Jasmine Richardson drives to the basket on the fast break against Spring Garden. (Daily Home)
LINCOLN — Spring Garden dealt the Winterboro girls basketball team its first loss of the season Wednesday at the Lincoln Thanksgiving Invitational Tournament by the score of 44-37.
Spring Garden’s 12-0 run, which began in the first quarter, pulled the Lady Panthers far enough ahead and they never looked back.
“We got a little run there and then another one right before the half and one in the third,” said Spring Garden head coach Ricky Austin. “We got some fast break points off of them and that was the difference in the game. If you take away our fast-break points it’s probably an even ball game.”
Spring Garden made the Class 1A Elite Eight last season, and Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith said his players knew what they were up against in the early-season matchup.
“If we want to get to the championship level, you have to play against championship teams, championship players and championship coaches,” Smith said. “There was a bit of a nervousness like we had last year in the Sweet 16. But I think we could have performed a little bit better.
“When you’re playing against a team that’s been in those types of situations before, they’ll bend but won’t break. We were in that situation a few times last year, but we broke on a number of occasions today.”
Haley Motes led Spring Garden (3-0) with 15 points.
“(Motes) got a couple of aggressive baskets going to the hoop but I thought she could have been more aggressive in the half-court,” Austin said. “She played an average game but we had too many missed opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of that I thought could have made a bigger difference.”
Auburn Kirk added nine points for the Lady Panthers while Dallas Smith had eight.
Winterboro (2-1) was led by Jasmine Richardson’s 18 points.
“In my opinion she can play a lot better than she played because of the way I’m challenging her,” Smith said. “I’m probably tougher on her than anybody else. I’m glad she was in this situation because she saw what it’s like to play a good team.”
Anslea Twymon added six points for the Lady Bulldogs in the loss.
Winterboro jumped out to a 6-2 lead thanks to four points from Kimberly Hardy.
However that lead was erased quickly, and Winterboro never got back in front.
Spring Garden went on a 12-0 run which extended into the second quarter, as Kirk and Motes each scored twice to give the Lady Panthers a 14-6 lead.
Richardson ended Winterboro’s drought in the second quarter. The Lady Bulldogs came within five points twice with a free throw from Chanel Phillips and a basket from Jamie Duncan, but by halftime Spring Garden had pulled ahead by nine at 27-16.
Richardson had a hot start to the third quarter, as the sophomore had eight points, a steal and a rebound in the first two and a half minutes of the period.
Twymon’s basket cut the Spring Garden lead to 30-27, but it was as close as Winterboro would get for the rest of the day.
The Lady Panthers closed out the third quarter with a 9-2 run to take a 10-point lead into the third quarter at 39-29.
The clock was not Winterboro’s friend in the fourth quarter, and it took the Lady Bulldogs five full minutes did not score for the first five minutes and Spring Garden managed to hold off the Lady Bulldogs for the seven-point win.
“We made a sub, and we knew we had to get Jasmine Richardson back in the game,” Smith said. “But at the same time, Tanesha Merritt did give us some scoring opportunities. We need some more help from the post players. We’re still trying to put some things together and we never want to be a one-person team.”
On Monday, the Lady Bulldogs blew out Victory Christian 77-21 in their first game of the tournament.
Richardson put up 26 points and 12 rebounds in the win. Twymon scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Merritt had 14 point and four boards.
Spring Garden will travel to Ohatchee Tuesday while Winterboro is scheduled to travel to Vincent Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game.
Read more:The Daily Home - Spring Garden takes down Lady Bulldogs 44 37