South Warren claws to 4th Region title victory
Last season, South Warren claimed the 14th District title over Greenwood only to see their state tournament hopes swiped away by the Lady Gators in the 4th Region Championship.
This year, the Lady Spartans decided to flip the script.
Just one week after falling to Greenwood in the district finals, South Warren came out hot and hung around to the very end on their way to a 3-2 win (25-20, 15-25, 25-21. 17-25, 15-13) in the 4th Region finals.
Up 11-9 in a wild back-and-forth fifth set, South Warren head coach Justin Griffin called a timeout to bring his Lady Spartans back down to Earth in a rowdy environment that was the Warren East High School gym.
“I told them to just control the ball and to try to make sure that we are staying within ourselves,” Griffin said. “At the end of the day, whatever happens is going to happen. We just kept battling and we took it one play at a time. When one play is over, just move on the next one.”
Afterward, the Lady Spartans (21-19) finished the job with a 15-13 win in Set 5 to claim their third 4th Region title in the past four seasons, all of which have come in wins over the Lady Gators.
South Warren came out of the gates red-hot, building a 14-5 lead in the first set on their way to a 25-20 win in Set 1.
The Lady Gators bit back, dominating the second set in a 25-15 win to knot the match back up at 1-1.
The Lady Spartans built a 20-18 lead in the third set and held off Greenwood to claim a 25-21 victory in the set. The Lady Gators took the fourth set 25-17 before dropping the deciding fifth set.
“It was just a couple of balls that went one way and a couple of calls that went one way,” Greenwood head coach Jason Reels said. “It’s like that when two teams are fighting for their season. Hats off to South Warren; they were playing the role that we played last year. They came out with nothing to lose and gave it everything they had.”
The Lady Gators ended their season with a 33-3 record and did claim last Thursday’s 14th District Tournament with a 3-1 win (23-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-15) over the same Lady Spartans.
“Whenever I took this job, we were building a program for the long term,” Reels said. “This is one loss, but it comes down to the fact that losses like this motivate you. You learn a lot about your team, about your program and about yourself. I’m confident that we will be back.”
With the 4th Region crown in hand, South Warren will advance to face Region 14 champion Letcher County Central (22-9) next Friday, Nov. 3rd, at Valley High School in Louisville. The Lady Cougars defeated Hazard 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-19) on Thursday evening for the 14th Region title. Start time for next Friday’s match is slated for 9:30 a.m.
4th Region Tournament MVP: Hannah Yonts (South Warren)
4th Region All-Tournament Team:
- Sophie Pemberton (South Warren)
- Sydney Clayton (South Warren)
- Alexa Davis (Greenwood)
- Rileigh Stivers (Greenwood)
- Hannah Yonts (South Warren)
- Makenzie Allen (South Warren)
- Grace Hewitt (Greenwood)
- Shelby Hardison (Logan County)
- Kerra Cornist (Logan County)
- Alera Barbee (Franklin-Simpson)
- Lexy Vaughn (Franklin-Simpson)
- Kaylee Baldwin (Allen County-Scottsville)
- Autumn McCutchen (Clinton County)
- Ashley Gearlds (Monroe County)
- Macie Emerson (Russell County)