Windsor has won 25 games this season, but its four losses are what have had the biggest impact on the Knights.
“We lost at Gatewood, then to Southland at home a little later,” Windsor head coach Michael Johnson said. “Then to John Milledge at home and up there a few weeks later. Each one of those were eye-openers that told us we maybe weren’t as good as we thought we were.”
Whether by design or just the way the schedule fell, the dates against the trio from GISA’s highest classification, seemed to be strategically placed on the Class AA Knights’ slate.
Windsor lost 81-54 at Gatewood on Dec. 5, 68-66 at home to Southland on Dec. 20 and at home to John Milledge 66-64 on Jan. 10. The Knights dropped the return meeting with John Milledge 78-62 a little more than two weeks ago.
“We got our egos in check with those games, especially the (last) one with John Milledge,” Johnson said of the Trojans, who along with Gatewood is a quarterfinalist in the GISA Class AAA playoffs. “It made us realize we needed to play together every game to reach our potential.”
Windsor continues the quest to do that at 4:30 p.m. on Friday when it hosts Grace Christian (19-7) in the quarterfinals of the Class AA playoffs. The winner earns a spot in the Final Four next week at Mercer’s Hawkins Arena against the winner of Saturday’s game between Dawson Street Christian and Robert Toombs.
The Knights, who won the program’s first region title since 1981 last week, served notice in Thursday’s first round that they can be a handful for any opponent they’re likely to face the rest of the tournament. Windsor blasted Solid Rock 92-64 with a swarming defense that helped feed an offense that showed equal point potential outside the arc as inside the lane.
All five starters scored in double figures, led by senior Antonio McKinney’s 21 points. Windsor had 17 baskets from in and around the paint balanced by nine 3-pointers spread among five players.
“I’m surprised sometimes at the plays our guys make just from effort,” Johnson said, referring to the continued effort in Thursday’s blowout. “I tell them all the time they shock me with some of the things they do just competing. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The Knights, however, know it all could end without that kind of effort.
“We work as hard as we can in practice because we know that’s what it takes in the game,” said McKinney, who’s just a handful of points shy of 1,000 for his career. “When we play hard and keep each other focused, we know what we can do.”