Jaguars run ends in Final Four

Every step of the 2006-07 season was new territory for the Spain Park Jaguars, including their entrance to the court of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena at 1:21 p.m. Thursday, March 1 for the Class 6A Final Four.

With a large crowd of students and fans wearing Spain Park blue and standing shoulder-to-shoulder throughout sections 3-8, the Jaguars took the court to make history.

&8220;In such a short history of the program, this has really brought the enthusiasm to all of our athletic programs and the school itself. Everybody is behind the basketball team,&8221; principal Billy Broadway said.

With the game underway, the Rattlers struck out to a 6-0 lead, which quickly grew to a 16-point lead, 27-11 with four minutes to play in the opening half.

&8220;They’re definitely as good as advertised,&8221; Spain Park head coach Brian Moon said. &8220;They come out at you and swarm. We’re a team that needs a little space, and they did a nice job of cutting that space down.&8221;

LeFlore held the Jaguars to just 16 points in the first half, and shut down the 3-point shot, allowing only 2-of-15 for the game. The Rattlers won 66-44 to advance to the title game.

&8220;It was hard to shoot over their athletes,&8221; junior guard Jack Drum said. He finished with a team-high 10 points.

Spain Park sharpshooters Jay Prater and Josh Magette were held to 2-of-16 from the floor.

LeFlore&8217;s size helped stop the Jaguars from scoring in the paint also.

&8220;I thought early in the game we had some lay-up opportunities we didn’t convert, and if you get a lay-up against a team that good, you’ve done good. You’ve got to convert them,&8221; Moon said.

Despite it being Spain Park&8217;s first appearance to the Final Four and LeFlore&8217;s third in four years, that did not play a factor according to Moon.

&8220;I don’t know if experience was more important than the way some of those guys looked. They’re just so physical and took away a lot of the things we were trying to do,&8221; Moon said.

The winning moment for the Jags came with the final minute ticking off the clock.

&8220;I just happened to glance over there with about a minute left in the game and we’re down 25 and all of our kids are still in the stands and that means a lot to these guys,&8221; Moon said.

Junior guard Brandon Harris agrees. &8220;They&8217;re the best student section in the state.&8221;