Spain Park claims Jag Challenge title as Hadder reaches 300 career wins

Published 11:01 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars kept their winning ways going by beating the Montevallo Bulldogs and John Carroll Catholic Cavaliers to win the Jag Challenge, and in the process, helped their coach reach an important milestone.

With the semifinal win over Montevallo on Thursday, Dec. 28, Jags coach John Hadder reached 300 wins for his coaching career.

After winning 295 games as the Vincent boys basketball coach, Hadder needed just five more wins at the start of the season to clear 300 wins, and he earned his 300th and 301st victories at the Jag Challenge.

Hadder honored the effort that his players have shown through their five-game win streak.

“I told the girls I was more interested in the improvement we are showing and the number of wins for this team than any number that involved me,” Hadder said.

To earn their coach’s 300th win, Spain Park had to beat the Bulldogs 41-31 to open the tournament.

The Jags had the early edge in the matchup of county teams and led 8-6 at the end of the first quarter thanks to baskets from four different players.

Montevallo’s Tristan Stoutermire took over the second quarter by scoring 10 of her teams 11 points as the Bulldogs defense held the Jags to just four points in the second.

With Montevallo leading 17-12 at halftime, Spain Park responded in the third quarter to take the lead for good.

The Jags hit four three-pointers, including a pair from Teagan Huey, to outscore the Bulldogs 16-6 in the third and take a 28-23 lead into the fourth quarter.

From there, Spain Park added 13 more points in the fourth, highlighted by eight points from Ava Leonard, to secure the 10-point victory.

Huey and Leonard tied for a team-high 11 points, and Jordyn Corey scored seven points in the win.

For Montevallo, Stoutermire led all scorers in the game with 19 points.

Spain Park used that win to put on a dominant performance against John Carroll to win the championship game 54-5 on Friday, Dec. 29.

The Jags opened the game with 15 points, including seven from Corey, while allowing just three from the Cavs to take an early double-digit lead.

From there, Spain Park held John Carroll scoreless in the second and third quarters with a strong defensive effort.

The Jags poured on the points on the other end of the floor and dropped 27 in the second quarter alone. Nylah Calhoun scored eight points in the second as eight different Jags made at least one basket from the field during that time.

Spain Park extended its 42-3 halftime lead with six points in each of the last two quarters to see out the win and take the title.

Calhoun had a game-high 11 points, all in the first half, while Corey scored 10 points and Zylan Heyligar had eight points. Tori Flournoy had five points for the Jags and Leonard, Huey and MC Hunter each scored four points apiece.