Briarwood boys fall in Tip-Off finals

Briarwood's Josh Laatsch drives in against a Tuscaloosa County defender on Nov. 27. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Briarwood’s Josh Laatsch drives in against a Tuscaloosa County defender on Nov. 27. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

CHELSEA — Close, but no cigar.

The Briarwood boys basketball team made it all the way to the finals of the North Shelby Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 27 before falling to Tuscaloosa County, 53-37.

While both squads made it to championship round via not losing a game in the tournament, TCHS was considered the favorite to capture the title.

Despite begin considered the underdogs, BCS came out swinging early, opening up a 5-0 lead on a three-point shot along with a outback layup by Justin Brown. Two more layups by Sam Cargo helped the Lions extend their lead to 9-6. Steady shooting by Sawyer McKenzie along with the inside play of Brown gave the Lions a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Unfortunately for the Lions, the lead didn’t last, as the Wildcats opened up the second quarter with a 5-2 run to take a 19-17 lead. The quarter became a fierce defensive struggle, as the Lions could only muster one more point the rest of the half. The Wildcats added to their lead, taking a 25-18 score into halftime.

After the intermission, the Wildcats came out on fire, tightening up their defense and shooting accurately. TCHS reeled off seven points to start the half, allowing Briarwood to limited shots and just six total points for the quarter. A 12-4 run by the Wildcats allowed them to establish control and take a commanding 42-24 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Lions continued to try and cut into the lead, but the shots continued to fall for Tuscaloosa Academy. A 4-0 BCS run to start the quarter was matched by a 9-2 scoring drive by the Wildcats. Tuscaloosa County’s lead proved to be insurmountable, as it took the 53-37 win.

Despite the loss, both Brown and Josh Laatsch were named to the all-tournament team, as Brown finished with 12 points, Laatsch with eight and Cargo with six.

The Lions travel to Vincent on Dec. 3 to take on the Yellow Jackets.