WINNSBORO — The Richard Winn Academy boys were looking to avenge a close loss when they hosted the Newberry Academy Eagles and they did just that, pulling out a 49-46 victory.
“They’re very exciting but stressful for a coach, and it feels great to get the win,” Coach Joe Pitt said. “The team has really improved over the last month.”
Things did not start great for Richard Winn. Newberry nailed a couple of quick three-pointers, and started the game with an 8-3 lead.
An easy baseline layup extended Newberry’s lead to 11-5. A Noah Edwards free throw, and Mitchell Gibbons three brought Richard Winn back within a basket.
Midway through the second quarter, Bryant Carvalho pulled down an offensive rebound, and scored on the put-back to tie the game for the first time.
Newberry scored on a layup, got the plus-one and knocked down a technical free throw to pull back ahead, 27-21. Richard Winn stormed back to secure a 30-29 lead at the end of the first half.
Senior John Coleman started off the second half with a three-pointer, then scored off a steal.
“John had a great scoring game, rebounding and played great D,” Pitt said.
Newberry scored their first basket of the half with just under three minutes left, but by then they were down 36-31.
Richard Winn kept pushing the lead, eventually building it up to eight points, until Newberry mounted a comeback. With just under a minute left, Newberry knocked down a clutch three to claw back within one.
After four free-throws, and a couple of makes, Richard Winn led by three with two seconds left. Newberry jacked up a desperation three in search of the tie, but came up just short.
The game with Newberry marked the last time the Eagle seniors would play a home regular season game. Gunnar Hensley and John Coleman were honored with plaques as a part of the night’s honors.
“John and Gunnar have really developed into outstanding young men and both will be very successful in whatever they choose to do. I have really enjoyed coaching them,” Pitt said of the seniors.
Richard Winn will play their last regular season game on Feb. 5 in Batesburg-Leesville when they take on King Academy.
Timothy Wooten is a mass communications major at Winthrop University. He is from Winnsboro.