Briarwood beats Prattville, Chelsea for Jeremy Mears’ first wins

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – After a tight loss to Thompson to start the tournament, the Briarwood Christian Lions bounced back in a big way at the Thompson Thanksgiving Invitational with a 73-50 win over the Prattville Lions on Tuesday, Nov. 21 and a 60-55 victory against the Chelsea Hornets on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

The pair of wins were Briarwood’s first of the season and Jeremy Mears’ career as a full-time varsity head coach after filling in for previous coach Bobby Kerley while Kerley was out with COVID-19, and a key reason why the Lions were victorious was because of Mears’ son Drew.

Drew Mears dropped 28 points against Prattville and 29 against Chelsea to lead his team in points in every game of the tournament after a 28-point performance against Thompson in the tournament opener.

He kicked off the showdown with Prattville with five points in the first quarter. Garrett Witherington also had five in the opening period to help Briarwood edge out an early 17-13 lead.

The second quarter was where Drew Mears and Briarwood built out their advantage and positioned themselves for the win.

Drew Mears hit four shots from the field and went 5-for-6 from the free throw line to give himself 13 points in the second quarter, while Briarwood as a team dropped 20 in the second quarter to take a 20-11 lead into halftime.

Prattville scored 12 points in the third quarter, but Briarwood’s offense kept going when they left the locker room and added four more points to their lead.

Drew Mears had seven points in the third while Witherington added four more to give Briarwood a 53-36 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Caleb Keller and Eli Thompson helped Briarwood see out the win in the final period, as Keller scored five points in the fourth and Thompson had four points.

Briarwood won 73-50 to secure its first victory of the season.

In addition to Drew Mears’ team-high 28 points, Witherington had 14 points, Keller scored seven, Thompson had six points and Eli Stubbs and Thomas Loudon each had five points.

Briarwood followed that up with a big win over a 7A opponent as the Lions beat Chelsea 60-55.

Once again, Drew Mears was responsible for much of Briarwood’s early offense as he scored seven of his team’s 13 first-quarter points.

The Lions defense held Chelsea to just six points in the first quarter, which let Briarwood take a 13-6 lead into the second quarter after Stubbs, Witherington and Luke Schultz hit baskets as well.

Briarwood also scored 13 points in the second quarter, which helped them outpace the Hornets, who scored 12 more before halftime.

Drew Mears had five points in the quarter as the Lions led 26-18 going into the halftime break.

He kept that momentum going with seven points in the third as Chelsea’s Aiden Owens had six points in the quarter and Avery Futch scored five points.

That put the Hornets within one possession of the lead at the end of the third quarter with Briarwood’s lead standing at just 40-38.

Christen Whetstone knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the fourth, and he scored eight points to help Chelsea threaten for the win down the stretch.

However, Briarwood sealed the win by going 9-for-11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Drew Mears, Josh Thompson, Loudon and Witherington each hit shots from the stripe in the final period as the Lions held off the Hornets for a five-point victory and their second win in two days.

Behind Drew Mears’ 29 points, Witherington had 10 points, Stubbs, Loudon and Schultz each had five points and Eli Thompson had four points.