WINNSBORO — The Richard Winn Academy girls basketball team faced the Laurens Academy Crusaders in their most recent match-up.
The Lady Eagles had a much closer game than some of their last few, but still won by double digits.
Bailey Taylor immediately made her presence felt by scoring the first six points of the contest, and collected four quick rebounds. She ended the night with 14 points.
“She’s kind of the x-factor for us because a lot of people key on Jaycie (Johnson) and Alyssa (Atkerson), just like Laurens was doing, and Bailey made them pay early. She’s a very savvy player. She’s a very tough player, and you can really depend on her,” Coach Jason Haltiwanger said of Taylor.
A Taylor assist to Jaycie Johnson quickly put Richard Winn up 8-0, and it seemed like there may be another blowout in store for an Eagles’ opponent.
In what has been a successful combination all season, Alyssa Atkerson hooked up with Jaycie Johnson on an inbound pass for an easy score.
Johnson is currently second in the Midlands in scoring behind only Taylor Toney from Gray Collegiate. Atkerson leads the Midlands in both assists and steals.
Haltiwanger raved about his point guard’s ability.
“I’ve never coached a player who can sit back and anticipate as well as she does,” he said. “She almost baits people into thinking they’re open, she doesn’t almost, she does.”
Laurens found themselves in a deep 11-2 hole, but they did not quit battling. By the end of the first period, it was a close 15-10 game.
Despite Lauren’s effort to fight back the combination of Taylor, Atkerson and Johnson proved to be overwhelming to the Crusaders.
The closest Laurens could get to the lead in the second half was seven points, and the Eagles finished with the 48-38 victory.
They have been powering, not only through region play, but through the entire season. They knocked off regional opponents, Newberry Academy 48-12 and King Academy 60-9.
“I’ve been very happy with what they’re doing. The only thing I think I would change is sometimes during the entirety of the game I think our effort level could improve,” Haltiwanger said.
The Lady Eagles will get another opportunity to flex their muscle at home on Jan. 26 when they take on region opponents Wardlaw Academy. Results were not available at press time.
Timothy Wooten is a mass communications major at Winthrop University. He is from Winnsboro.