Briarwood girls continue historic run, advance to Sweet 16

Published 8:25 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CLANTON – From an opening 3-pointer from Mary Beth Dicen to the final buzzer, the Briarwood Lions were on a mission to continue their historic run during their first sub-regional appearance on Monday, Feb. 13.

Taking on Chilton County in Clanton, the Lions put together one of their best performances of the season, scoring that first basket and never trailing at any point the rest of the way on their way to a 56-44 win over the Tigers to cement a spot in the Sweet 16 later in the week.

Briarwood started the game with Dicen’s 3-pointer, which became part of a 5-0 run out of the gate.

Chilton County did draw within a point shortly after, but Briarwood maintained its lead throughout a low-scoring quarter by putting together an 8-0 run from there with Dicen scoring on two baskets and assisting on the other two to Taylor Smith.

The Tigers did snap the run in the final minute with two baskets in a row, but Dicen had good vision once again in the final seconds, hitting Colleen Lehane in the corner for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to make it 16-8 at the end of one.

Briarwood then scored the first basket of the second quarter with Smith using a strong post move, but the Tigers responded in a big way from there.

They put together a very quick 7-0 run to draw within three points in less than two minutes.

But for every run Chilton County put together, the Lions had a bigger one.

Just after the Tigers drew to within three, Briarwood responded by going back to the post, as Smith and Emma Kerley combined for a 6-0 run between the two of them before Dicen drove for a layup to make it 24-15. The Lions then extended the run to 9-0 when Lehane hit another 3-pointer with 3:23 remaining in the half.

The rest of the quarter quieted down, but Chilton County was able to claw back slightly with a 5-2 run.

Briarwood, however, had done enough to take a 29-20 lead into the half.

But it was the third quarter where the Lions really started to create separation.

Within the first five minutes of the period, Briarwood put together a 10-3 run to extend the advantage to 16 points.

The Lions did enough from there to carry a 43-30 lead into the final quarter, which became more than enough down the stretch.

They started with the first basket of the fourth quarter to quickly extend the lead back to 15 and started the final quarter on a 7-0 run to take an insurmountable 20-point lead with six minutes to play.

Chilton County was able to fight back slightly and trim the deficit, but the Tigers never got closer than 12 as the final buzzer sounded.

Smith led the Lions with 23 points, while Kerley totaled 15 points. Dicen added eight points and Lehane finished with six.

Briarwood’s win puts them in the Sweet 16 Thursday at Bill Harris Arena at 9 a.m.