WINNSBORO — The Richard Winn boys basketball squad was at home looking for back-to-back region wins, this time against the Laurens Academy Crusaders, but they came up just short in an overtime thriller.
Laurens jumped out to a large 16-3 first quarter lead, including scoring the first 13 points of the game.
“I was thinking man what a start, and this better get better soon,” Head Coach Joe Pitt said of the early deficit.
If not for a Mitchell Gibbons three with under 20 seconds left, the Eagles may have gone without a point in the first period. Gibbons had a solid night, notching a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
It looked as if it was going to be a long night for the Eagles, but fast forward to the third quarter, and the game was tied 30-30, thanks to a Todd Johnson offensive rebound, which led to another Mitchell Gibbons three.
With 12.3 seconds left in regulation the game was still deadlocked 38-38, and Laurens had the ball in hand. The Crusaders got a decent look, and a couple of attempts at the basket, but were unable to get it to fall.
Todd Johnson scored the first bucket of overtime, and the two teams traded blows back and forth. Laurens worked themselves back out to a 46-44 lead with time dwindling down.
Laurens missed two-free throws off of intentional fouls, and this time it was Richard Winn with the ball in their hand with a chance to tie, or win the game.
The Eagles went for three-pointer, and the win, but came up just short, and Laurens held on for the narrow 46-44 victory.
“I was so proud of the way we fought back. We hit some big shots but also made a couple of mental mistakes down the stretch. I thought we had made that last shot,” Pitt said.
Despite a win against King Academy the team has not had a good start to region play, now dropping four of their first five games, including another close loss to Newberry Academy.
However, Pitt has taken some positives away from the otherwise rough beginning.
“We have been very competitive in every game except at Anderson. I think Newberry, Laurens, and us are all very competitive with each other, and all three teams are fairly even with each other,” he said.
Richard Winn was in action Jan. 26 at home against regional foe Wardlaw Academy. Results were not available at press time.
Timothy Wooten is a mass communications major at Winthrop University. He is from Winnsboro.