“We had a really good summer with those players,” noted coach Ricky Austin Tuesday morning.
The fall has been good, too. Spring Garden is off to a 4-0 start. The Panthers opened the season with a 54-26 win at Gaston on November 25 and haven’t slowed down since that game.
Austin credited strong defense for the strong start. The Panthers defend opponents from multiple sets and the players understand the requirements of each.
“There’s no reason why we can’t count on our defense,” Austin said. “That’s basically all we’re coaching every day at practice – defense, defense, defense. We’ll worry about offense when we get to that point but we’re really working hard on defense.”
In the win over Gaston, Motes led with 14 points, Gaines scored 13 and Rogers added nine points.
The following day, Spring Garden opened its four-team Thanksgiving tournament against Class 5A Boaz and won 50-48. The Panthers led the Pirates 16-0 after one quarter. Austin said the short roster challenged the Panthers in the fourth quarter when Boaz took a brief lead but the Panthers had enough grit to regain a four-point lead before Boaz scored the final basket of the game. Gaines scored 18 points and Rogers 14 against the Pirates.
In the tournament championship game on November 27, Spring Garden roared past Class 5A Springville 64-28. The Panthers led 38-7 at halftime and 62-19 after three quarters.
“We just played out of our minds that game,” Austin recalled. “It just got big quick. We played really well.”
Sides finished with 19 points. Motes scored 13 and Gaines added 10 as Spring Garden improved to 3-0.
The Panthers opened Class 1A, Area 10 action at Collinsville last Friday and won 43-29 despite the absence of Sides who missed the game due to illness. Rogers tallied 12 points against Collinsville. Reedy scored nine, Motes eight and Gaines seven. Kirk, who had missed four days of practices while she was sick, also scored seven.
Spring Garden continued Area 10 action last night, hosting Cedar Bluff. The Panthers travel to Anniston Friday to meet Faith Christian. Spring Garden hosts Sand Rock Saturday in an intra-county rivalry game that could feature two undefeated teams.