Oak Mountain fights back Briarwood, 35-30

By GRAHAM CARR / Special to the Reporter

NORTH SHELBY – In a defensive slugfest, the Oak Mountain Eagles outlasted the Briarwood Christian Lions, 35-30 in the second round of the Shelby County basketball tournament at Oak Mountain on Dec. 20.

“It was a tough hard fought basketball game,” Eagles coach Chris Love said. “Both teams played well and played their hearts out. We made some shots in the second half and handled their zone a little better.”

In the first half, both teams’ offenses were content on playing ball control. On several occasions Briarwood had possessions of more than a minute while Oak Mountain had several possessions longer than 45 seconds. This led to not much scoring as the halftime score was only 12-11 in favor of Briarwood.

The second half provided a little more scoring, as both teams’ offenses sped up their tempo. Briarwood had led for most of the game until Eagles guard Theron Anderson drained a 3-pointer with 2:50 left in the third quarter, giving the Eagles a 20-19 lead. Oak Mountain never relinquished the lead for the rest of the game, but Briarwood did not go away lightly.

Trailing 31-24 with 4:58 left in the game, Briarwood went on a quick 5-0 run to close the gap to 31-29 by the 4:10 mark.

Neither team would score for the next 3:27 of game time, but Eagles’ guard Pierre Clark hit two clutch free throws with 43 seconds left. The Lions could not get any closer.

The Eagles were led by center Chris Lamb’s 15 points

The Lions leading scorer was Josh Laatsch with nine points.

Oak Mountain will face Thompson in the semifinals while Briarwood will face Calera in a consolation game.

Love said his team knows that Thompson will be a great challenge.

“They beat us pretty good over at their place,” Love said. “They are awfully good. We just have got to see if we can control the tempo and not get in an up−and−down the court type game. We have to cut back on our turnovers and see what happens. It is just fun right now. We just want to get better and come out of tomorrow night’s game better than we went in it, win or lose.”