Calera picks up 17th win in last 18 games

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Calera continued its dominant stretch on the hardwood when the Eagles traveled to North Shelby County on Monday, Jan. 22, to take on county and 5A opponent Briarwood.

The Eagles found themselves in a battle early against a very good Briarwood squad, but eventually the height and athleticism became too much as Calera used four scorers in double figures to run away to a 67-48 win.

Now sitting at 18-4 (6-0) overall this season and having finished a perfect 6-0 in area play, Calera has won 17 of its last 18 contests and is starting to make noise across the state.

The first five minutes of the opening quarter was full of back-and-forth excitement between two of the better 5A teams in the county, which led to 10-10 tie after three combined 3-pointers in a row from each team.

Calera was able to respond with a quick 11-0 run as they started picking up the pace and forcing Briarwood to play the Eagles’ style of play, which is fast.

Trailing 21-10 with a few seconds remaining in the quarter, Briarwood (10-7, 2-1) was able to run a perfectly drawn up play that ended in a Carson Donnelly made jumper at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 21-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Cornelius Brown and Tyler Millin had eight and seven points, respectively, in the opening period to pace Calera’s strong offensive start.

The second quarter started out with Brown draining a 3-pointer right in front of the student section, who was heckling him early in the game. Brown responded by holding up three fingers to the students after the Eagles extended their lead to 24-12.

But the Lions responded with a big offensive rebound and an Izaiah Jones 3-pointer.

Each team continued the hot shooting behind the arc as 3-pointers were made in three of the next four possessions. After leading by 12 at one points, Calera was able to take a 31-23 lead into the half.

Coming out of the break, Briarwood was able to gather some momentum with a quick 5-2 run that brought the Lions to within five points. But that was as close as the Lions were able to get the remainder of the way.

Calera started running the floor and taking advantage of a Briarwood defense that had put a ton of physical effort into the game just to keep pace. The Eagles’ athleticism led to a 12-0 run and a 44-28 lead.

They eventually extended the run to 16-2 as they took a 49-30 lead over the Lions, before Briarwood ended the quarter on a 4-0 run to get within 15 heading to the fourth.

That 4-0 run for the Lions carried over into the fourth quarter thanks to Hayden Lamey. Briarwood ended up going on an 11-0 run dating back to the end of the third quarter thanks to eight points from Lamey during the run.

His scoring as well as a 3-pointer from Jack Dicen got the Lions within eight points, trailing 49-41 with just over five minutes remaining.

Shortly after, Calera was able to land the final blow thanks to an and-1 from Kevin Dowdell, two technical free throws from CJ Smith and two regular free throws from Brown. All of that one-sided action led to the Eagles taking a 60-43 lead with little time left on the clock, as they were able to close out the 67-48 win.

Brown led the Eagles with 21 points, while Millin added 14 points featuring several dunks and strong athletic moves to the basket. The two other double-figure scorers for Calera were Dowdell and Smith with 13 points apiece.

Briarwood was led by Donnelly and Lamey with 11 points, while Michael Hiers added nine points of his own.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com