After dropping their region opener at Lanier the night before, the Winder-Barrow girls’ basketball team wanted to set the tempo early on in its home game against Apalachee on Saturday, Jan. 4.

The Bulldoggs did just that, using an aggressive defense and getting double-figure performances from three players as they cruised past the Wildcats 75-41 in a GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA contest.

“We wanted to try to speed up the pace of the game and set the tone and we handled our business tonight,” Winder-Barrow coach Kimberly Garren said. “The only problem was we fouled way too much, but overall we played really well.”

Senior Daisia Stillwell led the Bulldoggs (9-6, 1-1 region) with 25 points in three quarters before exiting the game. Sophomore Taniyah Parrish added 16 points, while senior Keirsten Jackson finished with 14.

Winder-Barrow employed a full-court press early and forced Apalachee (2-15, 0-2) into several turnovers, which led to a handful of quick buckets. Stillwell scored the first six points of the game to spark an 8-0 run and then bookended that with her team’s final six points of the half as the Bulldoggs carried a 37-20 lead into halftime and steadily built on that advantage throughout the second half.

“She had her best night of the year so far,” Garren said of Stillwell. “Not only scoring, but she had a lot of deflections and steals. She’s a smart player and that helps us.”

Parrish, who scored 14 of her 16 after the break, had a breakout performance on the glass as a freshman and has improved her all-around game as a sophomore, Garren said.

“She’s a key for us and is tough to handle,” Garren said. “She doesn’t even know her full strength and skill level, yet. She’s improved so much this year and has a real passion for the game. I can’t keep her out of the gym. She comes in and gets extra shots before and after practice and is developing into a leader, even vocally, which is what you need.”

Apalachee was led by Kesley Knox with 10 points, while Joanna Gross and Kelly Richardson contributed 8 points apiece.

Both teams will be back in region action at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, as the Bulldoggs host Habersham Central and the Wildcats host Gainesville.

“We still have a lot to learn,” Garren said of her team. “But we have depth, which is something we’ve not had in the past, and I’m excited about that and the younger kids getting more reps. And the things we’re messing up on now, we can improve on and fix. So, it’s just about pushing them and looking forward to them getting better and better each game and meshing together as a team.

“Because they’re fun to watch when they play their game together.”

A 10 10 11 10 — 41

W 24 13 22 16 — 75

A: Kesley Knox 10, Joanna Gross 8, Kelly Richardson 8, Kensley Kraus 5, Jasmine Williams 4, J’Nai Holloway 3, Averie Akin 3.

W: Daisia Stillwell 25, Taniyah Parrish 16, Keirsten Jackson 14, Torrie Sauls 7, Kiona Lindsay 4, Trinity Maxey 4, Keonna Hamler 3, Trinity Butler 2.

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