The Briarwood Christian School boys basketball team pulled off a mild upset on Tuesday night, knocking off Class 5A No. 8 Calera, 67-51, on Senior Night for the Lions.
Seniors Trip Burns, Barrett Tindall, Luke Miskelley and Steven Giddens were honored before the game for their contributions to the basketball program throughout their careers, and led the way as the Lions notched the victory to begin the regular season’s final week.
Head coach Bobby Kerley exuded pride with all four following the game.
“It’s hard not to get emotional, because I get to see the kids since seventh grade,” said Kerley, who also teaches at the junior high school. “I get to watch them grow up to be a bunch of lion-hearted guys. To see them play as selfless and together as they play, that starts with those four seniors.”
The game itself was an entertaining one, as the Lions began the game with a 1-0 lead before a second even ran off the clock, due to technical foul assessed to Calera, allowing Briarwood a chance at a pair of free throws preceding tip off.
The Lions scored the first six points of the game and took a 14-7 lead before allowing Calera to score the final six points of the opening frame, leaving Briarwood with a one-point lead after a quarter.
In the second quarter, Briarwood continued and improved upon its success on the fast break, a continuous theme throughout the game. Tindall scored 10 straight points in the period for the Lions, as he knocked down a 3-pointer and leaked out several times for easy layups. Fellow senior Burns scored his only basket of the game later in the quarter, as he grabbed a rebound and put it back in for the score, as the Lions took a 32-26 edge into the half.
Carson Donnelly was the equivalent of a wizard with the ball in his hands throughout the evening, including a pair of layups in the third quarter in which he made his defender grasp for air before getting to the basket. Donnelly scored 12 points on the night and assisted on many more baskets.
“When we get the ball into No. 2’s hands, everybody better be on notice, because that kid, he’s got magic,” Kerley said. “He is so creative and such a high-level thinker. He sees things before they happen, and now everybody else is starting to realize, ‘I need to start seeing what Carson’s seeing, because that’s going to get me buckets.’”
Calera was able to close the gap, but Briarwood scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to salt the game away. Michael Hiers’ 3-pointer in the final minutes put the Lions ahead by 10. The basket was his second 3-point make in the period, as he scored eight of his 12 points in the final eight minutes.
Briarwood rounds out the regular season with games at Chelsea and at Montevallo on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Kerley said, “I was wanting to play someone who I knew was really well-coached and really talented, and those three teams this week really fit the bill. You want to see your team accept the challenge.”