Eagles wrap up tourney, look to post-season

Lawson Wade, Region Player of the Year, and All-Region Awardees Miller Stuck, Drew Spires and Mikaela Miller | Contributed

WINNSBORO – Both Richard Winn varsity teams ended the regular season on a high note with home victories over region foe King Academy on Feb. 9, avenging previous losses to the Knights in Batesburg. However, the varsity boys fell victim, 27-30, to Newberry Academy’s well-executed slow-down game plan in round one of the region tourney on Feb. 12, knocking them out of the championship quest.

The Eagle Nest was packed for the final home contests as the varsity girls’ game got underway first. Both teams got off to a slow start offensively. Abby Lewis’s 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Mikaela Miller were the only points posted by the Lady Eagles in the first period. Even though the Lady Knights struggled as well, they held a narrow 6-5 lead to start the second quarter. Behind Meagan Brigman’s 11 point scoring spree, the Lady Eagles’ offense ignited in the second period to outscore their opponents 16-12 and take the 21-18 halftime lead.

The Lady Eagles scored 11 more points in the 3rd quarter to their opponents’ 6 to increase their lead by 8 going into the final quarter, 32-24. Neither team had a productive offense in the last eight minute period with RWA’s Brinson Baker scoring the lone 2–point basket. The Lady Eagles got the 34-24 victory to get back into the win column once again. Brigman led the scoring with 14, Miller and Lewis – 7 each, and Baker and Delaney Young added 3 points apiece.

RWA’s varsity girls ended the regular season with a region record of 3-8 and 7-9 overall, but they fell short of placing in the top four to qualify for region tournament action. Depending on the competition level in the Lower State regions, the Lady Eagles still have an outside chance of participating in the state playoffs. (The SCISA state playoff brackets were released following the press deadline.)

“This has been a tough season with having seven girls on the team. However, I couldn’t ask for more from my girls. They are dedicated and committed to the program while giving me their all each day. I am excited to see the future of RWA Lady Eagle Basketball. We are looking forward to seeing if we make the first round of state playoffs that take place this Friday, February 18th,” said Coach Emily McElveen.

The RWA boys were mentally ready and eagerly waiting to avenge the earlier 1 point loss to the Knights at their place; however, it was not until almost halfway into the first quarter before either team posted points on the scoreboard. Richard Winn’s Miller Stuck made the first 2-pt. basket at the 4:25 mark, and then teammate Drew Spires quickly followed up with another 2 points to get the offense finally rolling along. Soon the first quarter ended, and the Eagles were up 13-4. RWA had a productive second period, out-scoring the Knights 23-10 to take a 35-14 halftime lead.

The Knights had their best performance in the final quarter, but the rally came too late, and the Eagles claimed the 50-29 victory to lock up a three way tie for the region title with King and Laurens.

Lawson Wade led the Eagles with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Miller Stuck contributed 5 assists and 4 steals while tying Drew Spires with 9 points apiece. Landon Caulder added 6 points, Rob Wilson – 4, and Ethan Steward – 2.

Next the boys’ team traveled to Laurens on Sat., Feb. 12, for the round one region tournament contest. The Eagles were pitted against the Newberry Eagles for the fourth time this season, having beaten them decisively during the three prior meetings. However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Newberry’s strategy was to hold the ball and slow the game down to hog tie the Winnsboro Eagles’ speed and scoring. With seconds remaining, Newberry’s game plan proved effective as they defeated RWA 27-30 with a 3-point shot just as the time expired.

Wade was held to 9 points and 2 rebounds, Stuck had 8 points, Spires and Caulder added 4 each, and Wilson had 2.

The Eagles’ overall record is 17-6 and 11-3 in region standings going into the SCISA A playoffs this weekend. Playoff brackets will be released on Wednesday, following the press deadline.

Mikaela Miller, Drew Spires, and Miller Stuck were named to the All Region teams, Rob Wilson was picked for the All Tournament team, and Lawson Wade was selected as the boys’ Region Player of the Year. Boys’ head coach Nick Chaisson was named Region Coach of the Year. The presentations were made in a ceremony following the region tournament championship game at Newberry Academy on Monday, Feb. 14.

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