Spain Park set to host area tourney after win at No. 9 Hewitt

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

TRUSSVILLE – Thanks to four players scoring at least 13 points, led by Sarah Ashlee Barker with 27, the Spain Park Jaguars were able to put together a strong 75-65 victory against No. 9 Hewitt-Trussville on Tuesday, Jan. 22, to remain undefeated in area play.

Thanks to the victory and each of the other teams in Class 7A Area 8 having at least two losses with only one area game left, the Jaguars not only moved to 5-0 in area play, but locked up the ability to host the area tournament as well.

Spain Park (22-5, 5-0) was able to pull away for the win thanks to strong games from Barker, Ahrielle Parks, Bailey Bowers and Camille Chase, as each scored in double figures and started their impressive nights with strong first quarters.

Those four accounted for all 23 points for the Jags in the opening period. Bowers and Chase both hit two 3-pointers in the period, while Chase led the team with eight points. Bowers and Barker both accounted for six points, while Parks added three points of her own.

A big reason for that success was the effort on the defensive end of the floor which led to easy transition baskets for the Jaguars, and they capitalized on them.

Hewitt was only able to make three field goals and two free throws for eight points in the quarter, which became the Huskies’ lowest outcome of any quarter in the game.

That one quarter ended up playing a big difference in the game as the Huskies found themselves in a 15-point hole right from the start, giving them an uphill battle against one of the state’s best teams.

Hewitt was able to bounce back in the second quarter offensively thanks to three 3-pointers and a 5-6 mark at the free throw line, but slowing down Spain Park’s confidence offensively was a different story.

Bowers and Chase both hit another 3-pointer in the period, while Mackenzie Culpepper got in on the scoring with five points of her own. Those three were also joined by three more points from both Barker and Parks to post 18 more points in the frame and extend the Jags’ lead to 41-24 at the half.

Halftime couldn’t have come quick enough for Hewitt-Trussville, who desperately needed to make changes defensively.

Coming out of the locker room into the third quarter, that’s exactly what the Huskies did.

While Barker ended up scoring nine points in the quarter thanks to four field goals, including an and-1, Hewitt did a good job of slowing down the rest of Spain Park’s offense not letting another player hurt them with points after the Jaguars had a balanced first half.

Limiting the Jags to nine points in the quarter, the door was open for the Huskies’ offense to get back into the game and that’s what happened.

Hewitt got eight points from Amiya Payne and six points from Erica Jones to help post 19 points in the period, which trimmed Spain Park’s lead to just seven points at 50-43 heading to the final frame.

The Huskies carried that offensive effort over into the fourth quarter posting 22 points thanks to shooting 9-15 from the free throw line and getting at least three points from five different players, but the defense couldn’t keep the Jaguars’ offense at bay for two consecutive periods.

Barker, Bowers and Parks all stepped up in the quarter to close the game out in clutch fashion.

Barker posted nine points on four field goals, Parks posted 10 points on three field goals, including two important 3-pointers, and Bowers drained all four of her free throws in the quarter for four points.

It wasn’t just Bowers who shot well from the line, as those three players combined to shoot 7-7 in the period to close out a strong shooting performance from the stripe in the game for the Jaguars who made 13 of their 14 free throws.

That ended up playing a major role as Spain Park held on for the 75-65 victory.

Behind Barker’s 27 points, Parks posted 17 points, while Bowers and Chase each had 13.