Chelsea tops Briarwood in Shelby County tourney

The Chelsea High School boys basketball team entered an opening round matchup with rival Briarwood Christian School in the Shelby County basketball tournament looking to snap a six-game, four-year losing streak to the Lions.

Chelsea coach Michael Napp was finally able to know what it feels like to walk off the court with a win over Briarwood, as the Hornets defeated the Lions 45-40 at Bank Trust Arena on the University of Montevallo campus Friday night.

“It’s a huge win for us,” said Napp, who finally topped Briarwood in his fourth season at the helm.

Junior Jake Ganus led the Hornets (6-7) with 21 points. D.D. Washington added eight points. Brandon Horton finished with seven points and John Calhoun chipped in four points.

Jason Laatsch led Briarwood (8-4) with 12 points. James Palmer added eight points. Kalan Reed contributed seven points and Justin Bice finished with six points.

The Hornets jumped out to an early 13-7 lead after the first quarter. The Lions cut the lead to 22-18 heading into the locker room at halftime.

Chelsea extended its lead to 28-20 early in the third quarter before Laatsch hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 28-26 late in the quarter. Reed tied the game at 30-all with a layup early in the fourth quarter. Laatsch gave the Lions their first lead since the first quarter when he drained a 3-pointer to put Briarwood ahead 34-31 with 3:50 remaining in the game.

Back-to-back baskets by Ganus and Washington, coupled with missed field goals by Palmer and Laatsch, put the Hornets ahead for good.

Napp said he was surprised by how well his youthful team performed in crunch time.

“We’re a very young team, Napp said. “We finished the game with three sophomores and a junior on the floor. These guys are very high energy and have a lot of confidence.”

The Hornets sealed the win with Horton, a senior, hitting 4-of-4 free throws in the final minute.

“Brandon was on the line trying to get his first win against Briarwood,” Napp said. “Kudos to him.”

Chelsea will meet either Oak Mountain or Pelham in the tournament semifinals Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The Lions will face the loser between the Eagles and the Panthers at 11 a.m. Monday.

Calera defeated Montevallo in early action Friday afternoon. The Eagles advanced to meet Shelby County in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Monday. Montevallo will face the loser between Thompson and Vincent at 11:45 a.m. Monday.

Deondre Haynes scored a career-high 53 points later in the evening to help the Eagles (7-6, 1-0 in Class 4A, Area 8) pick up a 106-78 area win over Bibb County. Blayne Sumrall chipped in 22 points in the win.

GIRLS

Pelham 75, Chelsea 28

Sydney Days led Pelham with 19 points, as the Panthers hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and ran away from the Hornets for a 47-point win.

Lindsey Young and Ally Slaughter added 13 points each. Katelyn Speights finished with 10 points.

Sydney Arnold and Perri Lambert led Chelsea (6-7) with seven points each.

Pelham will face either Thompson or Shelby County at 3:15 p.m. Monday. The Hornets will meet the loser between the Warriors and the Wildcats at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.