Jaguar girls survive second half push, beat rival Eagles

Published 11:49 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014

By JORDON SEMIEN/For the Reporter

HOOVER — After facing a five-point deficit at halftime, the Oak Mountain Eagles girls basketball team staged a furious second half comeback against the Jaguars of Spain Park, but fell just short, losing 38-31.

The Jaguars and Eagles opened the game with separate runs of eight and four points respectively, relying on stiff defense and fast break opportunities for points. Spain Park sharp shooter Victoria Baldwin started the scoring for the Jaguars, hitting her first three shots from three-point land. Baldwin finished the game with 19 points, three rebounds, and three steals.

The second quarter saw both teams slip into foul trouble, as referee whistles dominated the airwaves. Both teams headed to the locker rooms in the bonus, with Keyasha Gordon of Spain Park being assessed a technical foul. Spain Park totaled eight team fouls, while Oak Mountain added seven of their own as the Jaguars led the half, 21-16.

Second half play opened with a 6-2 run for the Jaguars as they began to settle into their groove. Amanda Gaston came alive in the third, adding to the Jaguars’ lead. Gaston scored eight points on the night and added five rebounds, while Jemaiya Lee and Keyasha Gordon totaling a combined 14 rebounds.

The fourth quarter followed the trend of the second as the Jaguars lead dwindled down to 5, and the Eagles looked to turn of the pressure. Oak Mountain’s Allie Allers led the Eagles with 12 points and six rebounds.

The Eagles carved into the lead in the dying minutes of the fourth, but the Jaguars’ free throw shooting pushed them ahead, 38-31

Spain Park head coach Mike Chase commented on the rivalry and addressed how well the two schools know each other.

“Our kids know each other, “ he said. “Their kids know us well, a lot of them play on AAU teams (together). There (are) no secrets between the coaching staffs and what the strengths and weaknesses are of each team and we’re just happy to get out of there with a win.”

With the win, the Jaguars lock up home court advantage in the area playoffs, but first travel to Pelham for a date with the Panthers on Jan.24