Spain Park rolls over Homewood

Published 10:54 am Friday, November 20, 2015

Austin Wiley goes up against Trey Jemison of Homewood during Spain Park's easy win over the Patriots on Nov. 19. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

Austin Wiley goes up against Trey Jemison of Homewood during Spain Park’s easy win over the Patriots on Nov. 19. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

HOMEWOOD – In the first road test of the young 2015-16 campaign, the Spain Park Jaguars completely dismantled a talented Homewood team to the tune of a 66-38 shellacking that was not even as close as the final score made it seem, moving to 3-0 on the young season in the process.

The road contest was the Jaguars’ third game in four days and was the first time they truly looked like the dominant team many expect them to be, especially in the second half. The Patriots kept the first half relatively close despite stellar shooting performances from Justin Brown and Jamal Johnson, and the Jaguars took a 35-21 lead into the half.

With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Spain Park was up 63-25. A 21-0 run to start the third quarter showed just the kind of dangerous fast-break potential this team has. Time and again, Johnson or Brown led the charge downcourt after a missed Patriot shot, which almost always ended in a Jaguar dunk or made bucket.

“We really didn’t talk about our (fast)break (at the half),” Spain Park head coach Donnie Quinn said after the game. “But I think some of the quick rebounds and the quick outlets, especially when your point guard’s rebounding you don’t have to pass it you can just go.”

This is part of what makes this team particularly nightmarish to defend, the rebounding ability of Johnson and Brown. Both can jump out of the gym and can crash the boards as well if not better than any other guard combination across the state. Both have the ball handling skills, speed and court vision to spark the fast break, and there are simply very few teams who are going to be able to stay with this group in transition.

“Those are two pretty special guys,” Quinn said of his guards. “Their size, their abilities, it makes it pretty tough (to defend).”

Homewood was without the services of talented Derrick Underwood, who watched the contest from the bench. Underwood is the dynamic back that makes the Patriots football team click, and was not available because his services are still required on the football field until Homewood either loses in the 6A playoffs or wins the whole thing in two weeks.

Resident big man Austin Wiley had another big body to match up against in this game for the first time all season. The 6-foot-10-inch Wiley oftentimes is in a tough spot in high school games, as he will consistently have the bodies of smaller defenders draped all over him. Against the Patriots, however, Wiley spent a large chunk of time playing straight up against 6-foot-9-inch sophomore Trey Jemison, which was a welcome change for the big man.

“He prefers playing guys that big,” Quinn said. “Because when he gets the little guys they’re all jumping into him and throwing up crap and he ends up fouling. Whereas those guys actually balanced each other out.”

Johnson finished with 20 points while Brown had 16 and Wiley had 11 to lead the Jaguars.