Spain Park wins Jag Classic, improves to 8-0
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HOOVER – The perfect season will last at least through the Thanksgiving break for the Spain Park Jaguars, who completed a 4-0 tournament record at their host tournament the Jag Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 24, when they took down Gardendale in the championship game.
The Jags took down the Rockets 86-64 to improve to 8-0 on the season and remain the only unbeaten team in Shelby County.
Spain Park used a torrid pace throughout the game that eventually tired out Gardendale, while four players scored in double figures, two scored 20 or more and Colin Turner posted a career high 24 points.
The fast-paced game started early with the two teams combining for 44 points in the first quarter of the game.
Spain Park, however, took the early advantage with five players scoring at least three points in the opening period, including eight from Turner.. After grabbing a 25-19 lead at the end of the frame, the Jags never looked back.
In the second quarter, Gardendale battled throughout and cut the deficit to four points at 29-25 after hitting a big 3-pointer, but the Jags put together a strong run after that.
With the fast pace continuing, several were huffing and puffing their way up and down the court, but the constant running and ball movement didn’t stop.
With an eight-point lead, the Jags really turned the game into their favor during a key stretch late in the half.
After Cam Crawford fell down on the defensive end of the floor due to a great offensive play from Gardendale, he got back up and got right back to work on the other end, not letting the moment keep him down.
With the ball in the post and his defender’s back turned, Crawford sprinted down the paint for the perfect back-door cut, which led to a dunk to put the Jags back up by 10 points.
Then, after a strong defensive stand, Crawford came back down the floor, got the ball at the top of the circle and drove down the paint again, this time spinning around his defender for a layup to put the Jags up 41-29.
That’s when Blake Floyd made his presence known.
The senior made a layup to continue the Spain Park run, then, with time winding down in the half, head coach Chris Laatsch barked out the perfect play.
Floyd got the ball, passed to a teammate who came around to grab the ball and then kicked it to the corner for Floyd, who was wide open for a 3-pointer at the buzzer to complete a 9-0 run by Spain Park to end the half and make the score 46-29 at the half.
Coming out of the break, Spain Park extended the lead to as many as 22 points at 57-35 as the fast-paced game continued, but the Rockets clawed their way back into the game with an 11-3 run to end the period, which cut the Jags advantage to 14 points at 60-46 going to the final quarter.
But that’s when the up-tempo pace of the game finally caught up with the Rockets.
Gardendale cut it to as little as 60-48 on the first basket of the second half, but that’s as close as the Rockets could get.
Spain Park eventually put the game out of reach with a strong stretch of play that seemed to gas the Rockets.
It started with a corner 3-pointer from Crawford out of an inbounds play, and then continued with an and-1, a steal and layup, an offensive put back and great ball movement leading to two more layups.
At that point, you could hear Spain Park’s bench talking about how tired they had made the Rockets, but the Jags weren’t going to let their guard down.
And just a few possessions later, they put the final clamp on the game when Crawford and Turner had emphatic dunks on back-to-back possessions.
That put Spain Park up 84-54, which was a lead that led the Jags to the comfortable win.
Turner led the way with his 24 points, while Crawford added 20, as those two combined for 44.
Behind that, Josh Harrington posted six points in the first quarter and ended with 10 points, while JR Lambert had six in the second quarter and went on to finish with 10. A total of 10 players scored in the win.