By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
The Lady Patriots of Winston Academy are looking to go as deep as they can into the MAIS AA State Playoffs. What they do this week in the District 2-AA Basketball Tournament they are hosting could go a long way toward setting that tone.
“Going into district this week, I feel pretty good with how we are looking,” said WA head girls coach Robin Chastain. “We are fortunate to be hosting. We have played really well at home this season, only losing twice to Starkville and Leake.
“This time of year you just need to focus on getting everyone healthy and getting mentally prepared to execute,” she said. “Things are clicking for us and we are playing well, so I’m excited and the girls are too.”
The Lady Patriots go into the event with a 26-8 record and a No. 5 ranking in Class AA according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Also in the field for the district tourney this week is a 29-1 Leake squad that is ranked No. 1 in AA.
“ I don’t keep up with the rankings much but I’m glad our girls are getting some recognition,” Chastain said. “We don’t discuss rankings because we know it can change overnight. We aren’t playing for a rank, we’re after that blue trophy and we want to hang a banner.”
The Winston girls first game in the tournament will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night when the No. 2 Lady Patriots will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between Oak Hill and Manchester.
The other side of the bracket has top-seeded Leake playing at 4 p.m. Friday against the winner of Tuesday’s Tri-County vs. Canton match-up.
The Winston boys were set to play Canton at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday. If the Patriots won that game they will face Oak Hill at 7:45 on Friday night. The top-seeded Leake boys will play at 5:15 p.m. on Friday against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Manchester and Tri-County.
Last week the Lady Pats beat Heritage 50-43 and Newton County Academy 57-26. Darby Nowell scored 19 to lead WA against Heritage, while Marianne Ward hit for 15 and Katie McCool six. Nowell led all scorers with 16 points, while McCool had 14 points and Hayden Hudspeth nine.
The Winston boys lost to Heritage 71-43, while dropping a tough one to NCA by the score of 46-43.
Brock Baker scored 13 points and had six rebounds for WA against Heritage, while Carter Lane Jones had nine points, six rebounds and six assists. Miles Johnson pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds in the game for the Patriots.
Winston jumped out to a 17-6 first quarter lead over Newton County Academy and was up 29-20 at the half, but the Generals outscored the Patriots 26-14 in the second half to take the win.
Baker led the Patriots with 16 points and a whopping 23 rebounds, while Jones and Logan Webb scored nine points each.