Spain Park girls win Bryant Bank Classic

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

TRUSSVILLE – Several county girls’ basketball teams competed at the Bryant Bank Invitational at Hewitt-Trussville High school Nov. 19-22. Montevallo (2-1), Spain Park (4-1), Briarwood (1-3) and Pelham (0-6) all took part in the competitive tournament.

Montevallo took down Fort Payne 70-59 in its first-round matchup, which set up a semifinal game with the Jags who beat Hillcrest Tuscaloosa 68-51 in the opening round.

During their semifinal matchup Spain Park had three girls score in double figures as they went on to defeat the Bulldogs 59-45. While the first and third quarters were closely contested, the Jags used a 21-14 second quarter and a 21-14 fourth quarter to run away with the game in the end. Christen Rushing had 18 points for the Jags, while Bailey Bowers and Claire Holt each added 12 points. The win set up a championship game with tournament host Hewitt-Trussville for the Jags, while the loss set up a third place game for Montevallo against Vestavia.

Pelham and Briarwood both lost their opening games in the tournament to Hewitt-Trussville and Vestavia, respectively, which set up a matchup with the two in the losers bracket on Monday, Nov. 21.  Briarwood ended up doubling up Pelham in the game as they went on to win 42-21.

This advanced the Lions to play Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in a consolation game on Nov. 22, the final day of the tournament. Briarwood ended up falling in that game 44-18. Pelham went on to play Ft. Payne in its last game of the tournament and lost by a final score of 48-10.

The Championship game between Spain Park and Hewitt-Trussville saw the tournament host Huskies jump out to a 12-11 lead after one quarter of play.

Claire Holt used nine of her game high 24 points in the second quarter to spark the Jags as they outscored Hewitt 15-8 in the quarter and took 26-20 lead into the half.

Spain Park came out of the locker room on fire shooting three of four from deep as Ahrielle Parks, Bailey Bowers and Holt all hit three’s early in the third. The Jags held a 39-28 lead very quickly, but both teams stalled the rest of the quarter and only combined for one more point as Spain Park took a 39-29 lead into the fourth.

The Jags held around a 10-point lead for the majority of the final quarter and sealed the game by hitting all eight of their free throws in the quarter to win the Bryant Bank Thanksgiving Classic by a final of 55-40.

Overall Spain Park shot 12-14 from the free throw line, which was good enough for 86 percent on the night. Holt led all scorers with 24 points shooting eight of 10 from the free throw line. Parks added 14 points to give the Jags two double digit scorers in the game.