Briarwood girls advance to subregional after single point victory

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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By LAUREN SEXTON | Sports Reporter

NORTH SHELBY – The Briarwood Lions scored two points in the fleeting seconds of the fourth quarter for a thrilling one-point victory against Helena on Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the first round of the area tournament.

Taking on the Lions on their home floor, Briarwood outscored Helena by one point in the last two quarters to fend off a final push from the visitors en route to a 47-46 victory.

The Lions opened the game with seven two-pointers from three players and four points posted from the free-throw line.

Taylor Smith led the Lions with seven points from three field goals and one free throw. Mary Beth Dicen followed Smith after going two-for-two from the free-throw line.

Ann Tatum Baker posted four points in the paints, while Emma Kerley tacked on a point.

Helena trailed Briarwood 18-14 before the second quarter with four different players scoring for the Huskies. Three players knocked down a combined four baskets outside the arc with Sophia Merchant knocking down two out of the four three-pointers. 

Olivia Johnigan and Jatericca Moody both posted three points each outside the arc. Brooklyn Kelley added two points.

The Huskies erased another two points of separation before the first half concluded. Briarwood led 30-28 going into the second half.

Helena outscored Briarwood by two points with Merchant and Johnigan posting 10 out of the Huskies’ 14 points. Moody added an additional two points in the paint.

Briarwood maintained a slight edge with six points posted in the paint and six outside the arc. 

Smith led with four points from two field goals, while Taylor Lieb and Kerley added three points each. Baker tacked on two points.

Returning from the break, Helena continued to be offensively driven against Briarwood and determined to tie the score. 

In the last seconds before the final quarter, Briarwood broke the 28-28 with a basket knocked down in the paint for a close and intense fourth-quarter battle.

Dicen added six points to the scoreboard from two field goals. Smith followed Dicen with four points from two goals.

 Johnigan led the Huskies with five points from two field goals in the third quarter, while Amari Grant and Kelley totaled a combined four points

The Lions turned up the defensive pressure in the final quarter, which shut down Helena’s offense to two points in the final 30 seconds of the heated matchup.

Helena fought back, however, one foul gave the Lions the two-point opportunity they needed for a thrilling 47-46 victory and its first appearance in the sub-regionals.

Moody and Johnigan both went two-for-two from the free-throw line. Mallory Rhodes knocked down the last three-pointer for the Huskies.

Baker and Kerley posted two points each in the paint for the Lions in the final quarter, but it was Kerley’s three free throws that pushed Briarwood’s score for the win.

Gilbert led the way for Briarwood with 12 points, while Lamey scored nine on his three made 3-pointers. The Lions ended the game with eight players scoring, while they hit six total from beyond the arc.

Briarwood will take on Pelham at Pelham in the area championship.