Eagles to meet Warriors in title game

Calera High School guard Ronnie Clark defends Briarwood Christian guard Ben Parks in the Eagles' 66-46 victory over the Lions in the Shelby County tournament semifinals Dec. 19 at Bank Trust Arena on the University of Montevallo campus. (Reporter Photo /Wesley Hallman)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO — The Calera High School boys’ basketball team was knocked out of the Shelby County tournament prematurely a year ago.

The Eagles, with a majority of their roster returning, didn’t want to suffer a similar fate this season. Calera defeated Briarwood Christian 66-46 in the semifinals Dec. 19 at Bank Trust Arena on the University of Montevallo campus to set up a meeting with rival Thompson in the championship game.

The Eagles, who defeated the Warriors 47-44 in the first matchup between the two teams this season, will face the Warriors in a rematch Dec. 20 at 7:45 p.m.

Deondre Haynes and Ronnie Clark led Calera (12-1) with 18 points each in the victory.

Jordan Bishop and Titus Adams added 10 points each. Jeremy Hyde chipped in four points.

Howard Morris finished with three points. Chasen Baker contributed two points. Conner Bush added one point.

Jason Laatsch led Briarwood Christian (8-6) with 12 points.

Raymond Woods added nine points. Nathan Fincher chipped in seven points. Barnes Bankston and Josh Laatsch contributed six points each.

Devin Bowman, Sawyer McKenzie and Miller Bradford finished with two points each.

Clark converted a three-point play with 1:58 left in the opening period to give the Eagles a 11-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Calera opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run, capped with a jumper by Haynes, to take its first double-digit lead in the game at 17-6 with 5:36 remaining in the first half.

Briarwood Christian responded with a 6-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 17-12 following a jumper by Fincher. The Lions cut the deficit to four points, 23-19, following a three-point play by Woods with 2:46 remaining in the first half.

However, Calera responded with a 7-0 run, capped with a 3-pointer by Haynes with 1:24 left in the second quarter, and carried a 30-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Eagles took control of the game in the third quarter following a 10-0 run, capped with a free throw by Howard Morris, which gave Calera a 40-21 midway through the period.

Haynes’ breakaway slam with 2:49 left in the third quarter gave the Eagles a 50-26 lead and a layup by Bishop with seven seconds left in the period pushed Calera’s lead to 57-28.

Calera stretched its lead to 31 points, 61-30, following a layup by Adams with 5:55 remaining in the game.