Lady Eagles Shock 2A’s Finest

RWA’s Jessie Stidham (33) goes underneath the block attempt by Fairfield’s Jada Martin for the layup. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

WINNSBORO – The South Carolina girls’ basketball landscape took a proverbial jolt as two of Winnsboro’s storied programs in the Richard Winn Lady Eagles and the Fairfield Central lady Griffins squared off Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the Richard Winn Academy Christmas Tournament, resulting in a 43-36 victory for the Eagles of Richard Winn.

Both teams entered the tournament with unblemished records on the season, with the Lady Eagles defending a state title from last year. The game more than matched the billing.

Richard Winn won the tip but failed to convert on their first possession. The Griffins attacked the rim but were denied with a strong block by Jaycie Johnson.

The tone of the game had been set by the defense of both teams’ first possession.

Any points scored tonight would be earned.

Chyna Moore took a pass at the top of the key and penetrated to the lane, drawing a foul and a chance for two shots at the free throw line with 6:57 to go in the first quarter.

Moore made one out of two, for the first point of the game.

The Griffins set up their full-court press after the made free throw. The Eagles were expecting it and ran their press-break, putting control of the ball in freshman point guard Alyssa Atkerson’s hands.

She found Carson Justice for a quick layup, followed by a three pointer from the corner by the junior shooting guard Emily Brigman. Just like that, the Eagles had a 5-1 lead and control of the momentum in the packed gymnasium.

The Griffins of Fairfield Central were quick to respond, as Tanise Davis grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for the layup.

The following play, Chyna Moore forced a steal and slashed to the basket, making the layup and drawing a foul for the three-point opportunity.

The first quarter ended with a 6-5 Griffin lead and a long sigh as both teams settled in and began to focus on their game plans.

The Eagles came out in the second quarter and worked the ball to the post area, where they had a size advantage. But what the Eagles had in the size, the Griffins made up for in quickness.

Davis converted another steal/layup combo, and grabbed an offensive rebound to score on the put back.

Fairfield Central had a 9-8 lead midway through the second quarter, but just as they began to mount a run, the Eagles snatched the momentum right back with another deep three-pointer from Carson Justice.

The Griffins struggled to score on their next three possessions and appeared to be rushing their shots. Richard Winn went back to their post players and scored on a layup by Johnson, but the Griffins responded in style with back-to-back three pointers from Jada Martin to tie the game at 19-19 just before halftime. One more bucket would give the Griffins a two-point lead at the break.

In the second half, the defenses turned it up a notch. Both teams played an array of full court presses and half-court traps, cycling through defensive sets based on situations on the court.

Jada Martin came out firing, connecting on another three pointer early in the third quarter to extend the Griffin lead. Raven Rivers converted a smooth reverse layup with 5:09 left in the third quarter to stretch their lead to 28-24.

The rebounding edge that Richard Winn established in the first half was gone. The Fairfield Central defense was wearing the Eagles down in the second half, as some of the post presence found themselves in foul trouble in the third quarter.

The Eagles remained strong however, and clawed their way back to within one point to close out the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles began rebounding well again, as Atkerson scored on a rebound and put back. Martin and Davis worked to get to the line and try and fight back, but couldn’t convert on the free throw attempts. The Eagles had stretched their lead to 40-33 with 2:40 left in the game.

The Griffins turned up the intensity on defense but couldn’t overtake the Eagles in the ‘fouls and free throws’ game of the final minute of play. The Eagles met the challenge, and when the final horn blew at Richard Winn Academy on Saturday afternoon, the Eagles had not only won their second Christmas tournament in as many years, by the final score of 43-36; they also won the recognition and respect of an entire state, as the Eagles victory over the Griffins is certainly one of the bigger upsets of the year.

Fairfield Central

Jada Martin 12, Chyna Moore 10, Tanise Davis 9.

Richard Winn

Carson Justice 15, Jessie Stidham 10, Johnson Jaycie 8.

Comments

  1. To let you know that both teams played a good game. The Lady Griffins just had an off night. I wouldn’t say that this game was the biggest upset of the season or year for the Lady Griffins, that’s just exaggerating story. The reason the Eagles asked for the Lady Griffins to play in their tournament was number 1. They would bring a crowd to see two FairField teams that has been known to be the best play against one another. 2. because the Eagles felt that the Lady Griffins would give them a good run and better compition. This game didn’t make or break the Lady Griffins, they are getting ready to head to Virgina Christmas night and believe me losing that game to the Eagles is the lease of their worries. Please follow the Lady Griffin season they are going to give you something to really talk about….. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. To let you know that both teams played a good game. The Lady Griffins just had an off night. I wouldn’t say that this game was the biggest upset of the season or year for the Lady Griffins, that’s just exaggerating story. The reason the Eagles asked for the Lady Griffins to play in their tournament was number 1. They would bring a crowd to see two FairField teams that has been known to be the best play against one another. 2. because the Eagles felt that the Lady Griffins would give them a good run and better compition. This game didn’t make or break the Lady Griffins, they are getting ready to head to Virgina Christmas night and believe me losing that game to the Eagles is the lease of the Lady Griffins worries. Please follow the Lady Griffin season they are going to give you something to really talk about….. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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