Spain Park girls become first county team to 20 wins

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

VESTAVIA HILLS – Despite being outscored 17-9 in the final quarter, the Spain Park girls basketball team became the county’s first team to 20 wins this season with a one-point 56-55 road victory against area foe Vestavia Hills on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Heading to the final quarter down by nine points, the Rebels were able to battle back to within a point at 54-53 with 11 seconds left to play, but Sarah Ashlee Barker was able to step to the line and sink two clutch free throws to put the Jags back up by three points.

Vestavia was able to go down the floor and put up a two-point basket, but time then expired which allowed Spain Park to escape with the victory to improve to 3-0 in area play and 20-4 overall.

The slow end by Spain Park was similar to the start, as the Jags saw just three players score a combined 11 points in the first quarter, which allowed the Rebels to jump out in front early.

Vestavia hit two 3-pointers in the opening period and got points from five different players to post 14 points in the frame and take a three-point victory at the end of the first period.

Spain Park, however, switched into a different gear during the middle two quarters.

In the second quarter, that was in large part due to Barker, who posted nine points on her own. That along with a 3-pointer from Bailey Bowers and a free throw from Camille Chase, helped give the Jaguars 13 points in the period.

That still wasn’t enough to take the lead heading into the half though, as Vestavia Hills got at least three points from three different players to post 12 more points and hold a 26-24 halftime lead.

Aside from the three 3-pointers in the first half, Vestavia shot 5-6 from the free throw line, which was a big key in the Rebels’ lead.

After a disappointing first half, the Jags needed a different effort coming out of the locker room and head coach Mike Chase was able to convince his team of that.

In the third quarter, they looked like a completely different team offensively, as shots started falling and aggressiveness started paying off.

Three players ended up with at least six points in the quarter, including eight points from Bowers, seven from Barker and six from Chase. Each one hit a 3-pointer, while Chase hit two.

All of that offensive production led to 23 points, while Vestavia got stuck on 12 points for the second period in a row, which allowed the Jags to storm in front for a 47-38 lead heading to the fourth.

The Rebels still shot free throws well in the third quarter making 5-6 in the period and improving to 10-12 for the game.

That continued in the final quarter as they went 9-12 from the line in the fourth quarter alone, which allowed for the Rebels to chip away at the nine-point deficit.

Spain Park hit just three baskets in the quarter, including a big 3-pointer from Avery Masdon. All three of the baskets became key, as one of them not falling could have spelled a loss or overtime.

Vestavia hit four baskets in addition to its nine free throws, but Barker’s last two free throws made the deficit just one point too many for the rebels to overcome.

Barker led the Jaguars with 22 points in the win, while Bowers posted 15 points. Ahrielle Parks and Chase both ended with seven points, while Masdon ended with five.