Report and photo by Wes Gwaltney
The weather outside was ice cold, but the action was all but that Tuesday night, as both Varsity Pioneer squads would load up and take the two-hour trip east to take on the Marion Patriots in conference basketball action.
In the opener of the doubleheader, the Lady Pioneers would look to get back on the right track after suffering their first loss of the season last Friday night to Paragould against a very competitive Lady Patriot team.
There would be no slow start for the Lady Pioneers in this game, as they would put up 20 points in the opening frame and would go into the first break up 11 over Marion.
The offense would slow just slightly, but the defense would ramp up and the Lady Pioneers would once again build their lead up to 17 at the intermission.
Tacking on 16 more points in the third, the Lady Pioneers would add to an already sizable lead heading into the last frame up 52-28.
Coasting in the fourth quarter and enacting the sportsmanship clock, the Lady Pioneers would get the victory 62-38 over the Lady Patriots.
With nine Lady Pioneers accounting for points in the game, Senior Kaylee Clark would lead the team with 15 points, Senior Izzy Higginbottom would add 12, and Sophomore Kayla Ward would join them in double digits with 10 points.
With the victory, the Lady Pioneers move to (19-1) overall and (10-1) in conference play.
In the nightcap, the Pioneers would take on the number-two team in the conference in the highly ranked Marion Patriots.
The Pioneers would lead after an opening three-pointer by Caden Griffin, but the Patriots would jump ahead and stay that way for the rest of the ballgame.
With the Pioneer offense never really getting its footing, the Pioneers would see a double-digit deficit at the end of one to the Patriots 17-7.
The defense would play better in the second quarter as they would lighten the Patriots scoring, but the offense wasn’t able to take advantage as they would be outscored by four and would trail at the halftime break 29-15.
In the second half, the deficit would just be too much for the Pioneers to overcome as they would fall by a final of 56-35 to the Marion Patriots.
Leading the scoring for the second straight game was Junior Logan McSpadden with 10 points, and the Morgan brothers, Senior John Paul and Junior John Thomas would add six points apiece.
With the Pioneer loss, they fall to (12-10) overall and (3-8) in conference play.
Both varsity squads will be back in Pioneer Gymnasium Friday night in what is sure to be two very tough matchups as the Nettleton Raiders come to town with JV action getting underway at 5 p.m. and Varsity action to follow after.