“We’re actually on a three-game winning streak,” Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith said. “We beat Vincent, Munford and then Fayetteville. But it’s been the same scenario the whole time: we’ll get up by 10-20 points and then we start lying down. Inexperience could play a part because we haven’t been in this situation in a while. Right now, we’re just barely hanging on. We’ve got to be able to analyze situations better and we’ve got to be two steps ahead of the situation. All the games now, including the County Tournament, are preparing us for area play. We’ve got two more area games as well. Our boys’ rankings are almost set provided we don’t lose. That’s what I’m challenging my guys on now because we’ve got to get smarter. The things that we’ve tried to instill that would give our team an advantage—our guys still haven’t bought in yet. Once they start buying in all the way, we’ll actually be better from a consistency standpoint.”
Offensive points did not come early in the match between Winterboro and Fayetteville Monday night at Sylacauga. It was nearly midway through the first quarter before both teams were on the scoreboard. With 4:38 left in the quarter, Kyle Washington hit a 3-pointer for Winterboro to tie the game 3-3.
With Fayetteville leading 7-5, Winterboro finished out the first quarter on an 8-0 run.
Jutorrius Cook started the run with a basket down low. By the end of the run, Winterboro had a 13-7 first quarter lead.
Points were again hard to come by in the second quarter and again, Winterboro had the upper hand. They finished the second quarter on a 6-0 run. This run was also started by Cook, who scored a basket in the post with an assist by D’ontae Graham. They had pushed their lead to 21-9 by halftime.
In the third quarter, Kyle Washington completed a transition layup to open up with a 6-2 run.
With 6:14 left in the quarter, CJ Townsend had to leave the game for Fayetteville.
Winterboro finished the third quarter on a 7-2 run. Cook started the run with a transition layup. Fayetteville’s Tyler Pennington scored the final points of the quarter with a 2-point jump shot to cut the Winterboro lead to 38-20.
Fayetteville opened the fourth quarter with a 13-0 run. Pennington hit a long-range 2-point jumper to start the run. Tyari Powell-Welch hit a 3-pointer with 2:16 left to cut the Winterboro lead to 38-33.
Powell-Welch later hit another 3-pointer to keep Fayetteville in the game, 42-37. Cook hit a basket in the post to push Winterboro’s lead to 44-37 and essentially seal the game for the Bulldogs.
“We’ve had a pretty tough season,” Fayetteville head coach Grant Maddox said. “Shots haven’t been falling for us this season. We’ve been trying to work on it. We’ve got a full week of practice coming up. We’ve got TC and Lincoln next week. We’re going to try to work hard before our area tournament comes in a couple weeks. They played hard tonight. I’m proud of every one of them. I thought we rebounded well tonight. Just a lot of shots were taken and a lot of shots were not made. That was the difference in the ball game.”
Cook led all scorers with 14 points, while Washington finished the game with 13 points.
For Fayetteville, Powell-Welch led the team in scoring with eight points. Despite only playing the first half and briefly in the second half, CJ Townsend scored seven points.
With the win, Winterboro advances to play top seed Talladega Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at host site Sylacauga.