Senior-laden Lady Lions experiencing early season success

Published 10:45 am Monday, November 30, 2015

Jennie Reese (shooting) is one of five seniors on the Briarwood girls' basketball team. (File)

Jennie Reese (shooting) is one of five seniors on the Briarwood girls’ basketball team. (File)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

BRIARWOOD – After finishing the 2014-15 season with a 10-16 overall record, the Briarwood basketball Lady Lions have already won half as many games as they did all of last season through the first six games of the 2015-16 campaign. Through Nov. 23, Briarwood had amassed a 5-1 record thanks in part to the play of a large senior class.

Briarwood head girls coach Jim Brown is not as surprised as some might think by this teams’ early season success. Brown knew after last year, despite the unenviable final record, that this team had the chance to improve.

“I really felt like we had a chance to have a really good team in tryouts last year,” Brown said on Nov. 25. “We have not often had five seniors on the team. In years that we’ve had five seniors we’ve had good seasons. We have a chance to really be pretty good.”

The five seniors on this Briarwood squad, and coincidentally the five starters, are Molly McKenzie, Shelly Proctor, Amelia Moore, Ellie Tarence and Jennie Reese. Tarence, the team’s starting point guard, was the last to start playing basketball of the group as an eighth-grader, the rest have been with the program since the beginning of middle school, according to Brown.

When looking ahead to the rest of the season, Brown said the goals for this year are the same as they are every year.

“We want to get out of the area and go to substate and have a chance to go to the regional tournament,” Brown said. “We’ve got some skill at every position and every backup position, which is a real plus for us. Most games we’re going to play 10 people.”

The biggest problem for Briarwood is the Lady Lions play in a very tough area. Homewood, the defending 6A state champions, are in the same area as Briarwood, as is John Carroll Catholic, and both the Lady Patriots and the Lady Cavaliers have the majority of their rosters back from a season ago.

There is still plenty of season left to play, but this Briarwood bunch has already made a significant jump from a season ago, and time will tell if the Lady Lions can make a postseason run.