Spain Park boys upset, make early postseason exit

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Reporter

MOUNTAIN BROOK- On Feb. 5, in a 7A Area 6 first-round tournament matchup between Spain Park and Vestavia Hills, the Jaguars fell unexpectedly to Vestavia, ending their promising season early.

Spain Park came into the opening round game with a 24-5 record and high postseason aspirations, but were without sophomore sensation Austin Wiley, who’s 6-foot-9-inch void was felt heavily on the night.

Wiley, who changes the entire flow of the game on offense and defense, was out with an illness, which was the case when Vestavia and Spain Park squared off earlier in the year in a game that saw the Jaguars squeak by 47-45.

Spain Park lost on this night in a heartbreaker by a final of 56-55. The Jaguars will lose AJ Smiley, Malik Blanchard, and Garrett McDuffie from their starting lineup next year, but will return both Wiley and classmate Jamal Johnson, who will anchor the Spain Park roster for the next two seasons.