Lady Jags fueled by low expectations

Mike Chase doesn’t shy away from the role of an outsider.

In fact, he kisses her.

After several years of being at or near the top of the Class 7A totem pole, little is expected of the Spain Park High School girls’ basketball team this year from the outside world. The Lady Jaguars want to exceed those expectations.

Spain Park faced more list attrition than normal. In addition to the normal senior graduates, the Lady Jags have also lost a few players who have transferred from schools and a few who excel in other sports and have chosen to focus exclusively on them.

That being said, the Lady Jags will move forward with what they have – a squad full of players ready to go in every game.

“I have kids who listen to everything I tell them to do,” said Chase, Spain Park head coach. “They will go through a brick wall. We are going to be competitive.

One thing, according to Chase, that will make the difference this season is his four seniors. These seniors have been in the program for several years and know exactly what Chase expects from his teams.

Camille Chase, Kerri Barnes, Paxton Gillipsie and Alex Baskin will lead this year’s squad on and off the pitch. Camille has been contributing for a few years and will need to have a solid year on both ends of the floor to give the Lady Jags a chance, but the other three will also have their chance to make a significant impact. Their coach believes they could have started and done well for many other teams across the state over the past two years.

“They don’t have a lot of field experience, but I have four kids aged 17 and 18 who are really good in the weight room, really tough, physical, completely bought into what I’m saying, and they love each other, ”said Mike Chase.

Over the summer, Spain Park faced some of the best teams in the state, taking on Hazel Green, Hoover, Sparkman, Bob Jones and others.

“Everyone thinks we’re going to be down, but I just love this situation, and I think our kids love this situation,” Chase said.

The program in season is not simpler. The Lady Jags faced Sparkman to start the season and face McGill-Toolen, Mortimer Jordan, Hoover and Homewood in out-of-zone games. They also host the Chevron Classic and participate in a tournament in Florida, which will also offer quality competition.

Chase said one of the toughest aspects of any season is playing in Zone 6, which includes Hewitt-Trussville, Vestavia Hills and Gadsden City. Hewitt-Trussville was in the state championship game last year, and Vestavia Hills looks set to give it a shot this year.

But Chase believes his team has plenty of room to grow and wants nothing more than to snag one of those top two spots in the region and advance to the playoffs.

“We could make the playoffs and easily be under .500 [record wise]”Chase said.” We have more growth in us than some of the other teams. “

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