Spain Park takes part in City of Palms Classic
Published 12:12 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2015
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Spain Park Jaguars traveled to Fort Myers, Fla., to take part in the City of Palms Classic, one of the most prestigious prep basketball tournaments in the country from Dec. 18-23. The tournament, which had 26 teams participate, saw some of the top high school basketball teams and players from across the nation. The Jaguars went 1-2 at the tournament, and their two losses came against two of the top-ranked teams in the country.
Spain Park’s first game matched them up against Montverde Academy out of Montverde, Fla., which has spent time as the USA Today No. 1 prep team in the country this season and is currently the second-ranked team in the nation. While Spain Park battled against the top-ranked Florida team, the Jaguars could not overcome a large opening quarter deficit, and fell 74-61.
Montverde jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter, and built a 19-point lead with just over three minutes left in the second quarter that Spain Park could not recover from. However, the Jags bounced back from the large deficit and played Montverde almost even throughout the final three quarters, and were only outscored by a single point after the first quarter, but could not come gain any ground and subsequently got the loss.
Jamal Johnson led all scorers with 22 points, while Austin Wiley added 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to lead the Jaguars. Montverde Academy had six players score at least six points in the game.
The Jaguars rebounded however, and beat The First Academy, out of Orlando, Fla., by a final of 64-59. The Jaguars once again got off to a slow start in the contest, and fell into an early 19-11 hole in the first quarter before going on a 24-8 run that encompassed the entire second period to take a 35-27 lead into the half.
The First Academy came back in the third quarter to take a 48-45 lead heading into the fourth, but the Jaguars found a way to win in the end, and won the consolation game 64-59.
Wiley and Johnson once again led the way with 23 points apiece. Johnson also pulled down 12 rebounds, had four assists and four blocks while Wiley had eight rebounds and four blocks as well.
In the consolation semifinal Spain Park went up against the Thomas Jefferson High School out of Brooklyn, N.Y. The Orange Wave are led by one of the top point guards in the country in Shamorie Ponds, who had 28 points and four assists against Spain Park as the Jaguars fell 75-71. Wiley and Johnson continued their dominant tournament performances with 34 and 18 points respectively. Wiley also had 14 rebounds while Johnson had 10.
Spain Park moved to 9-5 on the year after the City of Palms Classic. Wiley averaged 26 points, 11 boards and a hair over three blocks per game in the tournament while Johnson averaged 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists per game, although he also averaged five turnovers per contest as well.