E.A. Sports Today

High-powered final

Class 1A Area 10 final could see lots of points; Sacred Heart scores 104 in beating JCA; Spring Garden gets 87 against Donoho

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin sat in the far side bleachers and watched Sacred Heart put 43 points on Jacksonville Christian in the third quarter of their Class 1A Area 10 semifinal game Thursday night. He really doesn’t need any more reminders of the juggernaut his Panthers are going to face in the area tournament finals Saturday night.

Spring Garden made it to back to the area finals and qualified for the state tournament with an 87-53 victory over Donoho in McClellan’s Miller Gym. And once again three-time reigning state champion Sacred Heart is the roadblock that stands in its way.

The Cardinals put on a show force in a 104-48 rout of JCA, with Austin and the Panthers in the stands taking in every prolific minute of the it.

“They’ve gotten better every time I’ve seen them this year,” Austin said. “Tonight I thought they made the game look so easy. It looked so effortless when I watched them play, and that’s usually a sign of a really, really good team. They just make it look really easy the way they’re playing right now. … You know if you compete with them dogs you can run with any dog, they’re that good.”

The Panthers didn’t look too bad themselves. They were led by Dylan Rogers’ career-high 33 points and five assists, but got double figures from Dalton Rogers (12), Isiah Sanchez (11) and Weston Kirk (15). Kirk had 11 rebounds and Dalton Rogers had nine.

Although the Panthers took care of Donoho rather easily, there were some elements of their defense that caused Austin pause, especially some of the easy layups the Falcons were able to get that fit right into the things Sacred Heart does best.

Dylan Rogers and Kirk helped get the Panthers off to a fast start, combining for 21 points in a 25-10 first-quarter lead. Rogers took over in the second half, beating Donoho’s triangle-and-two for 22. He had eight in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth.

“What we’ve been seeing the last two weeks, he’s been really hitting a rhythm a little bit more and more; in our last regular-season game against Weaver he played really well,” Austin said. “We’ve been challenging him to be aggressive. Tonight and the last game of the regular season he’s been very aggressive.”

The winner of Saturday’s title game will host Area 15 runnerup Lindsay Lane (23-5), while the loser will travel to area champion Decatur Heritage (26-3).

Sacred Heart 104, Jacksonville Christian 48: The Cardinals hit 14 3-pointers in the game and scored a whopping 43 points in the third quarter as they qualified to play keep their state championship streak alive.

The unlikely event of an upset Thursday would have stopped them dead in their tracks, but surged to a 32-10 first-quarter lead behind the strength of six straight 3-pointers to take control of the biggest game of the year.

The Cardinals placed five scorers in double figures, led by Diante Wood’s 23 and Khalil Watkins’ 20. Victor Wilson hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter and six in the second half to finish with 18 points.

“I missed a couple shots in the first half and Coach Ralph (Graves) kept telling me to shoot it and it built my confidence,” Wilson said.

The Cardinals already had a 25-point lead at halftime and completely blew it out in the third quarter. The 43 points were two shy of what they scored the entire first half and – think about it – came at a clip of five points a minute. They had a 20-0 run in the middle of it.

“Having a 40-point quarter is huge; sometimes you can’t get 40 in a game,” Graves said. “I think we’ve been playing well in the third quarter all year. That’s a good thing to come out of the locker room with a mindset and a hunger to keep playing and to keep pouring on, pouring on. You can’t take these things lightly as you go on the playoff run to try to win another championship … I know we shot the ball really well and hopefully we continue to shoot it well.”


Spring Garden 87, Donoho 53
Seth Ford 3 0-0 9, Amari Smedley 5 1-4 14, Jacob LeCroy 4 4-4 13, Joseph O’Neill 0 0-0 0, Rod Elston 6 0-1 13, Turner Davis 1 0-2 2, Will Nelson 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 5-11 53.

SPRING GARDEN – Riley Austin 4-9 0-0 9, Cooper Austin 0-1 0-0 0, Dalton Rogers 5-10 0-2 12, Ashton Rogers 0 2-4 2, Dylan Rogers 15-23 0-1 33, Destin Richardson 0-0 0-0 0, Isiah Sanchez 5-8 0-0 11, Luke Welsh 1-2 3-3 5, Draven Bowman 0-2 0-0 0, Weston Kirk 6-14 2-2 15, Avery Gowens 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 36-72 7-14 87.

Donoho 10 13 19 11 — 53
Spring Garden 25 21 17 24 — 87

3-point goals: Donoho 8 (Ford 3, Smedley 3, LeCroy, Elston); Spring Garden 8-23 (R. Austin 1-4, C. Austin 0-1, Da. Rogers 2-2, Dy. Rogers 3-7, Sanchez 1-3, Bowman 0-2, Kirk 1-3, Gowens 0-1). Fouled out: Smedley. Total fouls: Donoho 18, Spring Garden 14. Officials: Montgomery, Ingram, Childs.

Sacred Heart 104, Jacksonville Christian 48
Elijah McCormack 1 2-2 4, Walker Messer 4 0-1 9, Eli Fair 2 0-0 6, Nash Messer 0 0-0 0, Chase Vinson 8 4-6 20, Chase Cobb 0 0-0 0, Kobe Messer 3 2-2 9. Totals 18 8-11 48.

SACRED HEART – Quin Riggins 6 1-2 16, Diante Wood 8 3-5 23, Victor Wilson 6 0-0 18, Jack Miller 0 0-0 0, Caleb Brown 6 3-4 15, Josh Brown 1 0-0 2, Stephen Stansil 2 0-0 4, JonRiley Miller 1 0-0 2, Khalil Watkins 8 3-3 20, K.D. Harris 1 0-2 2, Michael Astidillo 1 0-0 2. Totals 40 10-16 104.

JCA 10 10 18 10 — 48
Sacred Heart 32 13 43 16 — 104

3-point goals: JCA 4 (W. Messer, Fair 2, K. Messer); Sacred Heart 14 (Riggins 3, Wood 4, Wilson 6, Watkins). Total fouls: JCA 13, Sacred Heart 17. Officials: Montgomery, Ingram, Childs.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login