Spain Park 3-peats as Bryant Bank tourney champs

Published 11:17 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

TRUSSVILLE – The Spain Park Jaguars were back in familiar territory on Tuesday, Nov. 20, after earning a spot in their third consecutive Bryant Bank Invitational championship game against host team Hewitt-Trussville.

Despite the Huskies having home court advantage in the tournament, it was a floor the Jaguars had won the last two tournaments on, giving them just as much an edge, and it showed as they went on to pick up their third straight win in the event with a 52-42 victory.

The simple reason for that success was the emergence of senior Bailey Bowers.

Bowers has been a consistent shooter for Spain Park (5-1)over the last two years, but has been a little slow out of the gate this season trying to get back in the swing of things.

She picked a good time to find her shot, however, as the guard flew out of the gates with a 10-point first quarter on four made field goals, including two 3-pointers.

While she only totaled five points the rest of the game, that was the boost she and the Jags needed to bring home the championship victory.

In addition to Bowers’ 10 points in the first quarter, Sarah Ashlee Barker picked up right where she left off in her 28-point semifinal performance by posting eight points of her own in the opening period.

After Mackenzie Culpepper added a 3-pointer as well, the Jaguars had put up 22 points in the opening frame, while limiting Hewitt-Trussville to just eight points on four made field goals.

It was arguably Spain Park’s best quarter of the season, and one that came at an opportune time, as the Jags had set the Huskies behind the eight ball early.

Spain Park wasn’t able to sustain its success offensively in the second quarter after being limited to just six points on 3-pointers from Bowers and Avery Masdon, but the defense held Hewitt to less than 10 points for the second consecutive period.

The Huskies were able to score seven points thanks to six points from D’Yona Jones, but that only gained one point of a 14-point deficit, still leaving them down by 13 points, 28-15, at the half.

Hewitt was able to continue its strong defensive pressure in the second half, limiting Spain Park to less than 10 points for the second consecutive quarter.

The Jaguars were only able to knock down three field goals, two jumpers from Barker and a 3-pointer from Ahrielle Parks, which paved the pathway for Hewitt to try and edge its way back in the game.

The Huskies hit three field goals and went a perfect 3-3 from the free throw line to post 10 points in the quarter, which trimmed Spain Park’s lead to 35-25 heading to the final quarter.

Hewitt gave its best effort of the game on the offensive end of the floor in the final quarter going 7-10 from the free throw line and posting 17 total points, but with the offensive success went the defensive presences of the last two quarters.

After being limited to seven points or less in the last two quarters, Spain Park was able to match the Huskies in the final period with 17 points of its own.

The Jags went 5-6 from the free throw line in the frame, hit five total field goals and two 3-pointers to stave off Hewitt’s comeback attempt and claim their third consecutive championship win at the Huskies’ tournament.

Barker led the Jags with 17 points in the game, while Parks added 11 points, eight of which came in the final quarter, to give Spain Park three total scorers in double figures. Barker was also named the tournament MVP.