By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
Just consider Robin Chastain old school.
While the Winston Academy head girls basketball coach is certainly pleased that her team is playing well enough to be recognized as one of the best MAIS AA girls basketball teams in the state, she also knows that what matters is how you finish the season.
Headed into this week’s action the Lady Patriots were 18-7 and ranked No. 4 in MAIS AA by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
“I tell my girls that rankings are based on the opinions of people who probably won’t watch us play all season,” Chastain said. “We don’t want to let the opinions of others dictate how we play. Of course it feels good to be ranked. This group of girls has achieved more than they probably had ever expected to, but it’s like feeding a dog scraps — they just keep coming back wanting more and I love that about them.”
The WA girls opened the 2014 portion of their schedule in fine fashion by sweeping all three games they played in the Kirk Invitational Tournament, which was played in a round-robin format.
Winston rolled past DeSoto (Ark.) 64-24 on Jan. 2, then beat Carroll 47-42 the next night and closed out the event by exacting a little revenge against North Delta with a 33-31win. Just a week earlier the Lady Patriots had lost to North Delta 36-35 in the Magnolia Heights School Classic.
This week had the WA boys and girls hosting Oak Hill on Tuesday, before entertaining Central Academy of Macon on Thursday and then hitting the road to face Leake Academy on Saturday.
Next Monday the Pats and Lady Pats travel to Grenada to face Kirk before taking the short trip to DeKalb to battle Kemper Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
The Lady Patriots opened play after Christmas with three games in the Magnolia Heights Classic. WA lost to Hernando High School 62-54 on the first night, before bouncing back to throttle Wet Memphis Christian 56-26 and then tumbled to North Delta by one point in the finale.
Marianne Ward scored 27 points to lead the Lady Pats against Hernando, while Katie McCool scored 11 and Darby Nowell seven. Ward poured in 30 points for WA against West Memphis as the Lady Patriots jumped out to a 31-14 halftime lead. Courtney Prisock added nine points for the winners, while McCool had six.
North Delta led at the end of each quarter in Winston’s 36-35 loss on Dec. 28. Nowell led WA with eight points, while McCool had seven and Hayden Hudspeth six.
The Lady Patriots led 22-4 after one quarter and 41-6 at the half in the runaway win over DeSoto in the first game of the Kirk Invitational. McCool led the winners with 15 points, while Nowell had nine and Ward and Ashlee Bane scored eight each. Winston used a strong fourth quarter to hold off Carroll 47-42, behind the 16 points of Ward and 10 each from Katie McCool and Abigail McCool.
Ward knocked down a pair of free throws with no time left on the clock to give Winston its 33-31 win over North Delta. The University of West Alabama signee scored 10 points in the game, including going 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Hudspeth led the Lady Patriots in scoring in the game with 14 points.
The Winston Academy boys lost all three of its games in the Kirk Invitational, falling to DeSoto 62-45, Carroll 55-40 and North Delta 50-37.
Brock Baker scored 19 points and had six rebounds against DeSoto, while posting 15 points and 13 rebounds against Carroll and 14 points against North Delta. Carter Lane Jones had 11 points and six boards in the DeSoto contest, 13 points and six rebounds against Carroll and 12 points and five boards in the North Delta game.