Bowers, Parks lead Spain park to bounce-back win

Published 11:11 am Saturday, January 5, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOMEWOOD – Coming off back-to-back losses to close out the DOC Decatur Classic to end 2018, the Spain Park girls basketball team was back in action to start the new year at Homewood on Friday, Jan. 4, looking to bounce back and get confidence heading into area play.

Despite missing University of Georgia commit Sarah Ashlee Barker, the Jags were able to pull off the road win and get back on the winning track thanks to a couple of trustworthy seniors and a solid defensive effort, which led to a 59-35 win. 

With Barker being one of the team’s most dangerous scoring threats it was important for Spain Park (17-4) to get off to a fast start from some other scorers and that’s just what the Jags were able to do thanks to seniors Ahrielle Parks and Bailey Bowers stepping up.

The two seniors combined for all 14 of the team’s points in the opening period.

In the first minute the two teams traded baskets with Parks hitting the first shot of the game followed by a basket from Homewood to even things at 2-2.

That, however, was the start of Parks’ strong quarter as she went on to score Spain Park’s first seven points as part of a 7-2 run before Bowers hit her first 3-pointer of the game to make it 10-2.

Homewood was able to end the 8-0 run on the next possession but the Jaguars got one more basket apiece from Parks and Bowers thanks to running the floor, which gave them a 14-5 lead at the end of the quarter.

That trend continued into the second period as Bowers hit Spain Park’s first two shots of the frame to pick up nine total points for the game and give the Jags an 18-7 advantage.

Finally, midway through the second quarter, Caroline Keith was able to hit one of her two free throws at the line to put somebody other than Bowers or Parks on the board for the first time in the game.

That was followed by a strong take from Parks to give her 11 points in the game before Kristen McMillan and Kamryn Corey were able to end the period with two strong baskets to give Spain Park a 26-11 lead at the half.

Bowers and Parks were responsible for 19 of the 26 points in the first half of play.

With the 15-point deficit, the Patriots knew they had to come out in the second half with a different effort on both ends of the floor and that’s exactly what they did.

Homewood was more aggressive defensively and driving to the basket offensively.

Early in the period, it was Zoe Watts, who helped the Patriots start on a 5-2 run.

The Jaguars, however, seemed to have an answer to every scoring spurt Homewood put together.

Mackenzie Culpepper answered the Patriots’ run with a 3-pointer to extend Spain Park’s lead back to 15 points.

Homewood then responded with strong drives to the basket again which led to free throws or baskets in the post eventually trimming the Jaguars’ lead to 12 points at 33-21.

Again, that run by the Patriots was answered by a big basket from the Jags as Bowers hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead back to 15 points with three minutes left in the quarter.

Homewood cut it to 12 one more time, but the Jags were able to get one free throw from Bowers and a layup from Parks in the final seconds of the period to extend the lead back to 15 points, 39-24, heading to the final quarter.

That trend continued into the final quarter as the Patriots started the frame on a quick 5-0 run that cut the deficit to 10 points, but yet again, Bowers was there to answer with a 5-0 run of her own.

From that point forward it was all Jags.

They hit three 3-pointers over the final few minutes and controlled play to eventually pull away for the 59-35 victory.

Parks led Spain Park with 24 points, while Bowers ended the game with 21 points as the two combined for 45 of the team’s 59 points. The Jags hit nine 3-pointers in the win.

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