E.A. Sports Today

Dempsey delivers

Lone senior fires up six 3-pointers as purposeful Spring Garden girls sink Cedar Bluff, move on to another Northeast Regional final

Spring Garden’s Tiyonna Rogers attacks the basket in the Lady Panthers’ regional victory over Cedar Bluff. (Photo by Shannon Fagan)

By Shannon Fagan
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Spring Garden shooting guard Savannah Dempsey is the Lady Panthers’ lone senior, and she’s playing with a purpose.

She wants her senior year to end just like her junior year did – winning a Class 1A basketball state championship.

Dempsey and her teammates are one step closer to fulfilling their purpose following Friday’s 61-25 victory over Cedar Bluff in the Northeast Regional semifinals at Jacksonville State University.

Third-ranked Spring Garden (23-7) will now face Skyline in the regional final on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

Dempsey delivered a game-high 22 points that included six 3-pointers and complimented the inside presence of junior post Tiyonna Rogers, who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.

“I feel like when we play with a purpose, every part of our game is really good,” Dempsey said. “I feel like when Bootsie (Rogers) dominates for us, it really opens up the whole court and we can all see the floor.”

It took Dempsey almost an entire quarter before she connected on her first shot, a layup with less than 45 seconds remaining. She sank her first trey with 13.8 seconds to go, putting Spring Garden up 23-9 after a quarter of play.

“I thought we were playing keep away from her in the first half,” Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin joked. “We had her open a few times in the first half and we let it go. I asked them if they had a game going on that I didn’t know about, but we started finding her.”

The Lady Panthers held a 30-15 advantage at halftime, then went on a 19-8 run in the third quarter to take a 49-23 lead.

In addition to Rogers and Dempsey, Payton McGinnis added nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. AJ Broome had six points, nine boards, four assists and three steals. Kerstin Bryant finished with four points, four boards, five assists and three steals, and she played a big role on defense.

She had the responsibility of guarding Cedar Bluff freshman post player Alexis Smith most of the game and held Smith to 11 points and five rebounds. Julianne Wilson and Matison Bedwell both had four points for Cedar Bluff.

“We just had trouble scoring today,” Cedar Bluff coach Joe Carpenter said. “They played tough defense on us, and we didn’t rebound particularly as well as we should have.”

Shannon Fagan is sports editor of the Cherokee County Herald.

Spring Garden 61, Cedar Bluff 25
CEDAR BLUFF (13-19) –
Matison Bedwell 2-11 0-0 4, Kyla O’Neal 1-3 0-0 2, Julianne Wilson 2-5 0-2 4, Olina McClellan 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Smith 5-10 1-1 11, Jordyn Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Russell Givens 0-1 0-0 0, Emily Goss 1-2 0-0 2, Erin McFry 0-1 0-0 0, Kallie Kilgro 0-7 0-1 0, Maggie Clowdis 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Cosby 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 12-42 1-4 25

SPRING GARDEN (23-7) – AJ Broome 3-8 0-0 6, Kerstin Bryant 2-6 0-0 4, Savannah Dempsey 8-12 0-0 22, Payton McGinnis 2-6 4-6 9, Tiyonna Rogers 9-15 0-0 18, Katie Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Deana Lambert 0-0 0-0 0, Macy Reedy 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Jennings 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 24-47 6-8 61.

Cedar Bluff 9 6 8 2 — 25
Spring Garden 23 7 19 12 — 61

3-point goals: Cedar Bluff 0-18 (Bedwell 0-6, Wilson 0-3, Smith 0-3, Givens 0-1, McFry 0-1, Kilgro 0-3, Cosby 0-1); Spring Garden 7-18 (Broome 0-2, Bryant 0-3, Dempsey 6-10, McGinnis 1-2, Rogers 0-1). Rebounds: Cedar Bluff 22 (Smith 5); Spring Garden 34 (Broome 9, Rogers 9). Fouled out: McClellan. Total fouls: Cedar Bluff 13, Spring Garden 7. Officials: Nathan Rinckard, Julious Griffin, Josh Moon.

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