Briarwood girls honor the late Jim Brown with special victory

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Briarwood’s girls basketball team found themselves in a key area rematch with Woodlawn on Tuesday, Jan. 22, but the last thing on the team’s mind was redemption, or even picking up an area victory.

Instead, the Lions were determined to honor their former head coach Jim Brown on the one-year anniversary of his 500th victory.

After passing away in July of 2018, Brown’s impact was not only felt around the Briarwood community, but the county and state as well due to his kindness to everyone and his passion for coaching and teaching the next generation of young kids.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, the school honored him by reading a quote about his love and faithfulness for everyone and everything in his life, as well as his commitment to the Lord.

In honor of his legacy and 35 years of coaching, the girls basketball team has worn the letters ‘CB’ on their jerseys throughout the season, but on this night in particular you could see how proud the team was and there was going to be no letting him down as he watched from above.

After falling to Woodlawn 29-27 on Jan. 15, any one play could have made the difference in the victory, and on Jan. 22, the Lions put forth a fight on every play to make sure they were on the right end of every difference-making play in this game.

In the end, it took everything Briarwood had down the stretch, but with the extra motivation and assist from above, the Lions weren’t going to be denied and held on for a 28-27 victory, making several gutsy plays throughout to pick up the win.

Briarwood (8-7, 1-4) didn’t make a field goal in the final quarter of the game, but the Lions made just enough free throws after going 3-8 from the line in the period.

With BCS leading 25-16 heading to the final quarter, it was going to take a strong effort on both ends for Woodlawn to pull off the comeback after struggling to find any offensive success in the first three quarters.

The Colonels, however, were able to turn the game into their favor thanks to four field goals, three of which were 3-pointers, which allowed them to get within a point despite a seven-point lead for the Lions in the final 30 seconds.

The deficit was too much to overcome though, as Briarwood pulled out a hard-fought win.

A strong third quarter was key in that victory, as the Lions went on to post a game-high 13 points in the quarter to really open the scoring in a game that had seen neither team score more than seven points in the first period leading to a 12-12 halftime lead.

Coming out of the locker room, however, Briarwood was able to continue its strong effort with its best quarter of play on both ends of the floor.

The Lions limited Woodlawn to a game-low four points in the quarter, while going on to post those 13 points behind five different scorers and two 3-pointers from Jalen Hunter and Maddie Vaughn.

Leading by nine, Briarwood had created the exact cushion it needed to hand on for their first area win of the season, but it was a win that meant a lot more to each of the players as well as head coach Lorie Kerley, as they put a big smile on Brown’s face above.

Vaughn and Hunter ended up leading the Lions with seven points in the win, while Emily Scott added six points and Marylane Graham posted five points.

After his 500th win a year ago, Brown said with a chuckle, “It’s a sign of being old,” before finishing with a heartfelt sentiment about his love for Briarwood. “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.”

Now, Brown can rest easy and smile from above knowing that he is still having an impact at the one place he always wanted to be. His spirit will never leave, and his influence will never end.

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