Late plays lift Spain Park past Calera

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – In what was a tight game throughout with neither team ever gaining a double-digit lead, the Spain Park Jaguars used clutch free throw shooting and rebounding in the final minute to down Calera 61-56.

The Jaguars went 7-8 from the line in the final quarter, and in the final 30 seconds, up 57-55, Blake Floyd and J.R. Lambert drained four consecutive free throws to ice the win.

Calera was without star senior guard Duke Chambers, who broke his foot in the Eagles’ opener against Huffman, but the Eagles still gave a spirited effort two days later against the Jags.

That effort was apparent in the opening quarter when Calera dropped a 20 spot on the Jaguars thanks to Jordan Eggleston and Xzayvion Childress scored six and seven points, respectively, while Jamarius Ford added four points and Isaiah Green had a 3-pointer.

The Eagles also made the Jags work hard for points. Spain Park only had one field goal in the first quarter, scoring 11 points at the free throw line out of 16 free throw attempts.

With that start from the Eagles, they were able to take a 20-13 advantage at the end of the opening period.

But in the second quarter, Spain Park found its rhythm at the line, knocking down five of its six free throw attempts, while also adding two 3-pointers and three other field goals for 17 points.

Calera, however, slowed down offensively, as Spain Park made defensive adjustments between the quarters.

That led to the Jaguars coming back to tie the game at 30-30 heading to the halftime break.

Now even, and starting from scratch, the two teams began a new game in the second half, and it was tightly contested the rest of the way.

Green came out in the third quarter determined to help the Eagles, and his nine points did just that, as they dropped

But the Jags got six points from Josh Harrington on two made 3-pointers, while Dawson DeFalco added two baskets in addition to one each from Lambert and Colin Turner.

That evened Calera’s output of 14 points to keep the game tied 44-44 going into the fourth quarter.

The back-and-forth second half continued throughout the fourth quarter with Calera jumping out to a 51-50 lead with 4:08 to play.

But it was the Jaguars who reclaimed the advantage three minutes later by one point at 57-56. From there, it was all about the clutch free throw shooting in the final 1:30 from Floyd and Lambert to help keep Spain Park in front the rest of the way for a hard-fought win.

Spain Park went 23-32 from the free throw line in the game, while four players finished in double figures. Harrington led the way with 12 points thanks to two 3-pointers and a 4-4 mark at the line. Lambert was right behind with 11 points thanks to going 7-8 from the line, while DeFalco and Turner both added 10 points.

Turner also added 14 rebounds to finish with a double-double.

Calera was led by Green with a game-high 16 points.