Briarwood wins first game of season

Published 5:29 pm Monday, November 19, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

KIMBERLY – With their full team finally able to suit up, the Briarwood Lions basketball team was able to pick up its first win of the 2018-19 season on Monday, Nov. 19, in the second round of the Jeff-Dennis Jewelers Invitational at Mortimer Jordan High School.

The Lions, who have to deal with missing several players due to the football team’s playoff success every year, were in full force during the game for the first time after the football team lost in the second round of the playoffs on Friday, Nov. 16.

After losing to Homewood in the first round of the tournament, Briarwood found itself in the loser’s bracket of the tournament with a matchup against Gardendale, who lost to Oak Mountain in the opening round.

With the return of several key players, the Lions were able to play with a lot of confidence, and with the help of 17 points from hayden Lamey and 16 points from Jack Dicen, they went on to pick up 52-46 victory to improve to 1-2 on the season.

It was an action-packed game that saw the Rockets drain four 3-pointers in the opening period for all 12 of their points in the frame, but thanks to Lamey’s seven points in the quarter, Briarwood was able to take a slim one-point advantage, 13-12, heading to the second.

Clearly a focus for the Lions in between the two quarters was to limit 3-pointers by Gardendale, and they did just that.

The Rockets only made one shot from beyond the arc in the period, which led to Briarwood holding them to less than 10 points at nine, while the Lions were one point better than the first quarter at 14 to extend the lead at the half to 27-21.

A big reason for that strong second quarter was Lamey going 3-4 from the free throw line and adding five more points total for a halftime mark of 12. Dicen also hit two 3-pointers in the period to play an important role in extending the lead.

Coming out of the locker room in the second half, it was clear the two teams wanted to focus more on the defensive end, which led to a physical half with just 18 combined points.

Briarwood didn’t get to the free throw line in the period and made just four field goals for eight points, while the Rockets went to the line a few times and made four of their seven attempts, while also adding three field goals.

That edge at the line gave Gardendale a 10-8 advantage in the period, which cut the Lions’ lead to just four points at 35-31.

The physical play continued in the final quarter, but the defense wasn’t quite as strong as the teams combined for 32 points.

The difference was Briarwood finally getting aggressive with the basketball, plus playing with the lead, as they shot 15 free throws compared to the Rockets’ nine in the period.

The Lions also took advantage by hitting 10 of those 15 free throws, while Gardendale hit just six of their nine free throws.

Briarwood also got one last 3-pointer from Dicen to close out his scoring while Lamey and Sam Russell both hit field goals in the quarter, which led to outscoring the Rockets 17-15 in the period to hold on for the 52-46 win.

Russell was the Lions’ third leading scorer adding nine points in the victory. Seven different Briarwood players scored in the game.