Playing at home on December 10, Spring Garden handled area opponent Cedar Bluff, the team that defeated the Panthers in last year’s Northeast Regional tournament championship game, 65-34. The Spring Garden girls led 22-8 after one quarter and 41-11 at halftime. Darian Gaines had a big first quarter for the Panthers with 12 points. Tykeah Rogers picked up in the second quarter and scored 13 points.
Gaines finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, five steals and two assists. Rogers scored 15 points and grabbed an equal number of rebounds. She also had four steals. Emory Reedy scored 12 points. Haley Motes had eight points. Point guard Auburn Kirk had a pair of 3-point baskets for six points and handed out four assists. Madison Sides had eight rebounds, three assists and three points.
“We were getting some really good balanced scoring,” Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said of the Cedar Bluff action.
The win over Faith Christian was another blowout. This time Spring Garden won 73-15 after leading 40-11 at intermission.
Gaines hit five of her six 3-point tries on her way to 23 points and had three assists. Motes had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. She also made four steals and had three assists. Rogers recorded 14 points, four rebounds and three steals. Sides had nine points and three assists. Kirk scored five points, Reedy four points and Alex Robertson three points.
Saturday night Sand Rock handed the Panthers their first loss by a 46-37 margin. Spring Garden led 13-7 after one quarter then Sand Rock rallied with a 24-9 run in the second quarter.
“They outscored us 24-9 in the second quarter and that was kind of the difference in the game,” Austin said. “We got in foul trouble. Both post players got in foul trouble in the second quarter. … We were dominating up to that point. We were really playing well.”
Gaines scored 16 points against Sand Rock but no other Spring Garden player reached double figures. Rogers had six points, Sides five, Reedy four, Robertson three and Kirk three.
Gaylesville came to Spring Garden for an area game Monday and the Panthers won 74-26. Sides netted 10 of her 11 free throw attempts and ended with 17 points. She also had seven rebounds. Motes scored 17 points and added eight rebounds, six steals and two assists.
Rogers and Gaines also scored in double figures. Rogers had five steals and five rebounds to go with her 13 points. Gaines scored 10 points and dished out five assists. Kirk was solid as usual with eight points, eight assists, three steals and only one turnover. Reedy scored seven points and Robertson had two points.
Now 7-1, Spring Garden continued area play Tuesday with a home game against Coosa Christian. The Panthers play in the Cherokee Invitational Thursday against Glencoe. The game starts at 4 p.m. in the Gadsden State-Cherokee arena. A win puts the Panthers into the semifinals on Friday at 5:30 p.m. against the Collinsville versus Sand Rock winner.