E.A. Sports Today

Lady Cards fall in final

Spring Garden runs over Sacred Heart for 1A Area 10 title; Alexandria starts strong in 5A Area 13 title game

By Roy Mitchell
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

SPRING GARDEN – The heartbeat of the Spring Garden dynasty pounds as strong as ever. The top-ranked Lady Panthers routed Sacred Heart 76-20 to win the Class 1A, Area 10 girls basketball championship Friday night.

Spring Garden (27-3) played a relentless man-to-man defense with full court pressure in the first quarter and made it look easy.

Their full-court trappers, often Tiyonna Rogers and Kerstin Bryant, forced quick passes. At the moment of the pressured pass, wings Macy Reedy or Payton McGinnis rotated, shifting in front of intended pass receivers. Inevitable steals resulted in quick scores.

Rogers was the top player on the press and consequently became the main beneficiary of the early steal-and-scores. She led all scorers with 21 points.

Ayanna Foster scored Sacred Heart’s first two baskets, but they were a drop in the bucket compared to the gaudy scoring of the Spring Garden show. The Lady Panthers led 24-7 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Spring Garden countered Sacred Heart’s triangle-and-two defense with a right-side pick and roll. The dribbler, A.J. Broome or Bryant, advanced to the right wing and pivoted, taking her defender into Rogers’ pick. Upon contact, Rogers released toward the basket, often receiving passes for the score.

When the Lady Cardinals (9-13) took away the roll, the driver advanced toward a lay-up or dish-off.

“We set up an overload to the right side and had Bootsie [Rogers] set a screen,” Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said. “Once we went through it a few times, it just blew wide open, and we were starting to get anything we wanted.”

Alyssa Bell scored Sacred Heart’s only four points of the quarter. Spring Garden held a hefty 47-11 lead at the half.

With Sacred Heart defenders sticking like glue to Spring Garden’s best two shooters, McGinnis and Reedy, AJ Broome capitalized with three 3-pointers in the third quarter. Broome and Bryant both chipped in 14 points apiece for the Lady Panthers. In the fourth quarter, Sacred Heart’s Myiah Harris connected with her second 3-pointer of the game and Foster added a basket. Harris led the Lady Cardinals with eight points.

Sacred Heart now travels to Area 15 champion Decatur Heritage for its first sub-regional girls basketball game in school history Monday night. Spring Garden will host Whitesburg Christian.

Though the Lady Panthers finished as both regular season and tournament champions, they know they know there’s so much more in front of them.

“It’s not just hope we have for the playoffs, it’s an expectation,” Austin said. “Expectation right now is not just the win. Expectation is how we approach the game, how we start the game, and how we finish the game. The mountaintop is down the road.”

Roy Mitchell is a Cherokee County Herald sports correspondent.

Lady Cubs power past Boaz

Alexandria came out sharp on both ends of the floor and rolled past Boaz 47-27 to claims the Class 5A Area 13 tournament title.

The Lady Cubs hit three of their seven 3-pointers in an 11-point first quarter while holding the Lady Pirates scoreless and stayed in control the rest of the night.

Kameron Simpson hit two of the first-quarter 3-pointers and had three in the first half when she scored all 11 of her points. Brie Bradford also had 11 points for the Lady Cubs.

CLASS 5A AREA 13 GIRLS

Alexandria 47, Boaz 27
BOAZ –
Lily Beth Morrison 1 2-2 2, Emily McDuffie 0 0-0 0, Jericha Lybrand 0 1-2 1, Emma Beck 1 0-0 3, Jayden Bobo 0 0-2 0, Sarah Diamond 1 1-1 3, Savanna Wood 1 0-1 2, Katie Ann Long 1 2-3 4, Gravie Duncan 0 0-0 0, Taylor Rutledge 1 2-2 4, Sarah Clontz 2 0-0 4, Camille Ford 1 0-0 2. Totals 9 8-13 27.

ALEXANDRIA – Ashley Phillips 2 2-2 8, Destiny Heathcock 0 2-2 2, Kayleigh Steen 1 0-0 3, Kaitlin Harvey 1 4-6 6, Kameron Simpson 4 0-0 11, Brie Bradford 4 3-3 11, Sarah Pelham 0 0-0 0, Allison Bonds 1 1-2 4, Maggie Phillips 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 12-15 47.

Boaz 0 8 6 13 — 27
Alexandria 11 13 7 16 — 47

3-point goals: Boaz 1 (Beck); Alexandria 7 (A. Phillips 2, Steen, Simpson 3, Bonds). Fouled out: Clontz. Total fouls: Boaz 18, Alexandria 19. Officials: Forbes, Killingsworth, Smith.

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