Eutawville native Robin Capers was practically born with a basketball in her hands.
"My grandfather built us a basketball court and encouraged us to play sports all the time and at school," Capers said. "We used to play all the time when I was younger.”
At 5-feet, 5-inches tall, Capers ended up playing forward on the Holly Hill High School's basketball team where she excelled at scoring and rebounding.
Capers says her love for the game comes out in full force during the NCAA tournament and March Madness.
“Bracketology” has become her passion.
"I love doing the bracket," she said. "I am glued to the TV seeing what team will make it to March Madness and to see who is going to play."
Capers estimates she has been filling out a bracket for at least the past 20 years.
"I do it every year," she said. "Sometimes I win and sometimes I guess. I like to go against the number-one seeds."
This year Capers not only filled out a bracket, she also won The Times and Democrat's 2019 College Basketball Bracket Contest.
Her winnings include a six-month Black Card Membership to Planet Fitness as well as a $100 Visa gift card.
"I was shocked," Capers said about her victory. "I did not realize that I won anything."
Participants made bracket selections before the tip-off of the first game on March 21.
"We have had online brackets in the past, but this was the first year with this particular format," T&D Publisher Cathy Hughes said. "Since the NCAA basketball tournament is such popular sports event, we wanted to give our readers and online audience a chance to test their knowledge in a turn-key format."
Hughes expressed the newspaper’s appreciation to Planet Fitness in Orangeburg for sponsoring the contest.
The contest was open to any 18 years and older and ran from March 19 through April 8. About 85 people participated.
The winner was selected based on a total score point system calculated by correct selections in all five rounds of the tournament as well as the championship game. The person with the most points won the contest.
Capers said she did not have a specific strategy. She and her son looked at stats to compare teams.
Capers estimates she typically gets about 50 percent of the bracket right each year. The same happened this year.
While she selected the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the championship, she did have the Texas Tech Red Raiders finishing in the Final Four.
Texas Tech did make it to the championship game before being defeated by the Virginia Cavaliers.
Now that the bracket season is over, Capers says friendly competition will continue among her family.
"We might play a pick-up game to see who still has it," Capers said, with a laugh.