“I thought we beat TC to the intensity punch tonight,” Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith said. “They normally come out and play for us. In talking to Coach Duncan, he made the statement that if the kids aren’t really pumped for this game, then why are they playing? I can really attest to that. I’ve been extremely hard on my kids. At this time of the year, you should be peaking. I’m not saying we shouldn’t lose a game, but the game we had against Munford we just didn’t even show up in the second half. I gave them a few things to keep in their mind when they’re playing somebody. We have 10 things that we identify our team with, and I thought at least 80 percent of those things were met tonight. I feel great about how they started tonight. It’s a good accomplishment for us.”
Fourth-seeded Winterboro climbed out to a 6-0 lead before fifth-seeded TC Central got on the scoreboard with a transition layup by Tiarrial Duncan to cut the lead to 6-2.
Winterboro responded by closing out the first quarter on an 8-0 run. Anslea Twymon started the run with a baseline jumper and Jasmine Richardson completed the run with a floater to give the Lady Bulldogs a 14-2 lead.
Winterboro had a strong start to the second quarter with another 8-0 run. Tiffany Vincent started the run with a basket in the post receiving an assist from Richardson. Morgan Merritt capped the run with a 3-pointer to give Winterboro a 22-6 lead.
TC Central finished the second quarter on a 7-2 run. Curteria Collins had a rebound and putback, while Duncan finished the drive on a basket driving inside to cut the Winterboro lead to 24-13 at halftime.
Winterboro started the third quarter on an 8-3 run. Anslea Twymon had a rebound and putback and capped the drive with a 2-point basket while driving inside the lane to give Winterboro a 32-16 lead.
TC Central responded with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 36-29. Tiarrial Duncan started the momentum by hitting one of two free throws and finished the run with a steal and ensuing layup.
By the end of the quarter, Winterboro maintained a 42-35 lead.
In the fourth quarter, TC Central got as close as 46-41 following a Collins rebound and putback.
However, the Lady Bulldogs responded by finishing the game on an 8-3 run.
“We just had too many breakdowns on defense,” TC Central head coach Robert Duncan said. “We allowed them to get a lot of easy baskets. You just can’t do that against good basketball teams. I feel like we put up a big fight to get back in it, but we dug too big a hole for ourselves. It allowed them to play in a comfort zone. We’ll live to see another day. We’ll try to finish the regular season; one of our goals is to win 20 games, so we still have that to look forward to. We still look forward to the area tournament and will try to make it to the regionals. We still have a lot of goals in place for the season. You always want to win in the County Tournament, but there’s no shame in losing to a good team like Winterboro. Hats off to Coach Smith and the girls.”
Richardson sealed the game for the Lady Bulldogs when she drove inside the post and got off a shot while being pressured by two defenders to give Winterboro a 52-42 lead with just 23.1 seconds remaining.
“This is the most Jasmine has ever talked in a game all year,” Smith said. “She accepted criticism; she beat me to the punch some of the time. Tiffany Vincent got about seven or eight offensive rebounds. She’s tough. Nadia Estelle cut down on her turnovers. There were other players who did good things too, but I have been emphasizing things with Nadia a lot lately because we depend on her. Most importantly, I trust Nadia Estelle. I don’t like blaming kids for losses; I want them to realize where they failed. I also want them to know we win with the same players. I’m not about to get on top of the players ‘You lost,’ because you’re the same players that got us ranked, they got me seven wins away from a hundred. These same players do great things for me, so I don’t turn on my kids. Those are kids I want to recognize. In a team meeting this past summer, we discussed people who turn their backs on others. We call them pit bulls and rattlesnakes. We don’t believe in having pit bulls and rattlesnakes. I want my kids to win with class and lose with class.”
For Winterboro, Twymon finished as the leading scorer with 20 points, while Richardson finished with a double-double by scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Vincent contributed nine points and eight offensive rebounds. Merritt also had nine points, shooting three out of four on 3-point shots.
Tiarrial Duncan led all scorers with 23 points. Curteria Collins and Destinee Garrett each had eight points.
With the win, Winterboro advances to play B.B. Comer on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at host site Sylacauga.