Warrenton seniors put program back in playoff scene

SENIOR LEADERSHIP - Warrenton post player Miranda Nelson was among three seniors on this year’s team, which snapped a district title drought, advancing to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Warriors finished 16-11. Derrick Forsythe photo.
Scott Butler
Record Correspondent

The Warrenton girls basketball season did not get off to a very hot start. At one point, the Lady Warriors were 2-5, battling through injuries and sickness nearly every day.

“I think perseverance best describes our season,” Head Coach Greg Williams said. “With girls hurt and having the flu, it’s been my experience that you don’t ever catch up.” 

However, the Lady Warriors did do just that, and more. Warrenton won their next eight out of 10 games to start building some serious momentum.

“We could barely practice at times,” Williams said. “But we battled through this and going 14 and 6 to close out the season.” 

Warrenton finished the regular season at 13-10, before running the table in district play by winning three games in four nights to be crowned champs.

“In the first game of districts, Lexi Frederick suffers a severe ankle injury and had to miss the semi-final,” Williams said. “But the girls rallied together and found a way to defeat Hannibal the next night.”

Moving to the championship game, and after an exciting 33-30 win over the district’s top seed Kirksville, Warrenton claimed its fourth district title in the past six years.

“The district title made this a pretty great senior year,” senior Lexi Frederick said. “The sectional game was a loss but it was an honor to even be there and play against that team.”

Warrenton has failed to make it past the sectional round their previous three opportunities, including its previous matchup against Incarnate Word. This season was much of the same as the Lady Warriors matched up against Incarnate Word once again. 

“We have to understand that you do not beat Incarnate in two days or two weeks; it takes two years,” Williams said. “We have to have players that have heart and possess the ’right thing’ in order to beat them.” 

Along with Frederick, the Lady Warriors will graduate two other seniors, Brooke Smith and Miranda Nelson. Frederick landed on GAC North’s second team All-Conference while Nelson was the interior presence every team needs by leading Warrenton in rebounds this past year.

Smith earned GAC North’s first team All-Conference honors and came home with an All-District honor for Class 4, District 8, too.

“We had two sophomores and a freshman play substantial minutes in the sectional game versus Incarnate Word,” Williams said. “Hopefully, they gained valuable experience and a huge dose of motivation.”

Luckily, the Lady Warriors have played plenty of youth to replace these seniors. Juniors Malea Payne and Cassidy Haller will be back for their senior season and sophomores Garneisha Love and Dana Pruitt will return as well. Freshman Audrey Payne also learned valuable experience after playing in every game this season. 

“The future is incredibly bright,” Williams said. ”If properly developed, it could be a generational group.”


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