Region Champs: Lady Eagles Cruise to Title

Region III Class 2A Regular Season and Tournament Champions – Richard Winn Academy Lady Eagles (l-r): Asst. Coach Retta Taylor, Cassidy Branham, Emily Brigman, Jaycie Johnson, Carson Justice, Anna Cooke, Bailey Taylor, Alyssa Atkerson, Jessie Stidham, Marion Walker Coleman, Megan Simpson, Coach Jason Haltiwanger and Caleb and Reese Haltiwanger.

Tuesday night, the Richard Winn Academy Lady Eagles beat Spartanburg Christian, 34-17, behind the sharpshooting of Carson Justice to capture the Region III Class 2A championship title. Justice’s 19 point total was more than the combined effort of the Lady Warriors. Also contributing points for the Lady Eagles were Jessie Stidham with 4, Jaycie Johnson 3 and Emily Brigman, Alyssa Atkerson, Marion Walker Coleman and Bailey Taylor added 2 points each.

The Lady Eagles earned their way into the finals with a 68-19 trouncing of Greenwood Christian Feb. 8 at the Union County High School gym.

Richard Winn raced out to a 24-6 lead at the end of the first quarter Feb. 8 behind the hot hand of Justice who scored 14 of her 20 point total in the opening period. The game results were never in question as the Lady Eagles controlled the game from the tipoff and romped to take the round one region playoff game.

Justice hit the first of five 3-pointers with just seconds off the clock following the tip off possession and then proceeded to nail two more before the halfway mark of the opening period. Freshman forward/center Johnson stole an inbounds pass and scored to put the Lady Eagles up 9-0 at the 5:11 mark in the first quarter. It was not until the quarter was more than halfway done (3:43) that the Lady Hawks could post a free throw point on the scoreboard, and by that point the Lady Eagles had already jumped out to a double-digit lead, 13-1.

The Lady Eagles’ aggressive man-to-man defense, along with their full court press, created havoc for the Lady Hawks and held the GC team to only two points in the whole second quarter while the Lady Eagles continued to dominate the basket and boards, going up 43-8 at the half. While the Lady Hawks made a few adjustments in the second half, it was not enough to overcome the 35 point lead the RWA team had created at half time. RWA outscored their opponents 17-9 in the third period and 8-2 in the final period. Justice saw limited playing time in the third quarter and none at all in the final period while teammate and regular starter Anna Cooke missed the entire game to nurse an injury.

In addition to Justice’s 20 point performance, Johnson and Brigman scored double-digits as well, 13 and 10 points, respectively. Stidham followed with nine, Cassidy Branham added six and Atkerson had five. Megan Simpson contributed three points and Coleman had two.

After the championship game Tuesday, four Lady Eagles received All-Region honors: Anna Cooke, Jaycie Johnson, Jessie Stidham and Carson Justice. Justice was also named Region Player of the Year, while coach Jason Haltiwanger was named Girls’ Region Coach of the Year.

Coach Jason Haltiwanger and his #1 ranked Lady Eagle team will find out their seeding and playing time/location/opponent for the AA state playoffs when announced from SCISA athletic headquarters on Wednesday. The girls’ first round playoffs are scheduled to begin on Friday, Feb. 15.

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