Long drops 22 as Spain Park rallies for fourth-quarter comeback win against Oak Mountain

Published 1:15 am Saturday, January 20, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars lurked until they were ready to strike, and when they did in the fourth quarter, they did so in a big way to claim a rivalry win.

A crucial 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter put the Jags up for good over their rival Oak Mountain Eagles in a 48-43 battle at Spain Park High School on Friday, Jan. 19 in another memorable entry to the long-running feud between the neighboring schools.

Of Spain Park’s 48 points, Korbin Long and TJ Lamar combined for 35 of them, including 22 for Long in a massive night for the senior guard to get his team to 4-0 in area play.

The Eagles and Jags spent the first couple of minutes of the game feeling each other out, but it quickly became a back-and-forth first quarter dictated by the long ball.

Christopher Kunard hit a three-pointer to give Oak Mountain a 5-4 lead, and after Long made a three two minutes later to give Spain Park the lead, Kevin Jasinski took the lead right back on the next possession with a three-pointer of his own.

Jasinski would hit another three-pointer with less than a minute left in the first to take the lead to four, but a deep two from Long at the buzzer put the score at 15-13 with the Eagles still in front.

However, that quickly changed at the start of the second quarter.

Jasinski hit two more three-pointers in the first 40 seconds of the quarter to increase his team’s lead to eight and ignite the traveling Oak Mountain supporters.

While the Eagles would lead by nine at one point in the second, Spain Park slashed the lead by five in the final minute-and-a-half of the quarter.

A Quinn Davis three-pointer with thirty seconds left was the final blow of the half as the Jags took a 27-24 lead into the halftime locker room.

In the third quarter, Oak Mountain increased its lead to five on two separate occasions, and each of those times, Spain Park answered to draw within a possession of the lead.

With less than a minute left in the third, Gray Plaia hit a three-pointer for his lone points of the game, but it was crucial to put the Eagles up six heading into the fourth quarter.

With Spain Park trailing 38-32, the hosts needed an emphatic response to start the fourth, and that’s exactly what the Jags got.

Spain Park opened the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the period, and it took the lead during that stretch on an emphatic and-one from Lamar.

Kenard helped the Eagles claw back to a 42-40 deficit shortly after a Long three put the Jags up two possessions, but Oak Mountain would never regain its lead.

With the game on the line and the Eagles threatening to strike back, Spain Park calmly put the game away on the free throw line.

Long, Lamar and Jackson Bradley made all of their free throws in the fourth quarter as the team went 7-9 from the charity stripe to help the Jags earn the five-point win and remain perfect in area play.

In addition to Long’s 22-point night, Lamar dropped 13 points and Davis scored six points for Spain Park.

For Oak Mountain, Kunard scored 15 points, Jasinski had 12 points and Emanuel Johnson recorded seven points.

The Jags won’t have long to celebrate the win as they will look for home wins on back-to-back days when they take on Indian Springs on Saturday, Jan. 20. Tipoff is at 3 p.m. at Spain Park High School.

Oak Mountain will travel to Hewitt-Trussville on Tuesday, Jan. 23 to face the Huskies in a road battle in area play.