Lions top John Carroll to earn postseason berth

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – It’s been a special season for the Briarwood girls basketball team, as the Lions play for long-time head coach Jim Brown who passed away last summer, and on Tuesday, Feb. 5, they picked up an emotional win.

Taking on John Carroll in the first round of the area tournament at Ramsay High School on Tuesday, Feb. 5, the Lions played to their strong suit by shutting down the Cavaliers defensively to pick up a 47-26 victory and advance to not only the area tournament championship game, but also the sub-regional round of the playoffs.

Briarwood didn’t just put together a decent defensive performance, the Lions dominated on that end of the floor, limiting John Carroll to single digits in ever quarter of the game, not allowing more than eight points in any period.

That effort was set from the start, as the Lions came out and pressured the ball early and often, making good looks at the basket difficult to come by for the Cavs.

Briarwood’s defense held John Carroll to one made field goal in the first quarter and five total points.

Offensively, the Lions didn’t quite have the start their defense did putting up just eight points in the quarter on three field goals and one free throw, but with them having the better defense, they were fine playing in a defensive game.

But as the game went on, Briarwood’s offense also started to heat up starting in the second quarter.

The Lions came out and knocked down five field goals and three free throws in the quarter to post 13 points, a total that could have been hire had they not missed seven free throws in the period.

But the 13 points were more than enough to extend their lead thanks to another strong performance on the defensive end of the floor holding the Cavaliers to seven points in the frame, which gave Briarwood a 21-12 lead at the half.

The halftime break didn’t halt the Lions’ success whatsoever. If anything, Briarwood came out and played its best overall quarter of the game in the third.

The Lions hit their most field goals of the game in the period, knocking down seven shots, while also going 2-3 from the free throw line to post 16 points in the frame.

Defensively, Briarwood continued to suffocate John Carroll on every possession. The Cavaliers once again failed to get anything going and hit just two field goals and one free throw in the third quarter to post six points, which allowed the Lions to really open up the lead heading to the final frame up 37-18.

With John Carroll failing to have any success throughout the game, it was hard pressed to find a route to a comeback.

While Briarwood had its second worst offensive quarter of the game compared to John Carroll’s best offensive quarter of the game, the Lions still outscored the Cavs in the final period.

John Carroll hit two 3-pointers and posted eight points in the final period, but the Lions hit three of four from the free throw line and scored 10 points in the quarter to close out the easy 21-point win.

Maddie Vaughn and Jalen Hunter were keys in the offensive success posting 15 and 12 points, respectively, thanks to a combined 10 field goals and 5-7 mark from the stripe, while the entire team was responsible for the win thanks to the defensive effort.