Spain Park advances past Thompson

Published 9:52 pm Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spain Park’s Christen Craig (30) and Elizabeth Philpot (33) battle Thompson’s Jordan Lenoir for control of a rebound in the Lady Jags’ 59-24 Class 6A sub-regional victory Feb. 14 at SPHS. (Reporter photo/Mickel Ponthieux)

By MICKEL PONTHIEUX / Sports Reporter

HOOVER – The Spain Park Lady Jags trailed for the first five minutes of play, but quickly took the momentum at the end of the first quarter to claim a 59-24 sub-region victory over Thompson Feb. 14.

“We probably played one of our better games of the year,” said Spain Park head coach Mike Chase. “At the beginning, it looked pretty good. They scored early, held the ball and spread us out a little bit.”

Spain Park (23-8) advances to the Central Region semifinals where they will face Carver-Montgomery Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. at Alabama State University.

Both teams combined for a total of two points in the first five minutes of play before the Lady Jags came alive late in the first quarter. Denise Newton sparked an 11-point Spain Park run to end the first to give the Lady Jags an 11-2 lead.

The Spain Park defense kept the Thompson offense quiet in the second allowing just one field goal on 14 shots to extend its lead to 26-8 at the half.

The Lady Jags defense continued their stout play in the second half and held Thompson to 1-of-10 shooting in the third. Spain Park made the most of the opportunity and had their best shooting quarter of the game – 54 percent from the field – to take a 45-12 lead into the final quarter of play.

“We knew that they were capable of making a run to comeback,” said Chase. “Fortunately we never had a bad spell the entire game.”

Thompson had its best shooting percentage in the fourth where they were 4-for-14 from the field and 2-for-7 from 3-point range. Despite the better shooting, the Lady Warriors were unable to cut into the lead and Spain Park outscored Thompson 6-3 in the last two minutes to claim the victory.

“This year, right now I can see a change in the way the change in the way our kids play,” said Chase. “The way they play defense, the way they rebound, the way they practice and it’s starting to show on the court.”

Newton led all scorers with 24 points with four rebounds and three steals. Victoria Baldwin added 15 points with a team-high eight rebounds. Ashley Gaston had a team-high six steals while scoring eight points.

Janese Richardson led Thompson scorers with nine points.