Winterboro got off to a sluggish start falling behind 5-0 early in the first quarter.
Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith implemented a press defense that help get things back on track and before long, they had tied the score at 7-7.
“I shouldn’t have to rely on our press to get our girls going,” Smith said. ”When you talk about Final Four teams, you’ve got to be able to play half-court defense and you’ve got to be able to run a half-court offense. We shouldn’t have to rely on gimmick defenses. We’ve got to be able to play the brand of ball that I would like for us to play and then go to those plan B and plan C options. Our last three games we’ve been getting off to a sluggish start and if it’s a slump, I’m glad that we’re slumping now.”
After Winterboro tied it up, they were briefly unable to find an answer for how to stop Lincoln’s Ty Sillmon, who scored six straight points to give Lincoln a 13-7 lead.
Jasmine Richardson came up with a steal and two points just before the end of the first quarter to cut the lead to 13-11.
Lincoln and Winterboro battled back and forth for a good portion of the second quarter.
Richardson knocked down a 3-pointer to give Winterboro their first lead of the game at 22-21.
Sillman answered with a driving shot for two points to give Lincoln a 23-22 lead.
On the ensuing Winterboro possession, Richardson made a nice pass inside to Nadia Estelle for two points to help Winterboro regain the lead 24-23.
Ebony Barclay grabbed a rebound and made the putback shot to give Winterboro a 27-25 lead at halftime.
Winterboro came out much stronger in the second half. They started things off with a steal by Tiffany Vincent, while Richardson directed her team down the court and she found Anslea Twymon for an easy two points to put Winterboro ahead 29-25.
By the end of the third quarter, Winterboro had increased their lead to 34-28.
With 6:16 in the fourth quarter, Estelle scored two points off a pass from Richardson to give Winterboro the first double-digit lead of the game at 39-28. Twymon hit two free throws and Richardson made another basket to give Winterboro their biggest lead of the night at 43-28.
Lincoln showed some fight by going on an 8-1 run. Sillmon hit a pull-up jumper on a fast break to cut the Winterboro lead to 44-34. Sillmon scored four of the team’s eight points during the run.
Smith was impressed with the effort he saw from his opponent.
“What I learned about the Lincoln Lady Bears is they’re going to play us hard no matter what, no matter how many players are on the team, no matter how many players might be injured, we’re going to get their best,” he said. “Coach Bynum was saying that we’re probably their second or third rivalry and I definitely understand that. I’m not looking that far ahead because we’ve got to play them again on Thursday. Hopefully, we’ll have a better output. I don’t think we performed that well tonight, especially on the road. We’re making a lot of mental decisions the last two games. I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ve got to regroup because we’re not looking like the team that has earned the record and the ranking as of right now.”
Lincoln cut Winterboro’s lead down to eight points, but that was as close as they would come. With Winterboro holding a 51-41 lead, Raven Fomby hit a long-range three point shot at the buzzer, leaving the final score at 51-44.
Fomby finished the game as Lincoln’s second leading scorer with 11 points, while Tymeshika Sillmon led all scorers with 25 points.
Jasmine Richardson was the leading scorer for Winterboro, finishing with 20 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Nadia Estelle was the team’s second leading scorer with 10 points.
“The key to the win tonight was believing in our philosophy when it comes to breaking down certain things and trying to control certain areas of the game,” Smith said. “I think we’re a little battle-tested. We’ve been in situations like this before. Even if they had pulled the score to within two or three points, or even one, or even took the lead, these girls have been in situations where they’ve fought themselves out of it and sometimes they haven’t. But you kind of have to lean your hat on the experience of the girls. So, tonight, we just stuck to our core values and what we believe in and we prevailed with the win.”