Spain Park goes undefeated at Battle 205 tournament

Published 1:27 pm Monday, December 27, 2021

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – Since losing to Hazel Green on Dec. 21, the No. 9 Spain Park Jaguars have found a rhythm with five wins in a row, including a perfect 3-0 record at the Battle 205 tournament Dec. 20-22 at Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena.

The Jags, who are now 13-3 overall with all three losses by 10 points or less, swept through the tournament with wins against Wenonah, Ramsay and Jackson-Olin all by double digits.

The Jaguars opened the tournament against Class 5A No. 2 Wenonah, and they quickly jolted out to a double-digit lead in the opening quarter thanks to 24 points.

Impressively, that was matched with stellar defense, as the Dragons found it difficult to get any clean looks.

That led to more opportunities for the Spain Park offense, and both Zach Gray and Hunter Herritt capitalized with late 3-pointers for a 24-10 advantage at the end of one.

The second quarter was much more of a defensive battle between the two teams, but the Jags got another early 3-pointer from Gray to make the score 27-12.

Spain Park eventually took a 20-point lead at 34-14, but Wenonah responded with a 7-2 run to end the half.

Wenonah responded in the second half with its best quarter of the game in the third quarter, totaling 17 points, but the Dragons never could get over the hump.

Spain Park again outscored them by one point to extend the lead to 54-38 going to the final quarter.

From there, the Jags were able to do enough with 14 points in the final quarter to put away the 68-54 win.

Colin Turner had a big game for the Jaguars with 27 points, five rebounds and four blocks, while Gray added 12 points and three rebounds. Josh Harrington also finished in double figures with 10 points and five assists, also adding three steals.

A day later, the Jags came back to take on their second Class 5A top-five team in a row against No. 5 Ramsay.

This time around, the game was tightly contested throughout, but a furious finish from Spain Park ultimately made the difference in a 74-56 victory.

Despite the close nature of the game through three quarters, the Jags gave a precursor to the finish in the opening quarter.

Turner blocked several shots defensively, while Harrington and Gray hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 14-2 advantage.

Ramsay, however, responded with a 7-0 run to trim the deficit to five points heading to the second quarter.

The Jags responded early in the second quarter with another run thanks to a Herritt 3-pointer and a Turner dunk to jump up by 10 points.

Spain Park seemingly had an answer for every Ramsay run, as Gray hit another 3-pointer shortly after to make it 24-16, while Chase James hit one later to end another Rams’ run and make it 30-23.

The Jags added four more points in the quarter and Ramsay five to bring the game to the half with Spain Park in front 34-28.

That led to an exciting back-and-forth game in the third quarter, as the two continued trading blows, which led to the Jags retaining their lead going to the final quarter.

Up 50-43, Spain Park had been close to putting together a game-changing run throughout the first three quarters, but Ramsay halted it every time.

That changed in the final quarter.

The Jaguars started the period on 12-5 run to open up a 14-point lead, which ultimately became too much for the Rams to overcome.

It was part of a final quarter that saw Spain Park outscore Ramsay 24-13 to put away the 18-point victory.

Gray finished the game with 22 points thanks in large part to four 3-pointers, while Turner added 20 points and eight rebounds. Josh Harrington and Chase James both finished in double figures as well with Harrington totaling 14 points and seven assists and James totaling 10 points.

Spain Park then closed the tournament with its most lop-sided win of the tournament, taking down Jackson-Olin 55-22.

The Jaguars gave up just two points in the opening quarter and 15 points through the first three quarters to help pull away for the victory and finish the tournament 3-0.

Sam Wright led the way with 11 points and six rebounds in the final game, while Herritt added 10 points and four assists. Jared Smith chipped in seven points and five rebounds.