Spain Park squeezes past Anniston on opening night

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Justin Brown had 11 points in his first game for Spain Park on Nov. 16 as the Jaguars squeezed past Anniston 64-59. (Contributed / Ted Melton)

Justin Brown had 11 points in his first game for Spain Park on Nov. 16 as the Jaguars squeezed past Anniston 63-59. (Contributed / Ted Melton)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

HOOVER – Spain Park head coach Donnie Quinn was none too pleased with how his juggernaut of a team came out of the gate in the 2015-16 season against a scrappy Anniston team.

“(We played) terrible,” the first-year head coach Quinn said. “It comes down to three things: Turnovers on offense, rebounds on defense and free throw shooting percentage. If any of those three are bad, your chances of winning are decreased. We were bad in all three.”

This Spain Park team has big-time talent all across the board, especially down low with 6-foot-10-inch Auburn commit Austin Wiley patrolling the paint and on the perimeter with talented scorers Jamal Johnson and Justin Brown helping to balance out the Jaguar attack.

Anniston was not intimidated by the heralded Spain Park lineup however, and took it to the Jaguars, building up a 20-14 lead after the first quarter. The Bulldogs only managed seven second-quarter points however as Spain Park locked in defensively, and the Jaguars took a 29-27 lead into the half.

The second half was back-and-forth, and Anniston kept the game tight through the end, but Spain Park escaped with its first win of the season, moving to 1-0 via a 63-59 final.

“They’re a good little scrappy team,” Quinn said. “But our size compared to theirs was night and day.”

The Jaguars got to the line quite often, racking up 34 free throw attempts on the night, but only converted 20 of those attempts for just a 58 percent success rate from the charity stripe. Wiley himself accounted for 10 of the Jaguars free throw attempts, and converted on six.

Wiley finished with 20 points on the night to lead the way for Spain Park while Jamison Floyd added 13 and Brown had 11 in his debut as a Jaguar. Johnson didn’t score in the first half and finished with just six points.

Spain Park takes the floor again tonight as the Jaguars welcome in Minor.