Spring Garden once again had to rely on its 3-pointers Tuesday. And, once again, those shots carried the Lady Panthers to another win.
They drained seven from beyond the arc in the first half and finished with 11 in the game, lifting seventh-ranked Spring Garden to a 43-39 victory at Class 1A, Area 10 rival Cedar Bluff.
“We can’t depend on 3-pointers,” Austin said. “I’m glad we shot the ball well tonight, and that was a big difference in the game, but we didn’t handle other phases of the game. Their press obviously affected us. You’ve got to credit them for using their press to hang around, but I’m very disappointed in how we handled that.”
Junior guard/forward Haley Motes led the Lady Panthers (6-4, 2-0) with 15 points, including four 3-pointers. She also came away with nine rebounds.
“She got some big rebounds, and she leads us in scoring, but we’re asking her every night to give us more,” Austin said. “She’s got to have a presence somewhere around the basket. Most of her points come from the 3-point line.
“I’m proud of what she did give us, but she can be a better player. We’re trying to make her our go-to player, but to be that go-to player, we’ve got to have that dual threat out of her. We’ve got that single threat going pretty good when she’s shooting, but we’ve got to get more out of her.”
Madison Sides added 10 points, including three treys. Auburn Kirk finished with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Spring Garden got its outside shooting going early, connecting on three treys in the first quarter, but it was Cedar Bluff (6-6, 1-2) that held a 14-10 lead after one.
The Lady Panthers forged out in front at halftime 24-18 and maintained a 32-27 advantage after three quarters.
Cedar Bluff coach Joe Carpenter pointed to free-throw shooting being the Lady Tigers’ Achilles heel on Tuesday night. The Lady Tigers were just 8-of-24 from the line for the game.
“We missed enough free throws tonight that could have easily made up the difference,” he said. “I thought our girls gave outstanding effort. I thought they attempted to do what we ask them to do, but we still made some errors.”
Cedar Bluff senior forward Audrianna Hargitt led the Lady Tigers with 20 points, five rebounds and six steals. Hannah Leach added seven points and Marigrace Wilson netted five points. Katie McGinnis finished with four points, 11 boards, four assists and a pair of steals.