Lady Eagles Wrap Up Spotless Region Record

Carson Justice nails a jump shot over a Mid-Carolina’s defender’s outstretched arms. Carson went on to tally 17 points and led all scorers in the victory over the Lady Rebels.

In a matter of just five days, the Richard Winn Lady Eagles added three more wins to their already impressive resume’ and ran their overall record to 23-1 and 8-0 in their region. The RWA varsity girls are a surefire lock in the 2A SCISA state playoffs after clinching the regular season region title. Their next goal, however, will be to capture the region tournament title, which will allow them a top seeding in the state playoffs the following week. It’s a task coach Jason Haltiwanger and his 10 team members are ready and willing to take on, with the ultimate goal of the 2A state championship title potentially within their reach.

The Lady Eagles added win number 21 to their resume’ last Thursday as they avenged their only loss of the season to the Lady Rebels of Mid-Carolina High School at the Eagle Nest, 46-24. The game was originally scheduled for earlier in the week but had to be rescheduled three times due to weather and other conflicts. No matter, this time the Lady Eagles were pumped and ready to prove they were the better team.

The action started with the Lady Rebels taking control, jumping out ahead early in the first period, but Haltiwanger’s Lady Eagles just whittled away to take the lead for the first time, 9-8, with seconds remaining. However, momentum seemingly swung back in Mid-Carolina’s direction when guard Julie Kinard nailed a 3-pointer as the first quarter buzzer sounded, putting her team up 11-9. RWA’s Jaycie Johnson, a freshman, tied up the game with a perfect two-for-two from the charity stripe at the beginning of the second quarter and then hit a jumper from that same range the next time down the court to put the Lady Eagles back in the lead. The Lady Rebels battled back to tie the game at 15 all with 1:42 remaining in the first half of action. Johnson’s free throw shooting once again put the home team up by one with 1:26 on the clock. On the next RWA possession, eighth-grader Bailey Taylor hit a basket from outside the paint that was the beginning of the end for the visitors. Then junior Carson Justice made a put-back basket, and the Lady Eagles’ defense tightened up to halt their opponents’ scoring and limited them to only a 4-point performance in the entire second quarter. RWA held a 20-15 lead at half time.

It was a lead the Lady Eagles did not relinquish as they went on to outscore their opponents 28-11 in the second half in avenging their first and only loss of the season to this team. Justice, the team’s playmaker, led all scorers while posting 17 points and chalked up four assists, one block and five steals. Johnson followed closely behind with 15 points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal. Four more Lady Eagle players made contributions in the scorebook. Jessie Stidham scored nine while pulling down five rebounds, Taylor added four points, Emily Brigman two and Anna Cooke made a free throw.

A mere 24 hours later the Lady Eagles captured victory number 22 on the road in Spartanburg against the Lady Knights of Oakbrook Prep. Once again the duo of Justice and Johnson led the way in scoring double digits for their RWA team. The Lady Eagles jumped out to an early 15-4 lead in the first 8-minute period and continued to outscore their opponents in each of the successive quarters to get take the 46-24 victory and remain atop the region standings. Justice scored 18 points and had eight rebounds, seven assists and nine steals. Johnson had a double-double dozen as she scored 12 points and hauled in 12 rebounds. Alyssa Atkerson and Stidham scored four points each, Brigman had three, Cooke and Megan Simpson added two points apiece and Taylor had one.

Playing their final regular season game on the road in Greenwood on Monday, the Winnsboro team dominated their Greenwood Christian region foe. The Lady Eagles improved their region record to a perfect 8-0 with the 63-27 victory over the Lady Hawks.

This time it was the Justice-Stidham pair leading the way offensively, accounting for 42 of the team’s total points. Justice nailed five 3-pointers as she accumulated 22 points. In just the past three-game span, Justice racked up 57 points to average 19 a game. Stidham, too, had a good scoring night and came on strong to manufacture 20 points for her Lady Eagle team. Johnson contributed 11, and Taylor and Atkerson added five points each.

The Lady Eagles will compete as the number one seed in the region tournament tonight (Feb. 8), against Oakbrook Prep at 6 p.m. The tourney will be held in a neutral site in Union at Union County High School’s gymnasium, with the championship games there also on Tuesday.

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