Briarwood starts strong to claim wire-to-wire win over Pelham

Published 10:24 pm Saturday, January 6, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Briarwood Christian Lions opened area play with an emphatic statement as they took down the Pelham Panthers 52-27 at Briarwood Christian School on Friday, Jan. 5.

After a close defensive battle in the opening minutes that set the tone for the physicality to come, Briarwood found its shooting form first and kept Pelham from finding the scoreboard in the first quarter.

Five different Lions scored in the opening period as Briarwood slowly but surely built out a double-digit lead, but it was Drew Mears’ buzzer-beating three for his second of the quarter that ignited the home crowd and gave his team a 14-0 lead.

After another Lions three to start the second, Dynarion Long hit a shot from long-range to end the Panthers’ scoring drought 35 seconds into the quarter.

Long spearheaded Pelham’s offense as his team scored eight points before halftime, but Briarwood outpaced the Panthers to extend its lead.

Mears scored five more to get into double-figures for the half, and the Lions walked into the locker room with a 24-8 lead.

Briarwood saved its best shooting performance for the third quarter and kept piling on the points after the break.

The Lions scored 20 points in the third led by six points each from Mears and Garrett Witherington to extend the lead by 13 to 44-15.

While Pelham trailed by 29 at the start of the fourth, it fought through the opening stretch of the final period to score 12 points for its best quarter of the game.

However, it was too much of a gap to overcome as Briarwood cruised from there to earn the 25-point victory.

Mears led all scorers with a 21-point performance. Witherington scored eight points off four made baskets and Caleb Keller and Eli Stubbs had seven points apiece.

The Panthers’ leading scorer was Long, who scored nine points off three made three-pointers.

Briarwood will take on Helena on the road on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. as the Lions seek to improve to 2-0 in area play. As for Pelham, it will travel to Montevallo on Monday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. to battle the Bulldogs at the University of Montevallo’s Trustmark Arena.