Lady Eagles Take Tourney, Boys Falter

Mitchell Gibbons lays one in against Louisville Tuesday (Photo/Kay Hensley)

Mitchell Gibbons lays one in against Louisville Tuesday (Photo/Kay Hensley)

WINNSBORO (Dec. 30, 2015) – An earlier loss this season to Thomas Sumter awoke the Lady Eagles from believing they could sleep walk to another undefeated championship season. Tuesday night, they were fully awake, dropping Calhoun Academy 56-35 and taking the title in the RWA Christmas Tournament.

The Lady Eagles (10-1, 1-0) cruised into the title tilt, easily handling South Aiken Baptist Monday night, 63-23.

“I think that early loss this season helped us see we will have to play hard every night,” Richard Winn head coach Jason Haltiwanger said after Monday’s win. “We have been a lot more aggressive on both ends of the floor, which is giving us a chance to show our dominance.”

The Lady Eagles showed that dominance in full throughout the first half, exploding out to a 41-14 lead over South Aiken Baptist. Winn’s full-court pressure forced double digit turnovers, which lead to many fast-break points.

The second half became a reflection of the first as senior Jaycie Johnson, who is averaging 23 points a game, helped lead the second half charge. The Lady Eagles outscored South Aiken Baptist 22-9, despite struggling as a team with their field goal percentage.

Although the Lady Eagles won’t be able to repeat with another undefeated season, Haltiwanger has been impressed with his team’s will to work back toward their known dominance.

“We believe we let one slip away earlier this season,” he said, “but we know if we go into every game focused we can be one of the best teams in the state.”

Boys Fall in Final

After hammering South Aiken Baptist in Monday night’s opening round of the RWA Christmas Tournament 73-57, the Richard Winn Academy Eagles took a pounding of their own in the title game Tuesday, falling way short of Louisville, 89-36.

Richard Winn (2-4) and South Aiken Baptist (5-3) both struggle through a very foul ridden game in round one Monday, but in spite of the foul trouble, the Eagles were able to advance.

“Despite us and South Aiken being in foul trouble the majority of the game, I am happy we continued to play our style of play,” RWA head coach Joe Pitt said after Monday’s game. “That 9-0 run in the first quarter gave us an opportunity to slow down their drives to basket and begin to make them feel the need to shoot a lot of jump shots.”

An early 6-6 tie in the first quarter led the fans to believe they were getting geared for a shootout. Great defense by Richard Winn allowed them to catch a quick 9-0 run causing South Aiken Baptist to abandon their game early. The Eagles ran the floor and stretched their lead to 21-7 at the end of the first.

Eagle senior Mitchell Gibbons used his height and strength to slow down South Aiken’s rising star freshman Daiyon Jenkins as Jenkins was never allowed to get into a rhythm during the game. Despite Jenkins scoring 16 points, 4 more than his 12.3 points per game average, the Eagles full-court pressure forced South Aiken into a bad shot selections. This allowed Richard Winn the opportunity to win the game from the free throw line, giving them the 73-57 victory.