Montevallo hangs on to beat Briarwood
Published 7:10 pm Thursday, December 17, 2015
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
NORTH SHELBY – In the first round of the 2015 Shelby County boys’ basketball tournament, the No. 4 school in class 4A, Montevallo, got everything they could handle from a tough Briarwood team. In a tightly contested, back-and-forth affair, the Bulldogs escaped with a 48-46 win to advance to the second round of the tournament.
Thomas Collier, who presented matchup problems for Montevallo, led Briarwood all night. Collier, who finished with 14 points, was dominant inside at times grabbing rebounds and altering shots for the Lions. At the end of the game however, it was Montevallo’s Tae’ Smith and Tavarus Hall who made the difference in the game.
Smith picked up his fourth foul of the contest in the third quarter with just under three minutes left and the game tied at 26 apiece. Montevallo head coach Gregory Dickinson opted not to take his star out of the game, which was a decision that paid off in spades in the fourth quarter.
“He’d played in that situation before,” Dickinson said after the game. “I trust him when he has that fourth foul. He knows to keep his hands off and go straight up with it and if he’s beat to just let them go. He’s our leading scorer, so we’ve got to have in situations like that.”
Smith hit three triples in the fourth quarter, each one deeper than the last, and finished the quarter with 10 points while Hall hit a three in the quarter as well to help Montevallo get the two-point win.
“They were the two kids we talked about,” Briarwood coach Bobby Kerley said after the game. “We were trying to convince us how deep they could shoot from. We spent so much time trying to pack things in, and then saying, ‘Well, these two guys can shoot from the logos,’ and a couple of times we lost them, and it costs us.”
Briarwood clawed back from down 41-46 with less than two minutes to go to tie the game at 46 apiece when Jeffrey Travis hit a clutch triple with under a minute to play. Montevallo wound the clock down on the other end, and Hall cleaned up an Undreaz Lilly missed shot with less than five seconds left to get the two-point win and move on in the tournament.