Briarwood starts season strong

Published 12:32 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

Luke Dyson drives to the basket during Briarwood's Nov. 19 win over Benjamin Russell. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

Luke Dyson drives to the basket during Briarwood’s Nov. 19 win over Benjamin Russell. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)drop

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

Briarwood Christian School’s football season ended on Nov. 13 with a 27-0 loss to the Austin Black Bears in the second round of the 6A state playoffs. The basketball season started four days after football season ended with a Nov. 17 game on the road against Dora and was quickly followed with the Lions Nov. 19 home opener against Benjamin Russell, which the Lions split.

In the Dora game, Briarwood lost in overtime by a final of 70-66. Senior brothers Kelan and Tyreke Bell combined for 55 of the Bulldogs’ 70 points, and scored all but six of Dora’s 18 overtime points to lead Dora over the Lions. Briarwood only scored 32 points through the first three quarters before putting up 22 in the fourth quarter to force overtime, led primarily by Thomas Collier’s 13 fourth quarter points.

“Heading over to Dora was a great experience for us,” Briarwood head coach Bobby Kerley said. “It’s a tough place to play, they have guys that just love to play. We grew up a lot in one night.”

The Lions bounced back from the close opening night loss with an easy, 67-25 win over Benjamin Russell in Briarwood’s home opener on Nov. 19. The Wildcats only managed seven total second half points as Briarwood trotted to its first win of the season.

“For us last night it was all about focus and execution,” Kerley said, in reference to the Benjamin Russell game. “We played unselfish, beautiful basketball. We shared the ball really well, we were making great passes and turning down good shots for great shots, which was really encouraging.”

Collier, who combined for 41 points and 21 rebounds combined in the first two games, has been the inside presence that Kerley was hoping he would be before the season.

“Thomas has been a big difference maker,” Kerley said. “Defensively he alters so many shots, everyone else can extend on defense because they know he’s back there. “

The Lions are also working four football players back into the mix in Luke Dyson, RJ Jennings, Barrett Tindall and Carson Donnelley. The four had one day of basketball practice before the Dora game, but are already being called on to contribute. Donnelley especially, as he is the Lions’ starting point guard.

“Carson played the whole game at Dora,” Kerley said. “We pretty much have thrown them into the fire. He would have played the whole game (against Benjamin Russell) if I needed him to.”

As of Nov. 20, the Lions were 1-1 on the season.