Briarwood comeback falls short of the mark in loss to Dora

Published 11:36 am Monday, February 1, 2016

Briarwood took on Dora on Jan. 29 on senior night, and came up two points short in a 58-56 loss. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

Briarwood took on Dora on Jan. 29 on senior night, and came up two points short in a 58-56 loss. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

By AUSTIN FRANKLIN / Special to the Reporter

NORTH SHELBY – In a game defined by its physical play, both teams battled to the point of exhaustion as Briarwood’s desperate comeback came up just short and Dora managed to hang on to win 58-56 on the Lion’s senior night.

After decisively winning the first quarter by relying on senior center Thomas Collins, the Lion’s offense found itself sputtering in the second. The Bulldog’s physical defense began disrupting the offensive rhythm the Lion’s had played with early and Dora ultimately forced the Lions into taking bad shots and turning the ball over.

It was Dora’s Alex Russell and Kalen Bell that propelled the offensive run for the Bulldogs in the second quarter, with each player hitting two three’s and prompting a 14-2 run throughout the late section of the quarter. Kalen Bell’s first three pointer was from NBA range and provided the initial spark for the Bulldogs. Dora’s offensive takeover was highlighted by Tyreke Bell’s steal and dunk with a minute remaining in the first half that gave Dora a double digit lead going into the half.

The same zone scheme that limited Dora to just ten first quarter points gave way to a handful of second quarter three’s that forced the Lion’s into changing up their defensive scheme, “We changed our help coverage from off the baseline threes to bringing up our big man and we tried to force everything to the right side of the floor so that our big guy could help,” said Briarwood head coach Bobby Kerley.

Briarwood found itself down by 16 in the early moments of the third when the defensive changes began to slow Dora’s offense. The Lions’ Barrett Tindell and David Corbin changed the complexion of the game with stellar defensive play throughout the second half.

With the Lions’ defense slowing down Dora, Senior’s Carson Donnelly and Jeffery Travis led Briarwood’s offense back to within striking distance of Dora at the end of the third with Dora leading 46-39.

Briarwood’s fervent offensive attack and Dora doing everything it could to survive with the lead intact defined the fourth quarter. After a scary fall in the third, Kalen Bell returned for the Bulldogs and provided an answer to the Lion’s defensive adjustments, drawing key fouls down the stretch and hitting free throws.

After a quiet third, Thomas Collins reemerged in the fourth and brought the Lions within four with a minute remaining. Two missed free throws from the Bulldogs resulted in a quick transition for the Lions, whose Jeffery Travis was fouled shooting a three. Kalen Bell was assessed a technical on the play and after free throws the Lions were down only two with the ball.

With less than ten seconds to play, Travis received the inbounds pass and looked for an open look before launching a desperation three that bounced off the rim as time expired.

Coach Kerley reflected on the effort of his team after the game by saying, “It wasn’t surprising at all because I’ve coached this guys since they were in 7th grade and this isn’t the first time they’ve showed that kind of character. This is a great core group of seven guys that we’re going to miss a lot. One, they’re talented and two, they’re capable of doing stuff like tonight where they’re down by sixteen and never quit or lose hope.”

While the Lions’ are going to lose some very talented seniors, the young members of the team excite Kerley.

“It was good to see some of our young guys help them. One of the things we started about was playing for our seniors tonight, and I really think the young guys got that and left it all out there for them.”

Briarwood’s Thomas Collier led all scoring with 17 points.