The Spring Garden girls picked up arguably their biggest win of the season to date Monday when they defeated reigning Calhoun County champion Anniston 52-39 at Spring Garden. The Panthers are now 23-2 and the victory over Anniston avenged one of their two losses.
In winning, the Panthers were able to limit Anniston post player Toniah Foster, the 2918 Calhoun County tournament MVP, to two points. Although the Bulldogs were taller and longer on the inside than their Spring Garden counterparts, the only Anniston player to score in double figures was guard Allasha Dudley who had 15 points.
“It was just a great defensive effort. I just can’t say enough about how well Payton McGinnis and Kerstin Bryant played, being undersized so much. They did a great job of staying between their bigs and the goal and yet not letting them get their position on the block to where they could score easy,” Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said Tuesday afternoon. “Our other defenders did a great job of helping. It was just a great, great defensive effort. If it hadn’t have been for our defense we’d have gotten blown out.”
Spring Garden led just 8-6 after one quarter. Austin said there wasn’t enough ball movement in the first half. That changed in the third quarter when the Panthers went on a 15-7 run, led by Macy Reedy with two 3-point baskets.
In addition to their stellar defense, Bryant and McGinnis each scored 13 points. McGinnis also led in rebounds with nine. Bryant added five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Reedy and A.J. Broome each tallied seven points. Broome had five boards and two assists. Tiyonna Rogers had six points and four rebounds. Neely Welsh scored four points and grabbed three boards. Chloe Jarrett scored two points. The Panthers had just 11 turnovers, more than meeting a team goal of fewer than 15 turnovers.
The Panthers closed out an 8-0 sweep of their Class 1A, Area 10 games with three easy wins last week. On Jan. 23, Spring Garden got a 59-19 road win over Jacksonville Christian. On Thursday, the Panthers defeated Sacred Heart 65-18 in a game played at Anniston’s Miller Gym. At Faith Christian of Anniston on Friday, Spring Garden won 77-27.
Eleven players scored against Faith Christian, led by McGinnis with 15 points. Rogers scored 14 points and Bryant had 10 points. Madison Jennings netted nine points. Brome scored eight points and Welsh added seven points. Jarrett, Reedy, Katie Williams and Lexy Adkison each contributed three points. Breanna Rogers added two points.
In the win over Sacred Heart, Reedy was 6-for-9 from 3-point land and paced the Panthers with 18 points. Tiyonna Rogers scored 12 points, Welsh 11 and Broome 10. McGinnis ended with eight points. Adkison, Jarrett and Jennings each had two points. Welsh led on the boards with seven rebounds. Bryant dished out six assists and made four steals.
Twelve Panthers scored against Jacksonville Christian. Jarrett and Tiyonna Rogers had eight points apiece. Breanna Rogers followed with seven points. Broome and Jennings had six points apiece. Adkison, Suzie Carter, McGinnis and Abbey Steward each had four points. Bryant and Welsh scored three points each. Williams ended with two points. Welsh, McGinnis and Jarrett had five boards apiece. Reedy led in steals with three.
The No. 4 versus No. 5 games in the Class 1A, Area 10 tournaments for girls and boys, each matching Jacksonville Christian against Faith Christian, will be played at Spring Garden on Monday. Thereafter, the boys will play at Miller Gym in Anniston while the girls tournament continues at Spring Garden.