By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director
SPRING GARDEN – Spring Garden girls basketball coach Ricky Austin said he was disappointed with the energy the Lady Panthers had in the first half of their area game at Coosa Christian on Friday. He said the second half they did come out with a good amount of energy, but he wanted to see it the entire game.
On Tuesday, he saw just that.
Senior shooting guard Kayley Kirk connected on four first-quarter treys. She finished with seven total for the game and had a game-high 27 points in an 81-22 blowout of another area rival Jacksonville Christian.
“Coming out, it was our first home game, and we had a lot of energy and excitement,” Kirk said. “We were just feeling it.”
As Kirk said, it wasn’t just her who was feeling it. The Lady Panthers (7-0, 2-0) connected on 15 3-pointers in the game. They built a 32-6 edge by the end of the first quarter, thanks in part to an early 9-0 run by Kirk.
“I thought Kayley Kirk did an excellent job setting the tempo for us,” Austin said. “We were calling plays for her. As soon as we saw she was hot, every trip was for her. I thought she did a great job of putting the ball in the basket. On the flip side of that, I thought her teammates did a great job of looking for her, all of them. They really look for each other really well.
“I was very pleased with how we come out tonight. I think it being our first home game, a huge crowd, it had a little something extra. You could tell it at shoot around today. They had a playoff-like approach. I challenged them after the (Coosa Christian) game. That’s the way we’ve got to show up every night, no matter who we play.”
Kirk also blocked five shots, had three steals, three rebounds and an assist. Libby Brown delivered 12 points, eight boards, four assists, two steals and a block. Ace Austin added 11 points, seven assists, four boards, four steals and two blocks.
Avery Steward sank three treys and finished with nine points. Olivia Law netted seven points. Chloe Rule and Maggie Jarrett both had six points. Jarrett also added eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.
Kara Grace led Jacksonville Christian with six points. Peyton Walker finished with five.
Spring Garden led 53-11 at halftime and 75-18 after three quarters.
“We’ve had seven running clocks (so far this season), and that bothers me a little bit because we’re not getting 32 minutes of hard work in,” Coach Austin said. “We’ve got some games coming up where we’re going to have that, but at least we’re getting a lot of kids minutes. We saw that tonight.”