E.A. Sports Today

Redemption Garden

Spring Garden girls win 1A title, erase demons from last year’s heartbreaking loss in title game

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM — Redemption.

The Spring Garden girls basketball team got the redemption they’ve sought all year Thursday, when they beat Phillips 52-38 for the Class 1A state championship that eluded them in the final second a year ago.

Tiyonna Rogers was named tournament MVP. Macy Reedy joined her on the all-tournament team.

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“I don’t have words right now, it’s just emotions,” Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said. “I don’t know why this one’s so special; it’s special. Payton (McGinnis) told you guys after last year’s loss this team will be back and for 364 days we’ve heard that from Payton and the rest of this team. It’s nice not just to get back but finish.”

There was also redemption for AJ Broome, the point guard in the middle of the last-second play that led to the Lady Panthers’ loss to R.A. Hubbard last year.

She responded Thursday with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.

“She took the loss last year and for 365 days it’s been hard,” Austin said, pausing to check his emotions. “It’s over.”

“There comes a point where you just have to move on,” Broome said. “You can’t think ‘I hope I don’t do that again,’ you’ve just got to think ‘I’m not going to do that again.’ To work that hard and keep that in the back o our mind and now to win and erase last year, it’s amazing.”

Redemption was delivered in the form of seven 3-pointers in the first quarter – all of their points – in opening a 21-10 lead. They were the haymakers Austin said his team had to deliver to combat Phillips’ size and length.

Reedy was 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the quarter, coming out and doing “what I had to do as a shooter,” and finished with 12 points. Rogers had 15, 15 rebounds and three steals.

Curiously, the 3-ball stopped falling for the Lady Panthers (32-3) after the first quarter; they were 0-for-7 in the second quarter and 1-for-14 the rest of the game. After the hot opening, they didn’t hit another trey again until midway through the third quarter.

But when their shot wasn’t falling, they did what all good teams do. They picked up their defense and held Phillips to four points in the third quarter, carrying a 17-point lead into the final eight minutes to ensure no repeat of the heart wrenching drama of a year ago.

The Lady Bears (29-4) got it back as close as 10 with two minutes left, but then had to foul in hopes to getting the ball back and Spring Garden hit 8-of-10 free throws in the double bonus, including their last six in a row.

The Lady Panthers scored all their points in the first quarter from the 3-point line and all their points in the fourth quarter from the free throw line.

“I can’t even put it into words either,” McGinnis said. “To know that everything we did for the last 364 days we’re now seeing all the rewards. We wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

CLASS 1A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP
Spring Garden 52, Phillips 38
PHILLIPS (29-4) –
Baily Bishop 1-3 0-0 2, Gracie Hallman 5-13 0-1 12, Alicyn McCollum 4-7 0-0 8, Misty Dishner 3-14 0-0 6, Amber Markham 0-0 0-0 0, Julianna Taylor 3-7 0-0 8, Mary Hyde 0-0 0-0 0, Caitlin Martin 0-2 0-0 0, Alexia Hajjar 1-7 0-0 2, Autumn Edwards 0-1 0-0 0, Allie Veal 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-54 0-1 38.

SPRING GARDEN (32-3) – AJ Broome 1-5 1-4 7-9 10, Katie Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Macy Reedy 4-7 0-0 12, Kerstin Bryant 2-9 2-2 7, Kristin Tierce 0-0 0-0 0, Neely Welsh 0-1 0-0 0, Payton McGinnis 2-7 2-4 8, Tiyonna Rogers 5-13 5-8 15, Chloe Jarrett 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Jennings 0-0 0-0 0, Breanna Rogers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-42 16-23 52.

Phillips 10 10 4 14 — 38
Spring Garden 21 9 11 11 — 52

3-point goals: Phillips 4-20 (Hallman 2-4, McCollum 0-1, Dishner 0-6, Taylor 2-4, Martin 0-2, Hajjar 0-2, Edwards 0-1); Spring Garden 8-27 (Broome 1-4, Reedy 4-7, Bryant 1-8, Welsh 0-1, McGinnis 2-7). Rebounds: Phillips 34 (Taylor 10, McCollum 8); Spring Garden 37 (T. Rogers 15, Bryant 6). Fouled out: Taylor. Total fouls: Phillips 21, Spring Garden 4. Officials: McKinsley Marbury, Duane Burks, Anthony Dupree.

All-tournament team: Tiyonna Rogers, Spring Garden (MVP); Colby Cox, Loachapoka; Amber Richardson, Linden; Allicyn McCollum, Phillips; Macy Reedy, Spring Garden; Gracie Hallman, Phillips.

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