By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
As far as Robin Chastain is concerned, her Winston Academy girls basketball team is a lot closer to being a team to reckon with that perhaps even it realizes.
The Lady Patriots entered this week’s action with a 20-8 overall record and were ranked No. 4 in MAIS AA by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. While all of that is fine and dandy, Chastain says she is looking for her team to play like it can for four quarters and believes it can compete against and beat the upper echelon teams in the state.
“These kids have had to do a lot of growing up since mid-November,” Chastain said of her Lady Patriots. “We haven’t had many cupcake games. Our schedule is tough and that was done on purpose. I know if we an survive this schedule we will be right there in the thick of things come February.”
One of the big obstacles for WA will be getting past traditional MAIS power Leake Academy, which plays in the same district.
The Winston girls dropped an 89-53 road decision to Leake on Saturday, their second loss to the Lady Rebels this season.
“It’s a mind game with Leake,” Chastain said. “It’s a confidence issue. They’ve been beaten by Leake so many times is almost expected by most people. I’m trying to get the girls to understand and adopt the mindset that if we play our game — with confidence and being aggressive defensively — that I will put us up against anyone, including Leake. We showed that mindset when we had them down five at the half at our house.
“Saturday’s loss was tough, but it taught us all a good lesson,” she said. “It gave us the wake-up call we needed — lace up every night, no matter who the opponent and play like we are capable of playing. I’m still waiting for us to play four quarters of good basketball. We’re not missing it by much and I’m so excited for the postseason. I don’t plan on sitting at home this season.”
The Lady Patriots are currently second in the conference behind Leake and have district games left against Canton, Oak Hill and Tri-County.
Both Winston teams were scheduled to visit Kirk on Monday and Kemper on Tuesday, before hosting Canton this Thursday for Senior night.
Last week the Lady Pats took a 37-31 win over Oak Hill behind a 12-point night from Marianne Ward that featured her hitting all six of her free throw attempts. Katie McCool had seven points an Darby Nowell five.
Abigail McCool scored 15 points to lead WA in a 58-19 win over Central Academy on Thursday, while Nowell had 13, and Ward and Katie McCool scored 12 each.
Katie McCool scored 22 points to lead Winston in the loss to Leake, while Ward had 10.
Carter Lane Jones fired in 30 points and Brock Baker had 19 points an 10 rebounds in the Winston boys’ 66-24 win over Central, while Jones scored 11 in a 66-27 loss to Oak Hill.
Jones and Kenny Wright hit for 11 each in a 82-55 loss to Leake Academy on Saturday, while Stanton McMinn added 10.