Briarwood overcomes halftime deficit against John Carroll to move on

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

NORTH SHELBY – Ahead of a top-four battle in the second round of the playoffs on Tuesday, April 30, the Briarwood Lions had lost just one game all season, but a matchup against area foe John Carroll in the playoffs is never an easy task despite BCS having beaten them by a combined 8-1 in two matchups during the regular season.

With their season on the line, the Cavaliers came out and scored quickly in the opening period to show this time around, Briarwood was going to have to earn a hard-fought victory. After falling behind 1-0, and trailing by that number at the halftime break, the Lions finally settled in after some halftime and got two unanswered goals to pull off a 2-1 comeback victory and advance to the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Early in the game, however, the Lions were in a tough spot after giving up a goal in the first two minutes of the game when Obi Ifediba slotted in a shot to put the Cavs on top 1-0.

The Lions, who had scored eight combined goals against John Carroll in the regular season and 25 in their last four games, were a little shell shocked by the effort from John Carroll defensively and never seemed to find in strong openings in the first half.

Briarwood got four decent looks, but couldn’t convert, while the Cavs seemingly controlled the ball for the majority of the period.

With those struggles came a 1-0 halftime deficit to the No. 4 team in the classification.

No. 1 Briarwood, however, wasn’t afraid of the moment knowing the team’s forwards could make a play at any moment to pull the Lions back into the game.

And early in the second half, the Lions showed their typical force offensively to spark a strong comeback effort.

Less than five minutes into the period, Hamilton Bowen found himself with a great look and capitalized by burying the equalizer with 35:34 to play.

That turned all momentum in favor of the home team.

Just three minutes later, Bailey Morman ended up in a similar situation, and found an opening before sliding another shot past the keeper to put the Lions on top 2-1 with 32 minutes to play.

Those two unanswered goals so quickly now left the Cavaliers in a tough spot trying to come back against a defense that has given up no more than one goal in 20 of 22 games this season and had posted 14 shutouts.

John Carroll was also going up against a defense that felt the first goal so early on was a fluke. That led to a dominant effort the rest of the game, as the Lions never allowed the Cavs to string together any success offensively in the second half due to that impressive showing defensively.

Briarwood went on to hold John Carroll scoreless the rest of the way to hold on for the 2-1 comeback victory and advance to a quarterfinal matchup with Sylacauga.