Hoover ends special season for Sparkman girl’sPublished 4:18pm Friday, February 22, 2013
HANCEVILLE- It was not the ending Sparkman had hoped for. The team led by junior All-State forward Alexis Jennings wanted to get to Birmingham and the AHSAA Final 4 Championship but ran into Hoover in the regional and was eliminated 47-33 Friday afternoon.
Hoover started four seniors who have signed scholarships to play basketball with Division 1 universities. Two signed with Alabama, one with Vanderbilt and another with South Alabama.
Hoover’s size, experience, and talent were too much for Sparkman to overcome. Hoover’s Breigha Wilder-Cochran, a South Alabama signee had nine, Alabama signee Kara Rawls had 8, and Courtney Hunter, another Alabama signee had nine points.
“There is a reason every team in the SEC wants their players, they’re good,” said Sparkman coach Patrick Delay after the game. “They showed their maturity on the floor today getting the shots they wanted to get.”
Sparkman had their biggest lead at 12-7 in the second quarter and led 19-18 at halftime.
“We did a good job for about two and a half quarters,” Delay said. “We felt good going in at halftime up one. We knew they would give us their best shot. In the third quarter we got tired and lost focus and they started getting second chance points. They got on a run in the fourth quarter and stretched it out.”
Hoover out-rebounded Sparkman 52-30 and dominated the boards in the second half. Vanderbilt signee Marqu’es Webb had 16 rebounds and 15 points to lead Hoover.
“We held her to four points at halftime but she took over in the fourth quarter.”
Sparkman’s Alexis Jennings suffered a hamstring injury and had to come out of the game in the third quarter. She later returned but the game was out of reach as Hoover outscored Sparkman 17-8 in the fourth quarter.
Hoover’s Courtney Hunter held Sparkman’s Maiya Rumph to 0-5 shooting and only two points in the game. Jennings had 13 points, well below her average.
“Courtney is big, strong, and long and was able to contest the shots Maiya tried to take,” Delay said. “Alexis got hurt late in the third and that is when Hoover went on their run. She tweaked her hamstring. She picked up two fouls in the first half. They had big post players that went right at her so we did more substituting than we normally do.”
With both teams fans filling entire sections plus Hazel Green fans filling an entire end zone and cheering for Sparkman the crowd noise was at a fever pitch.
“It was loud they couldn’t hear what I was trying to say. Two great teams but only one team can win.”