Calera staves off comeback to beat Briarwood

Published 11:10 am Friday, November 30, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – A slow first quarter by both Briarwood and Calera led to a dominant second quarter by the Eagles, before the Lions attempted to mount an incredible comeback on Thursday, Nov. 29, in a county matchup at Briarwood Christian School.

The Eagles, however, were able to hold on for a 39-31 victory after holding a 14-point halftime lead that saw the Lions score just seven points in the first two quarters. 

Both teams started the game trying to make a statement defensively, which led to Briarwood having just one point through the first few minutes of action and Calera four points.

The Lions, however, were able to eventually able to capitalize on chances with a 4-0 run to end the period, capped off by a buzzer-beating jumper by Caroline Mays thanks to a beautifully designed inbounds play.

It gave Briarwood its only lead of the opening quarter, but seemed to spark some energy in Calera coming out in the second half.

After a slow start to the second quarter on the offensive end by both teams, Calera’s full-court press started to payoff.

The Eagles were able to get steals in the backcourt on three of the next four Briarwood possessions, which led to a quick 8-0 run in the first three minutes of the period.

The Lions were able to stop the run with a couple of free throws, but Briarwood’s defense that has been so consistent this season, had a tough time handling the speed and aggressiveness of Calera’s offense.

That combined with several of the Eagles’ scoring opportunities coming on fast breaks led to them closing the quarter out on a 12-0 run to outscore Briarwood 20-2 in the period and take a 24-7 lead into the half.

It put the Lions in a tough spot needing a lot of offense to pull off a comeback, with their style lending more toward the defensive end.

Coming out of the locker room, however, the Lions had different attitude about them on the offensive end, going down low and crashing the boards.

Briarwood outscored Calera 14-7 in the quarter with eight of those 14 points coming thanks to four offensive rebounds.

The Eagles were eventually able to answer with a 3-pointer and another jumper to extend the lead back to 16 points at one point in the period, but the Lions closed out the third on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 10 points at 31-21 heading to the final frame.

The lead continued to dwindle away for Calera in the final quarter, as Briarwood built off its 6-0 run to close the third quarter with another 6-0 run to start the fourth, which brought the Lions to within four points at 27-31.

The lead stayed close to four or five points over the next few minutes before the Lions trimmed it down to three points thanks to a steal off an inbounds pass led to an easy layup to make the score 34-31 with 55 seconds left.

Briarwood then forced a jump ball on the ensuing possession to get the ball right back and give them a chance down three points, but a travel turned it back over to Calera with 50 seconds left.

The rest of the game became about free throw shooting, as Briarwood started trying to press on offense to get back in the game.

Calera went on to hit one more jumper and make three of its final six free throws to stave off the comeback and pull off a 39-31 victory.

The Eagles were led by three scorers with 11 points as A.B. Davis, Treasure Davis and Taylor Thrash all hit that mark.

Briarwood’s Emily Scott led the Lions with a game-high 12 points, including 10 in the second half comeback attempt.