WINNSBORO — The third time turned out to be the charm for the Richard Winn Lady Eagles. Using a match up zone defense, on-the-ball traps and clever inbounds plays, the Eagles avenged their only loss of the season Thursday night, defeating the Mid-Carolina Rebels 48-26.
Mid-Carolina raced to an early 11-9 first quarter lead, but an 11-4 run in the second quarter put the Eagles ahead to stay. The game remained close at halftime with the Eagles hanging onto a 20-15 lead. In the second half, they outscored the Rebels 28-11 as the Eagles put the game away. As a team the girls only made 36 percent of their free throws, but there was little else to complain about on a night that they beat a AA public school.
Junior guard Carson Justice led all scorers with 17 points. Jaycie Johnson scored 15, including going 5-6 from the charity stripe. Justice added five steals which helped offset a night that her assist turnover ratio was even, four assists to four turnovers. She also had a team leading five deflections.
Johnson led the team in rebounds with seven, including three off the offensive glass. Jessie Stidham had another solid night, chipping in nine points on 4-5 shooting and adding five rebounds, three on offense. Anna Cooke led the team in hustles with 16.
The Eagles scored in a variety of ways including at least two set plays off inbound passes beneath their own goal that led to layups. This season the emergence of eight-grader Alyssa Atkerson to spell Justice at the point has been beneficial because Justice can move to the two spot and concentrate at times more on scoring than on running the offense like she did in 2011-12.
The game was out of reach in the final quarter, because the Eagles led 36-22 with 17 seconds left in the third period. They did not let up their intensity while on the floor though, because this group wanted to avenge an early season loss and because the girls know every minute of hustle will pay off when the playoffs arrive.
Then on Friday night the RWA Lady Eagles continued their winning ways in road action against Oakbrook Prep. The 46-24 contest was one in which the Lady Eagles were in complete control. The Eagle defense made points at a premium for Oakbrook with nearly half of Oakbrook’s points coming at the free throw line. Junior guard Carson Justice led all scorers with 18 points. Jaycie Johnson joined her in double figures with 12 points.