Spain Park wins area battle with rival Oak Mountain

Published 11:43 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars bounced back from their first losing streak of the season in a big way on Friday night, Jan. 6.

In a rivalry battle with Oak Mountain, the Jaguars overcame a 14-12 deficit early in the game by outscoring the Eagles 64-23 the rest of the way to open area play with a 76-39 rivalry win.

The game pitted former Pelham/Helena rivalry coaches Joel Floyd and Chris Laatsch against one another, while this season also marks the first for Floyd with the Eagles after serving on Laatsch’s staff at Spain Park the previous two seasons.

Early in the game, the coaching battle also transitioned to a thriller on the floor.

Oak Mountain came out hot on both ends of the floor, jolting out to a 10-5 lead. The Eagles had six different players help play a role in a 14-point opening quarter, but the Jags were able to close the early deficit late in the first period.

Zach Gray was a big reason why thanks to seven points down the stretch of the quarter to help trim the deficit to 14-12 heading to the second quarter.

That’s when Spain Park turned up its defensive presences, and the Jags used that to quickly create points on the other end with fast-break opportunities.

It led to easy baskets inside or trips to the free throw line throughout the period.

Sam Wright started the quarter on a 6-0 run by himself, and he scored eight in a row in the first 3:14 of the period to help the Jags take a 22-16.

Oak Mountain got a big 3-pointer from Eli Love right after, but the Jags had a big stretch after that with Gray and Chase James making a combined six free throws after being fouled shooting threes and Hunter Herritt sinking a shot from beyond the arc.

The Eagles did get a 3-pointer in that stretch, but they only added two more points the rest of the quarter, while the Jags posted nine more to take a 41-24 lead into the halftime break.

After outscoring Oak Mountain 28-10 in the period, Spain Park carried confidence into the second half, and it showed.

The Jags didn’t cool down at all during the break and came out with a quick emphatic dunk from Gray to spark a 14-0 run to extend the lead to 30 points at 54-24.

From there, Spain Park played with around a 30-point advantage the rest of the night and eventually took a 63-30 lead into the fourth quarter.

From there, a hot clock finished the game off quickly with Spain Park outscoring the Eagles 13-9 in the final quarter to complete the 37-point victory.

The Jaguars had 11 players score in the victory with Wright leading the pack with 17 points. Gray added 15 points, while James added nine. The Jags finished with 26 made free throws in 34 attempts.

Oak Mountain had eight different scorers but none in double figures. Grey Williams led the way with nine points, while Matthew Heiberger finished with seven.