Spain Park makes 3rd straight Bryant Bank Championship game

Published 10:06 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

TRUSSVILLE – Thanks to 28 points from junior Sarah Ashlee Barker, Spain Park earned a spot in its third consecutive Bryant-Bank Tournament championship after a thrilling 47-45 victory against Wenonah in the semifinals.

The Jaguars (4-1), who have won the tournament the last two seasons, were able to overcome a two-point deficit heading into the final quarter thanks to a 16-point fourth quarter that led to the slim two-point win.

In the first period, Spain Park had possibly its most balanced quarter of the game thanks to four different players scoring in the frame led by seven points from Barker. That balance, combined with allowing the Dragons to only hit three field goals, helped the Jags jump out to a 13-6 advantage at the end of one.

The second period saw a complete shift, however, as the Jags were limited to three field goals from one scorer, while Wenonah posted its most field goals of any quarter draining six baskets.

The success on the offensive end of the floor didn’t end there either, as the Dragons shot 3-4 from the free throw line in the quarter to total 17 points by the end of the period.

While Barker had another stellar quarter making three field goals and hitting all three of her free throws, her 10 points alone weren’t enough to keep up with Wenonah, who tied the game at 23-23 heading into the half.

Coming out of the halftime break, it was clear that head coach Mike Chase had talked about his team’s defense in the second quarter, as the Jaguars played with much more intensity to limit Wenonah to just 10 points, which was the Dragons second lowest total of any quarter in the game.

The offensive struggles, however, continued. While the Jaguars had four different players make a field goal in the period, they were only able to post eight points due to Wenonah’s matched intensity on the defensive end.

With the defense playing well for Spain Park, the offense knew it was time to step up and end the game on a strong run, which two of the offensive leaders took to heart.

Ahrielle Parks was one of those two players to step up in the final period totaling six points in the quarter to give the Jags an added offensive weapon.

Aside from her, Barker continued an already impressive game doing what leaders do best by closing the game out strong. She hit three more field goals and knocked down three of her four free throws in the period to total 10 points in the frame, marking her second 10-point quarter of the game.

Despite two 3-pointers and a 2-2 mark at the free throw line from the Dragons in the quarter, Parks and Barker’s combined 16 points were the difference in the final minutes, leading the Jaguars to the 47-45 victory.

Barker’s 28 points were a game high, while Parks was the only other Spain Park player to finish with more than four points totaling nine.

The championship game will take place tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 20, against host team Hewitt-Trussville with tipoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m.