Saturday, February 22, 2020






Spring Garden Lady Panthers Present Coach Ricky Austin Win No. 600 – and Counting …

   MONTGOMERY – Spring Garden High School’s veteran girls’ basketball coach Ricky Austin coached his 600th win in of all places – Georgia – earlier this season. The Panthers beat Haralson County (GA) in the first round of the Haralson County Invitational tourney at Tallapoosa (Ga) 51-24 on December 28.
    Two weeks later, Spring Garden (20-2) played an almost perfect game to beat Jacksonville Christian 96-39 for its 10th win in a row. The red-hot Panthers and their legendary coach grab this week’s AHSAA Girls’ Basketball Spotlight.
   Austin (607-161), now in his 24th season as head girls’ coach, started the season with a 587-159 career girls’ basketball record and five Class 1A state titles (2018, 2016, 2008, 2005, 2004). The Panthers also have three runner-up finishes (2017, 2015, and 2002) during that span. His record does not reflect the approximately 200 wins his boys’ teams at Spring Garden have won.
      This year’s team is currently 20-2 heading into Friday night’s semifinal game in the Cherokee County tourney. The two losses came by a combined four points to Lauderdale County (45-44) on December 19 and Collinsville (47-44) on Nov. 26.
      Wife his wife, Dana, coaching his side, Spring Garden has become a household name when it comes to girls’ basketball in the AHSAA. Dana and her twin sister Jana played on Spring Garden’s first state championship team in 1987 and then starred at Jacksonville State.
     In the win over Jacksonville Christian, the Lady Panthers scored 41 points in the first quarter – sinking shots on 17 of their first 25 attempts from the floor. The team forced 19 turnovers in that stretch and with just over a minute remaining in the first half, Austin had gotten every player into the game and had scored on 68.6% percent of their 35 possessions to build a 56-11 lead.
  “I wish I could duplicate that every game. That would be a great year,” Austin told an East Alabama Sports reporter. “It was pretty precise.”
      Macy Reedy and Kayley Kirk led that win with 14 points each. All 14 players on the team scored and the Panthers canned 15 3-point attempts. Reedy and Abbie Steward had four each. Four other players had at least one each.  Jacksonville Christian’s Rebekah Carter had 21 points for the Thunder.
   Other top girls’ performances reported from last week:

MADISON PARKER, WEST END: Canned two free throws with no time remaining lift West End to a 45-44 win over Sardis in the Etowah County tournament.
IVEY MADDOX, GOOD HOPE: Sank two free throws with six seconds remaining in overtime to lift Good Hope past Hanceville 52-48 in overtime. She finished with 22 points. Kelly Pickett had 25 for Hanceville.

JENNA WALKER, PRICEVILLE: Dished out 11 assists, scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in a 54-24 victory over Danville.
CORDASIA HARRIS, CENTRAL-HAYNEVILLE: Scored 34 points in a 64-39 win over Highland Home and 31 in a 59-34 victory over Luverne for the Central (13-3).
BELLA MILLIRONS, COOSA CHRISTIAN: Had 30 points and teammate India Brown added 18 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists as the Conquerors beat Westbrook Christian 71-40.
AALIYAH POSTMA, LEE-MONTGOMERY: Scored 21 points to lead the Lady Generals to a 43-38 come-from-behind win over Enterprise. The Wildcats led 29-21 heading into the final period but Lee outscored the hosts 22-9 in the final eight minutes to seal the win. She had 12 points in the final quarter.
JANIYA LABYZON, VIGOR: Led all scorers with 28 points in a win over LeFlore.
ELSIE HARRIS, B.C. RAIN: Scored 29 points in a 63-52 victory over Baldwin County.

ASHLEY PHILLIPS, ALEXANDRIA: Sank five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points in the Valley Cubs’ 66-55 win over Etowah.
FARRAH PEARSON, HAZEL GREEN: Had a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds in a 45-33 victory over Buckhorn.

RANDREA WRIGHT, CARVER-BIRMINGHAM: Had 24 points and 10 assists against Homewood and 15 points and 10 assists against Jackson-Olin.

JAYDN POWELL, HUEYTOWN: Posted 17 points and 13 rebounds against Jackson-Olin, 17 points and 17 rebounds against Gardendale and eight points and six rebounds against Thompson.

SARAH ASHLEE BARKER, SPAIN PARK:  Scored 20 points against Mountain Brook and added 26 points against Hewitt-Trussville.
MONTANA HARRIS, HELENA: Had 28 points and five steals against Calera and 17 points against Pelham.
EMMA SMITH, VESTAVIA HILLS: Had 18 points and 10 rebounds in upset win over Hewitt-Trussville.

NIAIRA JONES, CHARLES HENDERSON: Scored 22 points to lead the unbeaten Trojans (145-0) to a 49-36 win over Carroll.
KAROLINE STRIPLIN, GENEVA COUNTY: Totaled 27 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead Geneva County (13-4) past Houston County 74-34.
ZAKYRIA JOHNSON, ARITON: Scored 18 points and cleared 10 rebounds in the Purple Cats’ 36-31 win over Cottonwood.
MYA BARNES, CARVER-MONTGOMERY: Had a career-high 17 rebounds, six blocked shots, five assists and a season-best 17 points in a 70-57 win over Park Crossing. She followed with 11 points and nine boards in a 69-52 win over Park Crossing for the Wolverines (14-4).

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