Spain Park catches fire from beyond the arc, downs Eagles

Published 11:35 pm Thursday, December 13, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – Coming off their second loss of the season last week to the Hoover Buccaneers by a rather large margin, the Spain Park Jaguars girls basketball team bounced back with a win against Gadsden City on Monday, Dec. 10, and looked to make it back-to-back victories on Thursday, Dec. 13, with a home matchup against rival Oak Mountain.

Thanks to a sharp 3-point shooting night for the Jaguars, they were able to do just that with 59-46 win over their rivals from less than two miles down the road thanks to 13 made shots from deep compared to the Eagles’ three.

Spain Park (10-2) showed its confidence from beyond the arc early in the first quarter knocking down five on its way to 21 first-period points. Four different players were responsible for the deep shots, while three others knocked down jump shots for seven different scorers in the opening frame.

Oak Mountain (8-6), however, struggled to find any momentum early on with just seven first-quarter points from Hannah Edwards and Kailey Rory, which put the Eagles down by 14 heading to the second quarter.

In the second period, Spain Park was eventually able to extend its lead to 30-12, outscoring Oak Mountain 9-5 early in the period, but Rory was determined to bring her team back into the game and gain some confidence before the half.

She reeled off a 7-2 run by herself to close out the period, which cut the Jags’ lead to 30-19 at the halftime break.

Rory had 10 of the Eagles’ 12 points in the period, and 14 of the team’s 19 in the first half, but Oak Mountain was still struggling to stop 3-point shots, as the Jags hit three more in the quarter and eight in the first half.

Coming out of the break, Edwards continued that run to 8-2 thanks to hitting 1-2 at the line, but the Jags got right back to their hot shooting from beyond the arc.

Bowers hit two 3-pointers in the next three possessions, sandwiched around a Sarah Ashlee Barker coast-to-coast layup that put Spain Park up 40-20.

Culpepper then hit another 3-pointer for the Jaguars, before Oak Mountain put together an 8-0 run to try and climb back into the game thanks to four points from Edwards and a 3-pointer from Abi Brown.

The Jags, as they had all night however, answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to close out the period, which gave them a 21-point, 49-28 lead heading to the final period thanks to 13 3-pointers in the game.

Despite the large deficit, the Eagles weren’t going away without a fight in the rivalry matchup.

After a 3-0 run to start the quarter, Barker answered with a quick 4-0 run of her own that put Spain Park up 51-31, and it looked as if Oak Mountain had given their last bit of effort.

But that wasn’t the case.

Rory answered with an 8-0 run of her own, followed by a 4-0 run from Emily Cruce, which had all of a sudden brought the Eagles back to within 10 points at 53-43 after a 12-0 run.

With just 2:30 left in the game, however, time wasn’t on Oak Mountain’s side and the Jags were able to eventually regain their composure.

They used long possessions to eventually hold on for the 59-46 victory thanks to shooting 5-6 from the free throw over the final two minutes.

Bowers led the way for the Jags with three 3-pointers and a 4-4 mark at the free throw line. Barker and Mackenzie Culpepper both posted 11 points for Spain Park.

Oak Mountain was led by Rory with 21 points, while Edwards added 15 points.