Not even a new head coach altered Winnsboro’s winning approach.
Winnsboro worked the outside game to near-perfection, sinking seven 3-pointers in the first period to set the table for a 78-46 win over John Tyler in the girls’ basketball season opener for both teams Wednesday at Wagstaff Gym.
First-year coach Chris Lewis led Winnsboro to a customary result for a program built into one of the top in Texas by Buddy Hawkins. Before retiring last spring, Hawkins guided Winnsboro to 12 state tournament appearances, three titles and more than 700 victories.
“For months I’d been nervous, but once we got out (on the court) I wasn’t as nervous,” said Lewis, who has coached in Winnsboro nine years. “Everyone wants to talk about what’s down the road. It feels good to get the first one out the way.”
Brea Draper, an all-state performer during Winnsboro’s run to the Class 2A state championship game last year, posted 21 points and seven rebounds to lead the second-ranked Lady Raiders.
Holly Stone scored 16 points and Hannah Pinnell provided 14 points for Winnsboro.
The Lady Raiders ripped the nets for 11 3-pointers, shooting 55 percent from long-distance. Winnsboro even added a pair of conventional-three point plays while building a 22-point cushion in the second period.
“Shooting fixes everything,” Lewis said. “Shooting like that was a great way to start.”
LaTifah Rainey, a 6-1 senior post coming off an All-East Texas season, carried JT with 23 points and 17 rebounds. Rainey shot 10 for 11 from the field, making eight of her shots directly on putbacks.
No other JT player reached double figures, including Tiaka Lee, the team’s leading scorer last year, who totaled three points and two assists.
Winnsboro finished the first period on a 17-4 run, getting three consecutive treys — the first from Pinnell and the next two from Cox, to take a 20-6 advantage.
After Rainey scored on a putback, Pinnell popped another bomb from the left corner and Robyn Davis converted a three-point play to make it 26-8.
On the other end, Winnsboro wore down JT with its constant hustle, forcing 26 turnovers, including 18 in the first half. Winnsboro rotated seven players in an out of the lineup, with each one making a scoring contribution.
“We don’t have a deep bench but I have seven that can play,” Lewis said. “We’re not running a full-blown rotation like what coach Hawkins always did. But when a kid’s tired, they can’t do much good if they can’t play defense.”
Winnsboro 78, John Tyler 46
WINNSBORO—Hannah Pinnell, 14; Mackenzie Wanner, 5; Danielle Mabry, 6; Holly Stone, 16; Hayley Cox, 9; Brea Draper, 21; Robyn Davis, 7. FG 25-54 FT 17-27.
JOHN TYLER—DeShalyn Jones, 1; Tiaka Lee, 3; Tameal Jones, 8; Amia Wickware, 9; Nola Jackons, 2; LaTifah Rainey, 23. FG 19-53 FT 7-17.
THREE-POINT GOALS—Winnsboro 11-20 (Pinnell 4, Stone 4, Cox 2, Draper, Mabry), John Tyler 1-11 (Jones). Rebounds—Winnsboro 33 (Draper, Davis 7), John Tyler39 (Rainey 17). Assists—Winnsboro 18 (Mabry 6), John Tyler 7 (Lee, Jones, Jackson, 2).
RECORDS—Winnsboro 1-0; John Tyler 1-0.
NEXT UP—Winnsboro at Liberty-Eylau, 6 p.m., Tuesday; John Tyler at Palestine, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday.
Winnsboro 57, John Tyler 18
WINNSBORO—Rios, 2; Hamby, 4; Crow, 11; Johnson, 16; Cox, 5; Swawnner, 10; Ramierez, 8; Busby, 1.
JOHN TYLER—Linton, 1; Brown, 5; Young, 2; Lee, 1; Hill, 4; Ward, 5.
THREE-POINT GOALS—W: Johnson (2), Ramirez (2).
RECORDS—Winnsboro 1-0; John Tyler 0-1.
NEXT UP—Winnsboro at Liberty-Eylau, 4:30 p.m., Tuesday; John Tyler at Palestine, 5 p.m., Tuesday.