Jags take down No. 7 Spartans, stay perfect in area

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The No. 2 Spain Park Lady Jags took to their home floor against No. 7 Mountain Brook on Thursday, Jan. 18, looking to prevent back-to-back losses for the first time this season after falling to 6A No. 1 Hazel Green earlier in the week.

Thanks to four players scoring in double figures for the Jags in the game, Spain Park was able to use an 18-4 fourth quarter to pull away for a 65-52 win over the area foe Spartans.

Mountain Brook led by as many as 10 points at one point in the second quarter, but in a game of runs it was Spain Park’s strong fourth quarter that propelled them to victory.

In the first quarter, the two teams played like top-10 teams, combining for 33 points thanks to several 3-pointers from each team as the Jags knocked down two and the Spartans hit four in the quarter.

The Jaguars (20-4, 3-0) jumped in front 5-0 in two possessions after Ahrielle Parks hit a 3-pointer and Barrett Herring knocked down a close-range jumper.

Mountain Brook responded in a hurry with three straight 3-pointers to go on a 9-2 run and snatch the lead from Spain Park at 9-7.

The rest of the quarter went back and forth as each team sprinted up and down the court. At one point, Sarah Ashlee Barker scored on three straight possessions, including two straight layups and one deep bomb from beyond the arc, which gave the Jags a 12-11 lead.

The two teams eventually combined for 27 points in the first 4:30 of the game, before it slowed down over the final 3:30 of the opening period.

Trailing 17-13, Hannah Bartels knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to bring Mountain Brook within a point at the end of the quarter trailing 17-16.

An entertaining and fast first quarter turned into a much slower second quarter as the two teams combined for just two points in the first 3 minutes.

Both of those points came from Mountain Brook as they jumped back in front 17-18. The Spartans ended the slow start shortly after by going on a 12-1 run to start the period, which gave them a 10-point, 28-18 lead.

The Jags, down but not out of it, battled back with a quick 12-3 run to get within one point at 31-30, but a late basket pushed Mountain Brook back in front by three at the half.

Still though, Spain park had gone on a 12-5 run to end the second quarter to cut the deficit to 33-30.

Coming out of the half, however, the Spartans were back up to their old tricks as they started on a 5-0 run to take a 38-30 lead after an and-1 from Lucy Harrison.

Spain Park responded in a big way over the next few minutes. Bailey Bowers and Parks hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Jags a 9-1 run, which tied the game at 39-39.

The Jaguars tied the game twice over the next few possessions, but it wasn’t until a Claire Holt 3-pointer with less than a minute to pay in the third that Spain Park was able to take its first lead of the game since the first minute of the second quarter.

Bowers and Bartels traded 3-pointers to end the quarter, which gave Spain Park the 47-46 lead heading to the final quarter.

Mountain Brook hit the first shot of the quarter to take the lead back at 48-47, but it was all Jaguars from there.

Spain Park went on an 18-2 run over the remainder of the quarter. Despite a quiet game up to that point, Holt took over in the final quarter of the game, posting 10 of her 14 points to seal the win.

Barker added six more points to gather her game-high total of 17. Parks and Bowers added 12 and 11 points, respectively, to give the Jaguars four scorers in double figures.

Mountain Brook was led by Bartels with 16 points, while Harrison added 11 for the Spartans.