Briarwood scores 11 in first half to defeat Hueytown, advance to second round

Published 11:07 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Briarwood Christian Lions booked their spot in the second round of the playoffs with ease thanks to an 11-0 win over the Hueytown Golden Gophers on Friday, April 26 at Lions Pride Stadium.

The Lions immediately got to work on offense and pressed the attack from the opening minute. That pressure was rewarded in the second minute when Taylor Leib found Brooklyn Barnett for the opener to put Briarwood up 1-0.

Leib then got a goal of her own in the fifth minute as she got off on a counterattack run and calmly slotted the ball in the bottom left corner of the net to increase the lead to two.

Three minutes later in the eighth minute, Brooklyn Barnett launched a shot from the top of the box and sent it into the bottom right corner for her second goal of the game and the Lions’ third.

Shortly after, a handball in the box sent Erin Gilbert to the spot for Briarwood. She converted the penalty kick to make the lead 4-0.

Then in the 12th minute, Hueytown tried to get a clearance but couldn’t get the ball away. Taylor Matthews won the ball off a tackle near the net, made a move towards the center and scored her team’s fifth goal of the half.

Two minutes after that, Leib joined Barnett on two goals on the day and took the lead to 6-0.

The Golden Gophers got a possession in the attacking third in the 16th minute, but Briarwood blocked the shot and quickly moved to capitalize on the counterattack.

Barnett made the pass to Leib in the middle, and she turned and shot the ball to give herself a hat trick.

That wasn’t all for Leib as right after the ensuing kickoff, Leib teed off from deep and scored her fourth of the game, third in three minutes and Briarwood’s eighth of the match.

The scoring resumed in the 23rd minute when Ava Hoaglund went on a run along the right wing and found Makenzie Key breaking towards the left post. Key worked around the Hueytown defender to send the shot into the top shelf mere feet in front of the goal to make the lead 9-0.

Four minutes later in the 27th minute, the Lions got a free kick and an opportunity to establish a double-digit lead. Gilbert took the free kick direct and slotted her shot in the top of the goal for Briarwood’s 10th.

The Lions still needed to see out the final 13 minutes of the half in order to win by the mercy rule. While they took their foot off the gas, they still tested the Golden Gophers keeper with shots, and Hueytown settled in and dispatched the offensive efforts.

The Golden Gophers did concede a penalty with a minute left in the game, and that gave Catherine Lloyd a chance to convert the spot kick to the low middle area of the goal to give Briarwood the 11-0 win.

In the end, Leib finished with four goals and an assist, Barnett had two goals and an assist, Gilbert had two goals off set pieces, Matthews, Key and Lloyd also added goals and Hoaglund finished with an assist.

The Lions also secured the clean sheet in goal to extend their shutout streak to three straight matches.

With the win, Briarwood will advance to the second round of the playoffs to face area foe Helena. The Lions will look to go 3-0 on the year over the Huskies when the top-10 sides clash on Monday, April 29 at 5 p.m. at Lions Pride Stadium.