Richardson leads Winterboro past Notasulga
by ERICH HILKERT
ALPINE-Jasmine Richardson scored 14 of her career-high 37 points in the fourth quarter to lead Winterboro past 76-64 in the Class 1A Central Sub-Regional Tournament on Thursday.

Winterboro moves on to the Central Regional tournament to play Keith on Monday at 6 p.m. at Alabama State University in Montgomery.

“That’s her highest point total for me,” Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith said. “I think that’s like her fourth or fifth 30-something point game. She hasn’t had a 30-something point game since her freshman year. Honestly, her having 37 points is outstanding. 37—that is a great, great accolade for her. I’m proud of her. She was aggressive. She didn’t get rattled because she’s been through all that. She’s played teams that intentionally push her, hard foul her, box in on her. Jasmine’s a gamer, so I’m glad to have her on my team.”

Notasulga had the early momentum, jumping out to an 8-2 lead after Brittany Cobb hit a 3-pointer. Then, Winterboro went on an 8-2 run to cut the lead down to 10-8. Anslea Twymon got a steal and easy layup during the run and Richardson capped the run with a 3-pointer.

Notasulga continued to go inside with Breanna Johnson scoring three baskets inside the paint in the first half. Chiquita Jackson, Ambra Brown, JyBriek’a Lindsay, and Brittany Cobb scored inside the paint as well. Brown’s lay in basket down low put Notasulga in the lead at the end of the first quarter, 19-17.

Richardson started the second quarter with a jump shot from the corner to tie it at 19-19. Chanel Phillips scored two points down low to give Winterboro their first lead of the game at 25-23, many of the Bulldog Nation’s fans rose to their feet and cheered.

Morgan Merritt hit a 3-pointer to give Winterboro a 35-31 lead, but Notasulga closed out the second quarter on a 6-0 run.

Alexandria James scored a transition basket to put Notasulga in the lead at halftime, 37-35.

Winterboro went five for 13 on free throws in the second quarter.

Notasulga started the third quarter on a 10-0 run. Jackson capped the run with a basket in the paint to push Notasulga’s lead to 47-35.

Winterboro closed out the quarter on a 9-0 run. Richardson converted a three-point play that got the crowd back on their feet. Then, she came up with a steal and a resulting two points. Next, Richardson took a charge on the defensive end, which was Cobb’s fifth foul. Prior to her fouling out, Jackson had fouled out at the 4:54 mark in the third quarter. To close out the quarter, Twymon came up with a steal and a layup basket to cut the lead down to 51-47.

Richardson opened the fourth quarter with a block and pushed the ball forward to Nadia Estelle for an easy transition basket. Phillips got a transition basket after that and Richardson made a fadeaway jumper from the corner to give Winterboro the lead, 53-51. Twymon came up with another transition basket to push the lead to 55-51.

With 5:14 left in the fourth quarter, Alexandria James fouled Richardson, her fifth foul. Richardson sank both of the free throws to give Winterboro a 57-55 lead.

Notasulga was in foul trouble beginning in the second quarter and now found themselves with three players having fouled out. From the start of the game, Winterboro appeared aggressive in challenging Notasulga to get into foul trouble and the strategy was paying dividends.

“That’s really our strategy for every game,” Smith said. “We feel like we’ve got four guards on the floor, no matter if they’re starting or not. We feel like it’s difficult to match up with us. If you’re in foul trouble, that makes my philosophy for this team even greater. We’ve got girls that can shoot as well, so we mixed them in to try to balance it out. We believe in team basketball here. When they got into foul trouble, we still just really did the same thing. We had one period in the third quarter where the girls were kind of sort of cracking up a little bit. I really had to get on to them about that because we don’t crack up on each other. We’ve been in situations in the duration of my tenure before, so it’s not like we haven’t been in that situation before. So, we regained our composure, we regained our heart, and really fought back tonight.”

Winterboro continued their strong defensive performance with Twymon coming up with yet another steal pushing the ball ahead to Phillips for another transition basket to make it 59-55.

In the last 2:35 of play, Richardson went 6-6 from the free throw line while also grabbing a rebound and getting two points on the putback as Winterboro closed out the game on a 9-3 run to seal the win.

Winterboro battled back from being 12 down to winning by 12, 76-64.

Phillips contributed 11 points, while Twymon chipped in nine points.

© 2013