Brown gets win No. 500 in dominant Briarwood win

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, will go down as one of the most special days in Briarwood girls basketball head coach Jim Brown’s life.

The coach, who has made his life teaching and coaching at Briarwood, was able to pick up his 500th career win as the Lions’ girls basketball head coach in a dominating 48-30 win over the visiting Calera Eagles.

“It’s a sign of being old,” Brown said with a chuckle after the historic win. “I’ve been given the chance to work with some really good people. This is the only place I have ever taught and the only place I’ve ever wanted to be.”

It was an accomplishment that Brown didn’t want people to know about before the game, and really was nonchalant about it after the win as well.

While the emotions were clear as his players surrounded him in celebration after athletic director Jay Matthews announced the milestone accomplishment, Brown just calmly smiled and carried on as he would at the end of any normal game.

But the way this Briarwood team is playing right now isn’t normal, it’s possibly the best they have looked in the last two seasons on the court.

With a combined record of 11-2 in their last 13 games, Briarwood and Calera came into the matchup looking to build off of recent success.

The Eagles had won five consecutive games, while the Lions have really turned up the pressure after starting 2-6 by winning six of their last eight games.

“We played a really good schedule and a lot of tough competition early and we’ve been on the plus side here lately,” Brown said of his team’s growing confidence. “I’m really proud of the way we are playing because we really seem to be improving and putting some things together.”

It was a slow start by both teams in the game as Calera came out to take an early 8-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but that seemed to wake up the Lions.

Briarwood turned up the heat in all facets of the game in the second period as they grabbed offensive rebounds, didn’t allow any second-chance points and forced several steals.

It led to the Lions going on a 9-0 run to start the quarter and eventually outscoring the Eagles 13-2 in the period, which gave Briarwood a 20-10 advantage at the half.

“Our press and our rebounding was really good tonight,” Brown said. “We struggled a little bit offensively early, but got it together after a slow start.”

That strong all-around play continued after the halftime break when the Lions were able to grab six more offensive rebounds in the third quarter as well as four more steals to extend their lead to an insurmountable 20 points at 33-13.

Calera tried to make a run early in the final quarter, but never got any closer than 15 points, while the Lions eventually gathered a 21-point lead at one point in the period.

Briarwood never looked back as they went on to win their seventh game in the last eight to improve to 9-8 overall this year and give their head coach his most special victory over a storied career.

Morgan Hutchinson had a game-high 14 points to lead Briarwood, while Sophie Muir-Taylor added 13 in the win.

Calera, now 14-9 on the season, was led by AB Davis with 13 points.

 

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com