CEDAR BLUFF – There have been numerous special record-setting players in Spring Garden’s illustrious basketball history, including several of senior guard/forward Weston Kirk’s family members.
On Thursday night at Cedar Bluff, Kirk etched his name alongside of them in a 93-49 victory.
Kirk fell a point short of tying a Panther boys scoring record with 52 points in a single game. The school record was set by David “Skillet” Jones, who scored 53 against Donoho in 1992. Kirk’s point performance also surpassed his dad Shane’s 47 points and his grandfather Sam’s 49 points.
His cousin, Paige Anderson McDonald, holds the all-time school record with 56 points in a game.
“It’s amazing. I never thought I’d do something like this,” an emotional Kirk said. “I never thought I’d outscore my dad. I didn’t even know I had 50 points until they told me. I just go out there and try to play my game every day. I’ve been putting in the work, and I guess it’s paying off just at the right time. Hopefully I can carry this over to the area tournament.”
Kirk connected on eight 3-pointers in the game. He also grabbed 19 rebounds, dished out five assists, blocked two shots and had a steal. He scored 30 of his points in the first half.
Spring Garden head coach Ricky Austin said he didn’t know until near the end of the third quarter that Kirk had a shot at setting a record.
“They told me he had 43, that’s the first thing I heard,” Austin said. “I told Coach (Jason) Howard ‘I’m going to let him go for it.’ I was about ready to start rotating people out, but then I heard he had 43 in the third, and I said ‘Shoot, he’s worked too hard.’
“A kid that works as hard as he does and loves it, you just let them go. I’m not going to take that away from them. He was hot, but the hours and hours he’s spent in the gym since he was a little kid, and especially the last two or three weeks, he’s really worked his tail off. That’s the reward he gets.”
After the game, Austin swapped one of his basketballs for a game ball with Cedar Bluff coach Joe Carpenter and presented it to Kirk to commemorate the occasion.
“He deserves it,” Austin said. “I’m proud of him and proud for him. That’s a big night for him and a big night for us. I’ve been coaching basketball I don’t know how many years now, but that’s the first time we’ve had somebody just really challenge the scoring record at the school. I’m kind of proud it’s happened on my clock a little bit.”
Kirk wasn’t the only Panther to have a big night for Class 2A, No. 8 Spring Garden (16-7).
Cooper Austin connected on four treys in the first half and had 14 points. Chaz Pope collected 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Luke and Cam Welsh finished with six and five points respectively.
Spring Garden held a 25-18 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but then Kirk caught fire in the second. He rang for 26 of his points and sank five of his treys in the quarter, pushing the Panther lead to 58-34.
Kirk kept it going in the third by scoring 17 more points, helping give Spring Garden a commanding 85-43 edge.
Conner Flynt led Cedar Bluff with 12 points. Bucky Leek tallied 11 points and Anbre Leek added nine points on three first-quarter treys. Dylan Kinard finished with seven points.
Spring Garden 85, Cedar Bluff 23
CEDAR BLUFF – The Class 2A, No. 2 Spring Garden Lady Panthers were without starting forward Neely Welsh at Cedar Bluff on Thursday night, but it didn’t matter.
Eighth grade point guard Ace Austin netted a game-high 25 points (including four 3-pointers), swiped 11 steals, dished out eight assists, blocked four shots and grabbed five rebounds in leading the second-ranked Lady Panthers to an easy 85-23 victory.
Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said Welsh could have played on Tuesday, but it was a mutual decision between him and Welsh to sit her out and let her left hamstring heal.
Welsh pulled her hamstring during the Lady Panthers’ Cherokee County Tournament championship victory over Cherokee County on Saturday.
“She wanted to play tonight, but we talked about it,” Coach Austin said. “She said ‘I want to play, but I understand the importance of the rest of the season. This would be a great night for me to sit out if you want me to.’ I said ‘I think we need to do that.’ She agreed.”
Besides Coach Austin’s daughter Ace, one of the players to step up in Welsh’s absence was eighth grade forward Maggie Jarrett. She collected 11 points, nine rebounds, six steals, three blocked shots and an assist.
“Maggie Jarrett is somebody we’re going to count on down the road,” Coach Austin said. “We pulled her up (from junior varsity) as soon as Kayley (Kirk) got hurt. We’ve been preparing her to play a four and a five. I thought tonight would be a great night to play her at the four and let her just go.
“She got to log a lot of minutes tonight. We got to coach her from the start tonight and that was good for her. I thought she responded well. We got to play a lot of other kids. It was positive all the way around. We got some good work in tonight.”
Spring Garden (23-2) jumped out to a 27-13 first-quarter advantage. The Lady Panthers led 43-21 at halftime, and held Cedar Bluff scoreless in the third quarter to take a 65-21 edge.
Lexy Adkison contributed 13 points, 12 boards and four steals for the Lady Panthers. Morgan Brown contributed eight points. Abbey Steward and Abbie Woods both netted six points. Bri Boles finished with five points.
Maggie Clowdis topped Cedar Bluff with 10 points. Jordyn Walker connected on three first-quarter 3-pointers and finished with nine points.
- Today’s Info
- Listen Live
- About Us