Perfection: Jags finish perfect in difficult area
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
MOUNTAIN BROOK – Ahrielle Parks had nothing but open court in front of her as she looked to hand Spain Park its second consecutive season with a perfect area record.
Tied 53-53 with just nine seconds remaining, Mountain Brook was inbounding on the sideline, but Parks was able to read the inbound pass and pick it, which left her with nothing but open floor in front of her for the go-ahead layup.
Instead, a Spartan defender chased her down to try and make a play on the ball to save her team from defeat, but instead picked up an intentional foul, which not only sent Parks to the line but gave the Jaguars the ball as well.
Parks stepped up and drained both free throws to give Spain Park the lead at 55-53 with just a few seconds remaining in the game. The ensuing inbound pass went to senior leader and new all-time leading scorer Claire Holt, who was quickly fouled.
Holt stepped up and drained both of her free throws as well, which put the game out of reach and gave Spain Park the 57-53 win.
It marked the second consecutive year that the Jaguars were able to finish area play a perfect 6-0, which is particularly impressive this season with two other top 10 teams in the area, including the Spartans.
Holts two free throws to seal the game were part of a game-high 25 points, while Parks’ free throws were two of 12 points as she finished second on the team behind Holt.
Spain Park also shot 13-16 from the free throw line, while Mountain Brook was 12-25.
The exciting game started in the first quarter as Parks had half of her points in the opening period, leading the Jags to 12 as a team.
Ellie Dayhuff gave the Spartans six points of their own in the opening eight minutes of the contest as Mountain Brook picked up 11 points to trail by one heading to the second quarter.
The tight game continued into the second as Holt, who was scoreless in the first, put up seven points in the frame to help lead the Jags to 14 more points.
For the second quarter in a row, there was somebody on the Spartans’ roster to match the scoring effort as Emily Henderson posted seven points of her own.
It led to Mountain Brook scoring 14 points as well to make the halftime score 26-25 in favor of the Jags.
It was clear, Spain Park felt like it should have played better on both ends of the floor in the first period as there was inconsistent scoring and defense throughout.
The Jags came out and went on a 19-9 run in the third quarter thanks to 10 points from Holt and a combined three 3-pointers from Parks and Bailey Bowers.
Mountain Brook was only able to manage nine points in the quarter as they trailed 45-34 heading into the final period.
Through three quarters of action, the Spartans had managed to shoot just 4-13 from the free throw line, which was a clear difference in the game, but playing from behind they started hitting them when it counted.
Mountain Brook hit 7-9 from the line in the final period, which led to the Spartans going on a 19-8 run to tie the game in the final minute.
With a chance to pull off the miraculous win, however, the Spartans ended up throwing the turnover to Parks, which ultimately sealed the fate of the game.
The Jags, who moved to 24-4 overall, got an additional nine points from Bowers in the win as well.