Second half push guides Jags past Warriors to Sweet 16

Published 1:02 am Saturday, February 15, 2014

By JORDON SEMIEN/For the Reporter

HOOVER — Despite facing tenacious defense, the Spain Park Jaguars’ second half surge led them pass the visiting Warriors of Thompson, 61-52.

The Warriors came out with one mission in mind: shutting down the Jaguars’ paint presence, specifically limiting the play of Austin Wiley. The Warriors’ trapping zone allowed them to race out to an early 9-2 run before Spain Park head coach Neal Barker called for time.

The Jaguars came back with a furious attack, cutting the lead down to one at the end of the first, 9-8. The second quarter opened to a renewed energy from the home team as they attacked the Thompson defense. Spain Park’s Antonia Moss and John Segrest led the Jaguar charge, hitting every open shot and carrying the team to a 28-20 halftime lead. Moss finished his night with 16 points and seven rebounds, with Segrest adding 12 points of his own.

The Warriors did not go away quietly as they leaned heavily on the high-powered play of Rashad Strother. Going into the third quarter, Thompson looked to take back the paint as they barreled inside looking to get to the line. Strother ended his night with 15 points before fouling out in the third.

Thompson turned to Tavares Hall and Zach Carnes to cut the widening deficient, as the pair combined for 18 points and 13 rebounds. After a quiet first half, the Jags’ Wiley found his second half rhythm. Wiley dominated the paint in the third and fourth quarters, finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds, leading Spain Park to a 61-52 win.

After the game, Barker gave credit to Thompson for a hard fought game and said he looked forward to the regionals in Montgomery. “When we start out every year, that’s our goal,” he said. “Win the area, win the sub-region, get in the regional, and hopefully we’ll represent our school and find a way to win a game or two down there and get to the final four.”

The Jaguars will head to the campus of Alabama State University on Feb.26 to continue their bid for a state title.