Lady Eagles Take Tourney Title

Jaycie Johnson knocks down a jumper in Saturday’s tournament title game against Laurens Academy. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

WINNSBORO – The Richard Winn Academy Lady Eagles basketball team (24-0/8-0) captured the SCISA Class A Region II tournament crown Saturday, knocking off the Lady Crusaders of Laurens Academy, 36-22.

The Lady Crusaders jumped out to an early lead in the Eagles’ Nest, pushing the defending champs to the wire, but the Lady Eagles soon had the game in control behind Jaycie Johnson’s 17 points. Jessie Stidham and Bailey Taylor each added 6 points, while Emily Brigman and Alyssa Atkerson chipped in 3 apiece. Cassidy Branham added 1 from the charity stripe.

The win vaults the Lady Eagles into tonight’s (Feb. 20) first round of the SCISA state tournament with momentum and a number 1 seed. They will face Cathedral Academy at 6:30 p.m. in the Wilson Hall gym.

The boys, meanwhile, will begin tournament play at noon on Saturday against Curtis Baptist in the Heathwood Hall gym.

Saturday’s win came on the heels of round one action in Laurens Friday, where the Lady Eagles dispatched Newberry Academy 47-24.

The intensity from both squads was electric Friday as Newberry Academy came into the first quarter with extra motivation, trying to deliver the first loss to the Lady Eagles of Richard Winn. Richard Winn started the game with numerous turnovers which led the Lady Eagles of Newberry Academy to an 8-6 first quarter lead. This was the first time the entire season Richard Winn trailed any quarter this season.

The second quarter began the same with Richard Winn playing very sluggishly despite going on a 10-4 run in the quarter. Newberry Academy forced five turnovers in the second quarter that gave them an opportunity to keep the deficit at 16-12 at the half as Richard Winn took the lead.

“We started off the game terrible and at times it looked we could possibly lose,” RWA head coach Jason Haltiwanger said Friday, “but I was happy how we persevered through our hardships to win the game.”

Richard Winn began the third quarter with a 10-2 run as Johnson led the scoring run, dropping in 6 of the 10 points in the run. Richard Winn finally returned to their dominant form on both ends of the court as Newberry Academy began to lose the strong intensity that gave them the lead in the early goings. Even with the run by Richard Winn the Lady Eagles of Newberry only trailed 29-16 going into the fourth quarter.

Richard Winn started the fourth with another 10-0 run despite putting Newberry Academy in the bonus the rest of the game for foul trouble. The Lady Eagles of Richard Winn despite their sluggish play majority of the game escaped with the victory to advance to the tournament championship game.

Stidham and Johnson each scored 15 points to lead Richard Winn. Taylor added 9 and Brigman 4 in the win, while Atkerson and Calee Thigpen had 2 each. Katherine Williamson led Newberry with 7 points.


The RWA boys’ squad ran into a steamroller in Friday’s region tournament opener, falling to Anderson Christian 45-27 after trailing by only a pair at the half, 20-18. Cameron Cooper led the Eagles’ efforts with 14 while Mitchell Gibbons added 12. Christian Christianson dumped in a point from the line.

Rising Dynasty?

While RWA’s varsity girls embark on defending back-to-back SCISA state titles, the young bloods made their presence known Saturday, as the Middle School girls’ squad exceeded their second-place regular season finish by taking their region tournament title. The MS crew bumped off the Lady Knights of W.W. King Academy 26-10 in Saturday’s undercard to take home the hardware.

Hannah Gibbons led the underclassmen with 11 points in the win. Gracie Atkerson knocked in 6, Meredyth Melton 4, Meredith Pope 3 and Riley Simpson 2. Gibbons and Melton also earned All-Region honors for their efforts.

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