Richard Winn’s conference tournament cancelled

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

February 18, 2014

WINNSBORO — Richard Winn Academy’s boys’ and girls’ basketball conference tournaments were cancelled after last week’s winter storm. Additionally, the tournament was cancelled because the region’s seedings were locked in, according to RWA girls’ head coach Jason Haltiwanger.

Both Richard Winn varsity basketball squads are awaiting the announcement of the SCISA class AA state tournament bracket, which will be released either late Feb. 18 or early Feb. 19.

There will be 32 teams total competing. Games will be played at select sites, but Haltiwanger noted that the top seed will usually play at the closer site. He anticipated playing at Heathwood Hall on Friday.

Richard Winn Girls

Haltiwanger told The Herald Independent that his squad had earned the top seed overall, but did not know who they would be matched up against in the first round.

“They (SCISA) will give us the closer site because of our seed and we’re 99 percent sure that’s (Heathwood Hall) where we’ll be playing Friday,” he said. “We just don’t know who the opponent is yet, so we’re just waiting patiently.”

Although he didn’t know the exact opponent, Haltiwanger believes it will be the last team to earn a spot in the state tournament. Other conferences are still breaking ties and playing their conference tournaments, but Haltiwanger said he would spend this week scouting three possible opponents including Thomas Sumter, Holly Hill and Palmetto Christian.

Because of their conference tournament cancellations, the RWA girls will be going into the first round of the state tournament on nearly a two-week hiatus. Haltiwanger sees both the pros and cons of a long layoff.

“We don’t risk an injury playing a game that you’re pretty confident you’re going to win,” he noted. “But the bad side is that we haven’t played in two weeks and we haven’t had that much time off throughout the whole season.”

Haltiwanger said he will coordinate a game-like scrimmage to keep the Lady Eagles fresh and competitive to make up for the lost time.

Following the four-day closing of school activities due to last week’s winter storm, the Lady Eagles were excited to be back in the gym.

“They really were (excited),” Haltiwanger stated. “I think they enjoy a day off of school, but when you get up to four days they get cabin fever and they’re ready to get going.”

Richard Winn boys

The Eagles are waiting to see if they get in the state tournament through an at-large bid. Their conference is arguably the strongest in SCISA. Three out of the final four teams from last year’s state tournament came from Richard Winn’s conference including the state champion (Oakbrook) and state runner-up (Spartanburg Christian).

Richard Winn head coach Joe Pitt hopes strength of schedule will work to his team’s advantage.

“We’re waiting to hear word on the playoffs,” Pitt said. “I think we’re in, but I can’t say for sure.”

Although he has heard two or three different scenarios, Pitt noted that two out of three scenarios he saw had Richard Winn in the state tournament.

Every region in the state gets four automatic bids except for Richard Winn because there are a total of five teams in the region.

“I think with our credentials and the high caliber teams we played, I think we have a good shot of getting in,” Pitt stated. “I’m hoping our body of work is good enough to get us in.”

Spartanburg Day secured the third seed in the region, with Oakbrook and Spartanburg Christian claiming the top two seeds from the region.

Pitt believes the cancelled conference tournament might or might not have benefited his Eagles.

“If we could have played Oakbrook tougher than we did the first time, then it might have had some bearing,” he said. “I think the ‘powers that be’ already have a pretty good idea of who they want in the playoffs and two of those scenarios had us in.”

For the tournament brackets, visit www.scisa.org.