Jaguars end season with loss to rival Bucs

By MICKEL PONTHIEUX

HOOVER — The Spain Park High School boys’ basketball team cut a six-point deficit down to one in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, but were unable to take the lead to fall to the Hoover Buccaneers in the Class 6A sub-region round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs Feb. 17.

Hoover (29-4) held a 27-21 advantage heading into the final period, but Blake Dudchock converted on a three-point play and Eric Washington followed with a field goal to cut the score to one, 27-26, for the Jaguars.

After a Hoover timeout, the Bucs hit back-to-back 3-pointers by Brandon Defore and Devon Earl to extend the lead to seven, 33-26, with just under six minutes remaining.

“We were down one and had gotten a couple of buckets,” said Jaguars’ coach Neal Barker. “It came down to critical possessions where they (Hoover) found a way to execute one or two more times than we did.”

The Jaguars didn’t relent and fought back to within five on a pair of Dudchock free throws, but were unable to get any closer. Trailing 42-35 with 2:43 on the clock, Spain Park forced Hoover into four straight turnovers, but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities.

Spain Park matched Hoover point for point in the first, third and fourth quarters. The Jaguars were outscored in the second quarter 8-2.

The loss eliminates Spain Park from the playoffs, but Barker said that his team is going to focus on the good memories of their 22-11 season that included winning their Jaguar Classic tournament for the first time in school history.

“We are going to focus on the positives,” said Barker. “We beat a lot of good teams this year. This is a great team with great seniors. It hurts right now that we couldn’t continue on. We are going to give thanks to God for the season that we had.”

Robert Martin led all scorers with 18 points for Spain Park, which included four 3-pointers.

Dudchock finished the game with 13 points for the Jaguars with Robby Prater scoring seven and Washington and John Elliott each scoring two points.

Hoover’s Deonte Curtis led his team with 13 points while Defore scored 12 points for the Bucs.

GIRLS

The Hoover High School girls’ basketball team held the Spain Park girls’ basketball squad to single-digit scoring in the first half to take a 87-18 win in the sub-region round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A playoffs Feb. 17 at Hoover.

The Bucs controlled the game from the opening tip en route to score 15 unanswered points in the first four minutes.

The Jaguars got on the board in the middle stages of the first quarter with two free throws by Ashley Gaston with their first converted shot from the field by Takia Mickens for a 26-4 Hoover lead at the end of the first quarter.

Spain Park added five more points to their total led by a 3-pointer by Jasmine Hollis late in the second to trail 43-9 at the half.

Hoover opened the second half on a 15-0 run to outscore the Lady Jags 44-9 in the final 16 minutes to move on in the playoffs.

Jessica Freeman led Spain Park with five points with Gaston adding four points. Hollis wrapped up the game scoring three points while Mickens, Denise Newton, and Denisha Morgan each finished with two points.

Nicole Tanner scored a game-high 15 points for Hoover with Breion Allen adding 14 points. Chardonae Fuqua finished with 11 points for the Lady Bucs.