Panthers, Collinsville both 7-1 in area play
by Rip Donovan
Special to The Star
Jan 30, 2014 | 407 views |  0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Spring Garden won all three of its final Class 1A, Area 10 games last week and finished Area 10 action 7-1. The Panthers split with Collinsville, which also finished 7-1 in the area, and the site of the area tournament will be determined by a coin flip at Spring Garden. Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said Wednesday evening that the coin toss, initially set for Wednesday morning, had been re-set for Friday at 10 a.m. due to the accumulations of snow and ice on Tuesday and freezing temperatures throughout Wednesday.

Austin said if Spring Garden hosts both the boys and girls area tournaments, the plan is to play both No. 4 versus No. 5 games on Tuesday, February 4.

The inclement weather forced school officials to cancel Tuesday’s home game against Ranburne and Thursday’s game at Sand Rock. Austin said Wednesday evening that he expects Friday’s home game against Gaston will be played. He said he also hoped to play at Sand Rock Saturday morning then return home and play Ranburne Saturday evening. The Panthers were initially scheduled to play Faith Christian of Anniston Saturday afternoon but that meeting has been canceled at Faith’s request.

A 67-45 win over Coosa Christian in Gadsden on January 21 got the string of Area 10 wins started. Spring Garden led 43-18 at halftime and 62-31 after three quarters. Will Westbrook led the Panthers in scoring with 17 points. Will Ivey had 11 points. Dakota Lambert scored 10 points. Jacob Black and Jay Prater each scored nine points. Tanner Parker and Joe Rogers had four points apiece and Riley Austin scored three points.

Westbrook had a career-best 40 points at Gaylesville on January 23 as Spring Garden demolished the Trojans 78-26. Westbrook also had 10 rebounds, nine steals and four assists for the game. Black was Spring Garden’s only other player to score in double figures with 10 points. Prater and Ivey each tallied nine points. Rogers had seven points, Austin two points and Lambert one point.

At Cedar Bluff on January 24, Spring Garden had no difficulty defeating the Tigers. The Panthers won 61-34 after leading 36-19 at halftime. Westbrook led four Panthers with double-digit points. The senior ended with 19 points and recorded 11 rebounds. Lambert scored 14 points. Ivey had 12 points and Prater finished with 11 points. Rogers scored five points in the win.

“Our young kids are coming on and playing very important roles for us. Assuming we keep everybody healthy, I like how we’re finishing up,” Austin said Tuesday morning. “We’re really making a strong push here. We’ve got a lot of people doing some good things for us.”

Austin had said at the start of the season that the combination of injuries and youth made this year’s team one that would have to develop winning ways as the season progressed. Tuesday, he credited this year’s four seniors – Black, Ivey, Prater and Westbrook – win ensuring there was no panic in the early going.

“Our four seniors have done a very good job of keeping us where we need to be as far as what’s happening in regular season,” Austin noted. “They knew what the important games were and they responded. They’ve known when the important practices were and they’ve responded. Our young guys have done a good job of wanting to do their part. I’ve been very pleased with the team concept of our team and everybody doing what they should do.”
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Panthers, Collinsville both 7-1 in area play by Rip Donovan
Special to The Star

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