Report by Wes Gwaltney
A season that many thought would never happen and unlike any other year than we’ve ever seen would come to a close for the Batesville Pioneers Friday night in the first round of the 5A East District Tournament.
The Pioneers would enter the ballgame with a tough task ahead of them as they would be seeded seventh in the conference to the second-seeded Patriots in the first-round matchup.
From the opening tip, the Pioneers would come out swinging and would trade buckets with the Patriots keeping the game close at the end of the first quarter 11-8.
The athleticism and depth of Marion would become a bit too much for the Pioneers in the second as the baskets just wouldn’t fall and the Patriots would take a 27-13 lead into the halftime break.
The offense would find its footing out of the intermission, but the Patriots would continue to knock down a plethora of baskets and would extend their lead to 46-28 at the end of the third frame.
The Pioneers would show a lot of heart in the final frame, but the scoring barrage of Marion was just too much to overcome as the Pioneers would fall by a final of 66-39.
Leading the way for the Pioneers was two Seniors in double digits as Kyrese Johnson and John Paul Morgan would account for ten points apiece, Juniors Logan McSpadden and John Thomas Morgan would add six, Seniors Ben Hopper and Austin Scott would have three and two respectively and Freshman Caden Griffin would end with a point.
With the loss, the Pioneers end their season at a final record of 12-11 which included a conference win over Greene County Tech, which was the first win over the Eagles in likely a decade or more, nine non-conference victories including one against 3A contender Valley Springs and the return of the Pioneers to the 5A East for basketball since the 2017-18 season.
The Lady Pioneers will continue their District tournament run Monday night after clinching a spot in state Thursday as they will host the number five seeded Marion Lady Patriots at Pioneer Gymnasium with tipoff set for 7 p.m.