices for Warren County’s school system, and I wish him and the School Board all the best in making positive changes for our children’s education.

SPRINGTIME BECAME C.J. TAYLOR’S TIME TO SHINE AT VANDERBILT

C.J. Taylor has chosen one of his favorite numbers to put on his jersey this year, No. 13.

Rising sophomore C.J. Taylor went into Vanderbilt’s Black and Gold Spring Game this past Saturday with the mindset of making plays, and he made a big one in the opening defensive series of the game. C.J. was playing outside linebacker and blitzed in the B gap on the fourth offensive play of the game, and he tackled the running back behind the line of scrimmage. It was a play that highlighted how McMinnville’s Mr. Football has made a big impression this spring on Vanderbilt’s football coaches.

Defense was Black in the Black and Gold game that ended in a 32-32 tie between the defense and offense (White). No. 13 C.J. Taylor covered a lot of ground from his outside linebacker position.

DEFENSIVE COACHES PRAISE C.J.

Linebacker coach Nick Lezynski said after the game that C.J. had progressed this spring. Lezynski said, “He grew up and matured as a player. He played with intensity and great effort. This spring we had to tell C.J. to hold back a couple of times because he was thumping dudes. He sets a tone for physicality and that was on display this spring.”

Linebacker coach Nick Lezynski joined the Vanderbilt Football staff earlier this year. Lezynski walked onto the Notre Dame football team in 2007, and he later coached at Notre Dame with Vanderbilt head coach Clark Lea, who was then Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator.

Vanderbilt’s defensive coordinator, Nick Howell said, “I really just got to know him through this spring ball. My impression is that he is a good football player. He has a knack for the ball. He is physical. He plays fast. A really good player.”

C.J. Taylor after the game with teammate, No. 3, Quincy Skinner, Jr., a wide receiver from Florida.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

C.J. Taylor is living up to the Mr. Football TSSAA 6A award he won as a Warren County Pioneer in 2020. Vanderbilt head coach Clark Lea spoke to the crowd over the stadium PA system at halftime. Lea emphasized his gratitude for fans showing up, and he said, “We are on a long journey to build a strong team.” There was no doubt when spring practice ended on Saturday that C.J. had successfully embarked on his collegiate football journey with the Commodores.

Head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores, Clark Lea after the Black and Gold game.

POTENTIAL FOR C.J. TO START THIS FALL

Both coaches were asked about the prospect of C.J. starting this fall on defense. Linebacker coach Nick Lezynski said, “There is a chance C.J. will start this fall. We compete every day. He ran with the ones a lot this spring, and he got a good opportunity to put himself on display. Like we say all the time, one day, one life. As a linebacker you’ve got one day to prove yourself.”

Defensive coordinator Nick Howell commented on C.J.’s potential to start this fall. Howell said, “We will evaluate everyone together (as coaches), and we will put the best players on the field. C.J. had a good spring. He is doing well. He has put himself into a position where he can help us. He plays fast. I don’t know how fast he is, but he has a lot of instincts. There is a place for him in different packages that we have where he can play fast and use his skill set.”

BD NEWSLETTER INTERVIEW WITH C.J. TAYLOR

Fans came onto the field after the Black and Gold game. One fan from Heritage got to wear C.J.’s helmet and got his autograph.

BD NEWSLETTER INTERVIEW WITH C.J. TAYLOR

BD How was your freshman year?

C.J. I have been running with the ones for the past two weeks. It felt good because I put a lot of work in. I’ve been studying a lot of film. I am glad that I am getting a reward from it. It’s a good experience.

BD What will you do this summer?

C.J. This summer I will be in Miami on the beach, working in the sand. That’s the plan. I will be back on campus June 5.

BD How has the conditioning, weight-training gone?

C.J. The conditioning, weight-training has gone well. I am feeling good. I am up to 208. A lot of speed and conditioning down there in the sand, in Miami.

BD What was the most challenging part of your freshman year?

C.J. My hand injury. Not being able to play due to that, not being able to catch up with the playbook hurt me a lot. I have never been sitting on the bench or anything like that, and it took a lot of pride. Took a lot of my pride.

C.J. Taylor and Vanderbilt linebackers and staff after the Black and Gold Game, Saturday, April 16.

BD Did you miss any classes this spring and forced to run the regatta?

C.J. I did have to do a regatta last week. It was a miscommunication, so I have done that (the regatta).

BD What do you think about the prospect of starting this fall?

C.J. When you wake up, there is no decision to be made. If you want to play, you have to come to work. If not, you will get your spot taken.

BD Where do you hang out in town and on campus?

C.J. I am always in my dorm. I hang out with my friends in the new dorm.

BD Anything you want to say to the people in McMinnville?

C.J. I hope I make you all proud, and this is for you all.

Mary Humphrey who cheered for C.J. and the Warren County Pioneers now cheers for the Commodores as a member of the dance team while attending Lipscomb University.

BED SHEET FUNDRAISER

60-SECOND VIDEO THAT ILLUSTRATES WHY ORDER FORMS AND COLLECTING MONEY ARE NOT NECESSARY WITH THE MONEYDOLLY APP.

Brad Durham Fundraising has 22 years of service to athletic teams and schools, and in 2022, we are offering bed sheets as a fundraiser. We are using the MoneyDolly app which has the most powerful technology in fundraising.

There are 14 colors to choose from and six sizes. The sheets come with a 100% manufacturer’s guarantee. Your team, group or school can start this fundraiser immediately.

THE SIZES AND COLORS

6 Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Full, Twin and Twin XL.

14 Colors: Aqua, Black, Burgundy, Chocolate Brown, Creme, Dark Creme, Eggplant, Gold/Camel, Grey, Navy Blue, Pale Pink, Sage, Silver and White.

THE COST AND PROFITS

The suggested donation price is $45.00, which will include Tennessee state sales tax. Your profit is $17 (40% of $42.50). Your cost is $26.50. Sales tax is $2.48 (.0975% of $25.50 — hard cost).

ASK ABOUT OUR HOME-DELIVERY OPTION AND PRICING. No one uses an order form, collects money or delivers the bed sheets with this option.

DONATION-ONLY OPTION

We also offer a donation option on the MoneyDolly app, which appears below. Your school will receive 80% of the straight monetary donations. The donor will have bedsheets to choose from — or a straight donation. Donors who purchase bedsheets will also be given the opportunity to to donate money to your school or team after the purchase.

SCHOOLS AND TEAMS MAKE 80% OF DONATIONS.

WHAT WE PROVIDE

MoneyDolly has the most powerful technology in the fundraising industry. The MoneyDolly app eliminates all paper order forms and handling of money. That is right — NO PAPER ORDER FORMS. Every fundraising detail is located on each student’s smart phones.

Each student and teacher will be able to customize their profile on the DollyMoney app with a personal photo. This app is not only convenient and efficient, it will change the way you will want to fundraise now and in the future.

WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE

We will help you kick off your fundraiser. Your sheets will be sent to you within 7–10 business days after the fundraiser ends.

You will be able to monitor the fundraising with the MoneyDolly app in real time. This makes promoting your fundraiser with the pinpoint energy that will increase your results. At the end of the fundraiser, you will receive a Summary Report detailing each student and teacher’s transaction. Soon after the fundraiser concludes, you will receive a check for your fundraising profits.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FUNDRAISERS AND TO GET STARTED….

CONTACT: Brad Durham, (615) 838–4426 CELL & TEXT; EMAIL brad412@benlomand.net

Each student will be given one of these fliers at the kickoff of the fundraiser.

GEORGIA PEACH FUNDRAISING MADE EASY AND HASSLE-FREE WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY

Straight from the farm to your school.
A 60-second introduction to the MoneyDolly app and how no order forms are necessary.

Brad Durham Fundraising has 23 years of service to athletic teams and schools, and in 2022, we are offering easy, hassle-free fundraising options with the MoneyDolly app. Selling Georgia Peaches as a fundraiser has never been easier.. The Georgia Peaches are shipped directly from the farm to your school.

FRESH GEORGIA PEACHES PRICING AND SCHOOL/TEAM PROFIT

9 POUND BOX OF PEACHES $26.99 donation
40% — 50% SCHOOL PROFIT

The suggested donation price for an 8–8 lb. box is $26.99 and Tennessee sales tax ($2.63) for a total of $29.62.

SCHOOL – TEAM PROFIT

School/team profit is 50% ($13.50) if you sell over 300 boxes. If you sell less than 300 boxes, your profit will be 40% ($10.80).

DONATION-ONLY OPTION

We also offer a Donation option, which appears below. Your school will receive 80% of the straight monetary donations. The donor will have Georgia Peaches to choose from — or a straight donation. Donors who purchase a box of Georgia Peaches will also be given the opportunity to donate money to your school or team after the purchase.

DONATION-ONLY OPTION

We also offer a Donation option, which appears below. Your school will receive 80% of the straight monetary donations. The donor will have Georgia Peaches to choose from — or a straight donation. Donors who purchase a box of Georgia Peaches will also be given the opportunity to donate money to your school or team after the purchase.

School/team makes 80% of all donations.

WHAT WE PROVIDE

The most powerful technology in the fundraising industry. The MoneyDolly app eliminates all order forms and handling money. That is right — NO PAPER ORDER FORMS.

Each student and teacher/coach will be able to customize their profile on the MoneyDolly app with their photo. This app is not only convenient and efficient, it will change the way you will want to fundraise now and in the future.

TIMELINE FOR FUNDRAISING AND DELIVERY OF THE GEORGIA PEACHES (May — July)

The fundraiser should start in May. We will provide you with everything you need to get started on the MoneyDolly app and sell Georgia Peaches. Deliveries will be on Thursdays in July.

WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE

You will be able to monitor the fundraising with the MoneyDolly app in real time. This makes promoting your fundraising with the pinpoint energy that will increase your results. At the end of the fundraiser, you will receive a Summary Report detailing each student and teacher’s transactions. Soon after the fundraiser ends, you will receive a check for your fundraising profits.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FUNDRAISERS AND TO GET STARTED….

CONTACT:

Brad Durham (615) 838–4426 CELL & TEXT; EMAIL brad412@benlomand.net

CUSTOMIZED T-SHIRT AND HOODIE FUNDRAISING MADE EASY WITH THE MONEYDOLLY APP

A 60-second video that illustrates how the MoneyDolly makes fundraiser easier.

No order forms are necessary. Everything will take place on a smartphone with the MoneyDolly app. High-quality customized Gildan T-Shirts and Hoodies are available for a fundraiser with the most powerful technology in the fundraising industry. Your logo will go on the T-Shirt or Hoodie for the fundraiser.

VIRTUAL DEMO SAMPLE

PRICING AND SIZES 

(Tennessee state sales tax will be added to pricing.)

Sizes are from Small to XXXL. XXL and XXL sizes are a few dollars more.

Prices for white and grey T-Shirts range from a suggested donation of $20 – $23.

Team profit for White or Grey T-Shirts is $10 (50%).

Prices for White Hoodies range from $40 – $43.

Team profit for White Hoodies is $18 (45% – 42%).

Prices for Grey Hoodies range from $42 to $45.

Team profit for Grey Hoodies is $19 (45% – 42%)

DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT Gildan T-SHIRTS AND HOODIES

T-Shirts:

  • 5.3 oz
  • 100% US cotton preshrunk jersey knit
  • Classic mid-weight fabric
  • Non-topstitched 7/8″ rib collar
  • Taped neck and shoulders
  • Double-needle sleeves and bottom hem
  • Classic fit tubular body
  • New grey razor label (transitioning from grey pearlized tear away label)

Hoodies:

  • 8 oz
  • 50% US cotton/50% polyester preshrunk fleece knit
  • Spun yarn for softer feel and reduced pilling
  • Double-lined hood with color-matched drawcord
  • Double-needle stitching at shoulders, armholes, neck, waistband and cuffs
  • Double-needle pouch pocket for added reinforcement
  • 1×1 rib with spandex for enhanced stretch and recovery
  • Classic fit tubular body
  • New grey razor label (transitioning from grey pearlized tear away label)

LADY PIONEERS IN THEIR OWN WORDS: FINAL INTERVIEW – SABLE WINFREE

Sable Winfree returned this past season as the Lady Pioneers’ starting point guard in her sophomore year after being named Freshman of the Year in Warren County’s district a year earlier.

I experienced an unusual introduction to Sable Winfree during her freshman season. When I started following Warren County athletics intensely two years ago, I had virtually no knowledge of who was on the teams. One night I was covering Eastside elementary basketball, and a fifth-grader, Sarah Kate Winfree scored something like 24 or 26 points. I interviewed her, and was surprised at how articulate and willing Sarah Kate was in helping me report about her game. Well, the next night, her sister Sable Winfree was the polar opposite after Warren County’s game.

Sable Winfree was exiting the basketball court after the game, and I approached her. I said something like, “Hey, you have a younger sister Sally Kate (I am terrible at remembering names), and she scored 26 points last night. Can you answer a few questions about your game tonight?” Sable replied with a facial expression I was very familiar with — my daughter gave me the same look often when she was in high school. Sable said, “No, and that’s not her name!” And Sable walked away.

That interaction stopped me in my tracks. I immediately knew that I had received the same look my daughter had given me countless times when she wanted me to know how stupid I was. Well, I had messed up Sable’s sister’s name, and it was clear that Sable had no interest in talking to me. I had a dilemma…I was a sports reporter for the local newspaper, and I thought I had stumbled upon an interesting story of a family full of exceptional athletes. How was I going to get this freshman to talk to me? Consequently, I was determined to try and redeem myself, and to get to know more about the Winfree family.

But I digress…the real appeal with Sable Winfree is her basketball performance. I love her personality and her family; furthermore, she is a great part of the Lady Pioneers’ story. Night after night her freshman season, it was exciting to see how such a young athlete could do so well as a point guard on a varsity team. This season her teammates matured and developed, and collectively they made the impressive run to win over 20 games after losing over 20 games just two seasons ago. Personally, I think the heart of Sable Winfree is a major factor in the Lady Pioneers’ recent success.

I am grateful that several members of the Lady Pioneers basketball team participated in interviews for this series of articles about the team. I am always surprised when Sable Winfree communicates with me when I know she thinks I don’t know what I am talking about regarding basketball. Listening to head coach Anthony Lippe and the five players who started down the stretch of this past season helped me understand what makes this team special. I hope some of the the players’ personalities and love for the game came through in these interviews.

And now, the final interview in this series with the floor commander of the Lady Pioneers, point guard Sable Winfree.

Sable Winfree, No. 10 during a timeout with teammates. Left is Lex Verge, No. 35, right is Sydney Burger, No. 44 and Kennedi Pegg, No. 12.

BD Newsletter: How would you compare your sophomore year to your freshman year individually?
SABLE WINFREE: I felt like coming back as a sophomore I knew a little bit more of what I would be playing against, and I knew the game better. I had some experience, whereas playing as a freshman it was my first year and I had to kind of figure everything out.

BD Newsletter: How was this year’s team different?
SABLE WINFREE: After last season ended, we all got together as a team and agreed that we wanted to make it as far as possible this year. Everyone improved over the summer with this goal in mind. When we came back, everyone was on the same page and just wanted to win. No one was worried about who scored or who played as long as we won. We played as a team this year, and that’s what made us so successful. 

Sable Winfree helped raise the competitive spirit of the Lady Pioneers as a young freshman and sophomore the past two seasons.

BD Newsletter: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being almost painful and 10 being maximum discomfort, how much discomfort did you have with injuries this season? Please list them, knee, back, etc.
SABLE WINFREE: I would say like an 8. I had my back injury still from last year start to bother me, and then in a game against Franklin, I went up for a last shot and hyper extended my knee — taking me out for a week or so. I would have to say this year was probably my worst for injuries. I mean, I don’t think there was one game where I didn’t end up on the floor.

BD Newsletter: How did you feel when the season ended?
SABLE WINFREE: I was upset that we couldn’t go farther, but I’m glad that we went as far as we did. I really will miss playing with Jaden and the bond that we had after playing together

BD Newsletter: What do you see as the strengths of next year’s team? It’s weaknesses?
SABLE WINFREE: I feel like next year our strengths will be the fact that we’re stacked in guards. We have Shelby, Kyra and Mia, but we’ll also have Savannah and Stick (Brienne Kelsey) coming in. We will definitely be a hard team to guard with all the speed. But I feel like our weakness will definitely be our height and the fact that we don’t have a true 5. But I think with all the speed, it won’t matter that much if we get them in transition.


BD Newsletter: How do you think high school basketball has affected you, the team, the school and town?
SABLE WINFREE: I think high school basketball has definitely humbled me since middle school. Playing in high school has definitely given me more confidence, and I owe most of that to coach Lippe who helped show me how to be a good leader, better athlete and a good teammate. I don’t think anyone in Warren County would think they would see girls basketball get farther than the boys, but I think it’s deserved with how hard we worked and how much time everyone has put into the team. Girls basketball has been so underestimated in Warren County for so long; so, I’m really excited to finally see us get some of the spotlight.

Sable Winfree played hurt and with a lot heart in games this past season. She has endless energy on the court, and was hurt before this foul shot at Coffee County.

BD Newsletter: One more question, what will you work on during the offseason?
SABLE WINFREE: I have already started to work on my left. I would love to come back and have both hands. I also was planning on working on my shot and stamina. I feel like if I get that down, that would put me a step ahead.

A rare moment when Sable Winfree was not active on the court.

LADY PIONEERS BASKETBALL IN THEIR OWN WORDS: PART 5 – SHELBY SMARTT

Shelby Smartt is a gutsy player who fires up shots from many angles and many places on the court.

The first time I fully realized what an intense competitor Shelby Smartt had become occurred at a Hall of Fame game against Notre Dame High School in Whitwell this past season. The game was very close and there was a lot of contact. Late in the game, it felt as though Shelby Smartt personally decided that Warren County was not going to lose. She made key shot after shot, and Shelby was the difference in that game down the stretch.

Shelby Smartt will find a way to get to the basket when the Lady Pioneers need some points. She has made many 3-pointers when Warren County needed a big basket. There are times in a game when there appears to be no chance of Shelby making a shot, but she consistently finds a way to put points on the board. As the photos demonstrate, she often shoots off balance and fights through defenders.

Shelby Smartt will bring a lot of experience and toughness to the team next year. She has been a vital part of the turnaround in the Lady Pioneer program the past two seasons. Shelby is the type of hard-working player who never stops working hard to improve, and she gives 100% each minute she is in a game.

BD Newsletter: How would you compare this season to last season for you personally?

SHELBY SMARTT: This season I think everyone as a whole clicked a lot better. We played as a true team would, even when adversity hit. As to my sophomore season, we hadn’t found our groove yet.

BD Newsletter: How was this year’s team different than last year’s team?

SHELBY SMARTT: This year’s team was different because everyone put in work during the off season and got better and improved their game. Not only did we improve physically we improved mentally, we are no longer a young team so we’re pretty familiar with the varsity level now. We definitely matured.

There is a lot of contact in basketball, and Shelby Smartt had more than her share of contact this past season.

BD Newsletter: Did you have any injuries or sickness this season? If you did, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being virtually no pain and 10 being maximum discomfort, how much of a discomfort were injuries?

SHELBY SMARTT: My first injury was my back. If I had to rate the pain of it, it would have been at least a 7. Next was my wrist. I’d say the pain at first was pretty bad, but it eased up fairly quickly. I’d rate it a 6. Last was my shoulder. I’d say this one has been the worst one of the season. I’d rate it a 9 or 10 considering I’m still having some issues with it.


BD Newsletter: How did you feel when the season ended?
SHELBY SMARTT: I was upset when the season ended. I wasn’t ready for it to be over, I wanted to continue making history for the Lady Pioneer program this year. But looking back at everything the team accomplished this year…it made me proud to be a part of something that started out with no foundation and now has respect.

Junior Shelby Smartt would move into the point guard position when Sable Winfree was not in the game.

BD Newsletter: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses on next year’s team?

SHELBY SMARTT: Almost all our girls will be back next season. We’ve played against some of the best teams in the state and hung with them; so, I think if we stay confident and don’t underestimate anyone, we’ll be even better next year. And girls are consistently getting better each year; so our strengths are definitely the fact that we know each other’s playing styles now and we are gonna work on our game during the offseason. We’re gonna work on our weaknesses now so we will improve them before the next season.

BD Newsletter: How do you think high school basketball affects you personally, the team, the school and the town?

SHELBY SMARTT: Being a student athlete can be hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Basketball brought me close to girls I may have never talked to before and I love my team. They truly are my best friends, and I know I can count on them for anything, just like they can count on me. This year in particular people actually started showing up to the girls games and they started respecting our program. It made us all feel good to have our community there to support us through wins and losses.

Shelby Smartt was a very high percentage free throw shooter this past season for Warren County.


BD Newsletter: What will you work on during the offseason?

SHELBY SMARTT: During the offseason I’m gonna work on every aspect of my game not just one specific thing. I want to be an all-around player for my team next year.

BD Newsletter: How did it feel to be named all-region this season?

SHELBY SMARTT: It feels really good, couldn’t have done it without my team. All the credit goes to them.

LADY PIONEERS BASKETBALL IN THEIR OWN WORDS: PART 4 – KYRA PERKINS

Kyra Perkins has the ability to play any position on the basketball court, and she deserved the awards she won this past season. Perkins has been a major reason the Lady Pioneers basketball program transitioned from losing 20 games a season to winning over 20 games a season over the past three years.

Kyra Perkins has basketball skills and personality. She has both an outside and inside game. When she gets hot, her 3-point shot is nothing but net. I remember a game during her sophomore year at Rhea County when Kyra was in the “zone” and made several 3-point shots. The entire team shot well that night, but I thought she jump-started the shooting streak. She is a fiery competitor who often is the most exciting player to watch on the court.

Kyra Perkins has loads of talent. She gets fouled a lot in games. She can get emotional. Her energy helps make her a very competitive basketball player. It will be interesting to see how she progresses to her senior season in the next school year. She was named MVP of a couple tournaments this past season, and she was named all-district and all-region. Kyra Perkins has a bright future in basketball.

Kyra Perkins was one of the the Lady Pioneers who often battled for rebounds against taller opponents.

BD Newsletter: How would you compare this season to last season for you personally?

KYRA PERKINS: This year we were more patient on both sides of the court and we let our defense create our offense. 

BD Newsletter: How was this year’s team different than last year’s team?
KYRA PERKINS: We’re more experienced and more mature.

BD Newsletter: Did you have any injuries or sickness this season? If you did, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being virtually no pain and 10 being maximum discomfort, how much of a discomfort were injuries?

KYRA PERKINS: 3-4 being the worst pain I’ve had dealing with a foot injury during the beginning of the season.

Kyra Perkins wants the Lady Pioneers to be district champions before she graduates.

BD Newsletter: How did you feel when the season ended?
KYRA PERKINS: I was upset because we didn’t want the season to end how it did but we know how to play in the semi-finals now we have experience for next year.

BD Newsletter: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses on next year’s team?
KYRA PERKINS: A strength is we’re getting most of our players back, and one of our weaknesses is when things don’t go our way, we just have to keep playing aggressive and not give up. 

BD Newsletter: How do you think high school basketball affects you personally, the team, the school and the town?
KYRA PERKINS: We’ve brought this program where it hasn’t been in a very long time and the community knows that so they’re finally coming out to support us.

Playing against taller, bigger opponents was a challenge all season, and Kyra Perkins raised her inside game to help the height-challenged Lady Pioneers.

BD Newsletter: What will you work on during the offseason?
KYRA PERKINS: This off season I’ll be playing AAU, I’ll be running track, and going to trainers to improve my outside and inside game.

BD Newsletter: How did it feel to be named all-region this season?

KYRA PERKINS: It feels good.

LADY PIONEERS BASKETBALL IN THEIR OWN WORDS: PART 3 – MIA HOBBS

Mia Hobbs can play a lot of positions for the Lady Pioneers, and her willingness to play different positions is a testament of her devotion to her team.

Junior Mia Hobbs is the quintessential team player. Opposing coaches have stated that she is a good outside shooter, yet this past season, she moved more inside to help her team. One thing that has stood out about Mia Hobbs is that she rarely makes mistakes. She also does a lot of work on the court that doesn’t make the highlight reels, but her contribution makes a major difference in the game. Hobbs is excellent at disrupting opposing teams defensively.

The Lady Pioneers are difficult to contain with a full court press, and Mia can easily switch to her natural guard position to help get the ball down court. In every game this past season, Hobbs was reliable at the free throw line. Her consistency made a difference. Hobbs is mature beyond her years on the court. She has a very high emotional intelligence. Similar to many competitive athletes, she never lets anyone know if she is frustrated or disappointed. She is a player who provides the glue that holds a team together.

BD Newsletter: How would you compare this season to last season for you personally?

Mia Hobbs: This season, personally, my role changed drastically. I had to play the “four” most of the time this season, which meant I had to work on my rebounding skills and attacking the basket more.

Hobbs was all over the court this past season, and she played against taller players often in the paint.

BD Newsletter: How was this year’s team different than last year’s team?
Mia Hobbs: This team was different from last year’s team because our starting five and some of our bench all had experience from prior years. When we were put in close end-game situations, our team knew the most effective decisions to make, and I just don’t believe our players got that experience in years past.

BD Newsletter: Did you have any injuries or sickness this season? If you did, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being virtually no pain and 10 being maximum discomfort, how much of a discomfort were injuries?
Mia Hobbs: Throughout the season, I thankfully never experienced any injuries.

Mia Hobbs was composed on and off the court, often giving support and encouragement to her teammates.

BD Newsletter: How did you feel when the season ended?
Mia Hobbs: When the season ended, I was disappointed because I felt like we didn’t end on the right note. Obviously, we didn’t play our best game against Bradley Central, but I was still proud of our team as a whole and what we accomplished during the season. 

BD Newsletter: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses on next year’s team?
Mia Hobbs: A few strengths of next year’s team will be: returning 4 of our 5 starters, defense, rebounding, and speed. A weakness is our lack of height. 

BD Newsletter: What will you work on during the offseason?
Mia Hobbs: During the offseason, I plan on playing AAU and working on my all-around game; however, I would like to specifically work on my offensive skills: shooting, ball-handling, and attacking the rim effectively. 

Hobbs was often driving to the hoop in her new role as a “four.”

BD Newsletter: How do you think high school basketball affects you personally, the team, the school and the town?byi JV
Mia Hobbs: High school basketball affects me personally by creating unforgettable memories and bonds that I will cherish forever. It affects our team by giving us something to do, and we all look forward to being around each other almost every day. One of the best feelings is a packed gym, knowing your school and community are there to support you through it all. Over the past few years, I don’t think girls’ high school basketball affected our school or community. However, over the past two years, we have worked hard as a program to gain respect from our school and community.

Mia Hobbs went against taller opponents often, and in this game, she helped the Lady Pioneers defeat Cleveland with her defense for a regional victory at home.

LADY PIONEERS BASKETBALL IN THEIR OWN WORDS: PART 2 – JADEN SMARTT

When I think of a tough Warren County high school athlete during the past year, Jaden Smartt is the first person I think of…and that includes football. Playing with an injured knee is one thing, but continuing to play on it when it keeps providing exceptional pain is another thing. Seeing Jaden Smartt take punishment in two sports, soccer and basketball, was inspiring. She never quit.

There are a few other things that I see in Jaden Smartt the athlete. Intelligence. She always knew what to do, was in the right position. Determination. She never backed away from contact or intense moments in a game. She was very productive at the foul line when it really counted. Humor. She is witty and can say funny things before practices and after games. Spirit. Jaden Smartt always had team spirit and was the ultimate team player who put her ego aside and did her job in a game.

One more characteristic. Articulate. Exhibit A is her answers to my questions below.

Jaden Smartt was focused and all business whenever she was in a game.

BD Newsletter: How would you describe your basketball career? Your senior season?

Jaden Smartt: Basketball has brought me to highs that I did not even know existed. I have made so many lifelong friendships on every team I have played on. I have also learned so much from all of my many coaches throughout the years. They not only taught me how to be a quality player, but also how to be a better person off the court. My senior season has been so special. This team is so amazing and I know they will continue to make Warren County proud. We achieved so many milestones this year, and it proves that the hard work we have put in over the years has paid off. 

Jaden Smartt was tenacious on the court, whether it was fighting for possession of the ball or driving to the hoop., and always put her total effort into each moment.


BD Newsletter: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being no discomfort and 10 being maximum discomfort, how uncomfortable was your injured knee this season?

Jaden Smartt: My level of discomfort with my injured knee this season was a 4. This group of girls and coaches made it so easy to go through the pain because of how hard they worked. Special shout-out to Trainer Tim, Zach Sutton, and Dr. Brown for always encouraging me and working with me so I could complete my basketball season. 

BD Newsletter:  What did you feel inside as you walked off the court during your final game?

Jaden Smartt: It is a bittersweet feeling. I was heartbroken because I knew I would never get to put on a Warren County jersey again. I also knew that the little girl who held a basketball for the first time and fell in love with the game would be so proud of what I have accomplished over the years. Even though my career as a Lady Pioneer is over, I am excited to see how the team continues to grow. 

BD Newsletter: What would you say is the team’s greatest strength? What should the team work on in the offseason?

Jaden Smartt: This team is so special in so many ways. The amount of effort given day in and day out is the teams greatest strength. It is guaranteed that they will give everything it takes and work hard. They are very aggressive on offense and defense. This team is also very close. You spend so much time together that you become like family. I am excited to see how they grow individually and as a team during the off-season. 

Jaden Smartt always had the “eye of the tiger’ in games.



BD Newsletter: How did this season change how you feel about the contribution high school sports can make for someone on a team? The school? The town?

Jaden Smartt: High school sports have definitely impacted my life in so many ways. Sports have made me a more matured, self-assured version of myself. This season has given me the opportunity to lead and learn which is vital to the development of one on and off the court. Having a winning season brought more people to our games, and knowing that the school and community has our backs means so much. Sports bring communities together and seeing the support and great atmosphere in the gym can encourage younger kids to begin playing basketball too.