Spain Park girls start area play with win over Oak Mountain

Published 12:18 am Saturday, January 6, 2024

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Publisher

NORTH SHELBY – The Spain Park girls basketball team gave head coach John Hadder a win in his Class 7A, Area 6 debut on Friday night, Jan. 5 in a rivalry win against Oak Mountain.

In a battle of the two teams separated by less than 2 miles, the Jaguars hit the road for the matchup at Oak Mountain and used a big fourth quarter from Jordyn Corey to help cement a thrilling four-point win.

Corey posted seven of her nine points in the final quarter, helping take a one-point game at the end of the third quarter and turning it into a 38-34 win.

Spain Park led 26-25 going to the final quarter, but the Jags were able to cap off a special night defensively by limiting Oak Mountain to just nine points from one scorer.

That lone scorer for the Eagles was Caroline Hester, who had a big second half with 19 total points to keep her team in the game, but the Jaguars made five total free throws in the final period that helped cement the win.

It capped off a thrilling game that saw neither team lead by more than four points at the end of any quarter.

The thrilling rivalry matchup started in the first quarter with a back-and-forth battle that included two 3-pointers from Victoria Flournoy to set the pace for the Jags and five points from Raegan Whitaker to do the same for the Jags.

Those two were key for their respective teams in a low-scoring start, while Spain Park got two points from Corey and one from Teagan Huey. Elizabeth Butler added two points for the Eagles, but it was the Jags who gathered an early 9-7 advantage.

It was part of a consistent start for the Jaguars, who got nine more points in the second quarter behind a balanced attack that saw Nylah Calhoun, Ava Leonard, Flournoy and Huey all score in the period.

Oak Mountain also got off to a steady start to the game, bettering the team’s first-quarter output by one point with eight combined from Addie Green, Joy Damron and Whitaker all scored to keep pace with the Jags, who took an 18-15 lead into the halftime break.

Out of the half, there wasn’t much shift in the gameplan, as both continued to focus heavily on defense, leading to another tight quarter.

This time, however, it was the Eagles who got the edge thanks to Hester.

She started her big second half with 10 points in the third quarter on four made field goals and a 2-2 mark from the free throw line.

Spain Park, however, limited the damage by not allowing another player to score in the period, while the offense remained consistent with eight more points, six of which came from Calhoun.

That allowed the Jags to carry a slim 26-25 lead into the final quarter.

Hester continued her big second half with nine points in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough, as she was again the only player to score for the Eagles.

The Jaguars capitalized by putting together their best quarter of the game with 12 points to polish off the four-point win.

Flournoy led Spain Park with 10 points in the victory, while Corey and Calhoun both finished one point behind with nine.

Hester led all scorers with her 19 points in the loss for Oak Mountain.

Spain Park has now won six of the last seven games and is 1-0 in area play.