Lady Eagles Run Record to 21-1

Junior Jessie Stidham frees herself just outside the paint long enough to turn and put up a jump shot over her Spartanburg Day defender. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

WINNSBORO – The Richard Winn Lady Eagles got back into the “winn” column and improved their overall record to 21-1 with victories over region opponents Oakbrook Prep, Greenwood Christian and Spartanburg Day since the Lady Jackets of Union High School marred their perfect season on Jan. 13. Head coach Jason Haltiwanger’s varsity squad has only three remaining region games left before closing out the regular season on Friday, Feb. 7. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Lady Eagles will likely be a shoe-in to make the state playoffs at the end of the month where they will be defending their 2013 2A State Championship title.

The Lady Eagles played at Greenwood Christian on Jan. 21 with a bit of a handicap after four players were suspended from play due to team rule violations. One other player still remains on the injured reserve list. Yet the five team members left, undaunted by their task at hand, managed to pace themselves and play an entire game with no one on the bench eligible to sub. However, at one point early in the game, Cassidy Branham sustained a bloody nose injury and had to come out, leaving just four on the court to match up against the five Lady Hawk players. The “fearsome” four set up in a two-two zone defense and were able to keep the Lady Hawks from penetrating the lane or scoring during the period that Branham stayed out of the game. The “fabulous five,” with strategic coaching by Haltiwanger, chalked up victory number 20 with this 45-12 region road victory. Jaycie Johnson and Jessie Stidham led the RWA scoring totals with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Bailey Taylor chipped in seven, Anna Cooke added five and Cassidy Branham had four.

Victory number 21 came at home on Friday, Jan. 24 when the Eagle teams re-matched against the Griffins of Spartanburg Day School. The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 19-8 first quarter lead behind the hot hands of Johnson and Carson Justice, who combined for 14 of their team’s first quarter points. Limiting the Lady Griffins to a one point second quarter, the Winnsboro squad racked up 16 more points in the second quarter to take a 35-9 lead into the locker room at half time. The Lady Eagles went on to capture the win, 57-37, to remain undefeated in region competition. Justice led the scoring with 19 points, and Johnson followed with 16. Alyssa Atkerson contributed nine, Stidham had seven, Taylor added four and Cooke closed out the scoring with a 2-point basket.

The Lady Eagles will close out their regular season with two home games on Feb. 4 and 7. The varsity girls’ game will follow the MS girls’ and boys’ games at approximately 6:15.