With the win the Lady Bulldogs will face Notasulga in the Class 1A Sub-Regional tournament on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
“Getting a four peat is great, but when you are trying to build a dynasty program, area championships are something that you can expect,” Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith said. “I think our girls expect area championships. I asked the girls do you want to dwell on this win or do you want to move forward and all of them said move forward. That is exactly what I wanted to hear. We are just going to move forward to the next opponent.”
Both teams went blow for blow in the first quarter with the area crown at stake. Winterboro jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but the Lady Fighting Tigers with Savona Garrett on the bench with two fouls. Tiarrial Duncan scored four quick points to tie the game at 6-6. Foul trouble also plagued Winterboro as Nadia Estelle and Tiffany Vincent picked up their second fouls.
Morgan Merritt banked in a shot to give the Lady Bulldogs a 10-6 lead. Richardson also went to the glass as she knocked down a jumper to give the Lady Bulldogs a 12-6 lead.
TC Central ended the quarter on a 4-0 run which included a 3-pointer by Tyra Gooden cut Winterboro’ s lead to 12-10 going to the second quarter.
“One thing that happened a lot is that went down low tonight, we got into some foul trouble here on some fouls we shouldn’t commit and we don’t normal commit,” Smith said. “We didn’t get rattled a lot tonight and that is what I like. We withstood some of their blows and we kept playing. Nadia Estelle came out on fire tonight and that is what I like. I am getting very consistent play with Anslea (Twymon) and Jasmine (Richardson). They are the two girls that I know night in and night out what they are going to give me. Our bench players have to do better since we are down to seven or eight players. There were too many scenarios we were out of position and not making the right plays on things. We depend on everybody on our team. We’ve had people to quit, the injury bug hit us. If we want to make this state championship run everybody has to know what to do and what’s going on.”
In the second quarter, the Lady Bulldogs held TC Central to four points which ultimately the difference in the game. Anslea Twymon got the scoring going as she nailed a 3-pointer and a she hit a layup to increase their lead to 17-10. Richardson also scored five points during the run which included a layup to put Winterboro ahead 21-14. Nadia Estelle scored four of her nine points in the quarter, which included back to back layups to give Winterboro a 27-14 lead at halftime.
TC Central just couldn’t find a rhythm offensively in the second quarter. Their only two baskets came off layups by Duncan and Cuteria Collins.
“We just never really got into a rhythm tonight,” TC Central head coach Robert Duncan said. “We were flat the entire ball game and the shooters never got going. It is one of those nights where you don’t know what you can chalk it up as being. We played hard, but we didn’t have tenacity that we needed to close it out. Hats off to Coach Smith and Winterboro. We will come back Monday and strap it up and get ready for a Sub-Regional game.”
In the second half, the Lady Fighting Tigers tried to claw their way back into the game, but Winterboro always had a response. Duncan hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 31-19, but Richardson responded right away with a layup to push the lead back to 33-19. Estelle gave Winterboro a 39-24 lead late in the third quarter.
Duncan ended the quarter with back to back layups to end the quarter to cut the Winterboro lead to 39-28.
The Lady Bulldogs lead never went under 12 points in the final quarter as they sealed their fourth straight area title.
The Lady Fighting Tigers will take on Loachapoka on Thursday in the Class Sub-Regional tournament.