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Briarwood's Michael Hiers is shown in a game earlier this season.
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Photo courtesy of Todd Lester
Briarwood's Morgan Hutchinson is shown in a game earlier this season.
The Briarwood Christian School boys basketball team took care of business on Tuesday afternoon, defeating Shelby County, 71-46, in the opening round of the Class 5A, Area 8 tournament.
With the win, the Lions advance to the final of the area tournament while subsequently securing a berth in the Class 5A sub-regionals next week, their first playoff berth since 2006.
The Lions got off to a great start, outscoring the Wildcats 14-5 in the game's opening period. Michael Hiers poured in half of those for Briarwood, scoring seven of his team-high 21 points to start the game.
Shelby County picked things up in the second period, but the teams payed to a 13-13 stalemate, allowing Briarwood to hang on to that nine-point lead -- 27-18 -- at the half.
Briarwood exploded with 18 points in the third quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers from Hiers and one from Luke Miskelley, as the Lions took a big 45-28 lead into the final period. The Lions knocked down their free throws in the final quarter and cruised to the win.
Briarwood placed four players in double figures, led by Hiers. Barrett Tindall scored 13 points, followed by 12 from Carson Donnelly and Luke Miskelley's 11-point performance. Izaiah Jones scored all but one of his eight points in the final quarter.
The Lions will play area tournament host Sylacauga in the final on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
LADY LIONS LOSE HEARTBREAKER
Things looked great for the majority of the game for the Briarwood girls, but a rough fourth quarter led to a heartbreaking 37-36 loss to Shelby County in the opening round of the Class 5A, Area 8 tournament on Tuesday.
With fewer than 10 seconds remaining in the game, a pair of Briarwood free throws gave the Lady Lions a 36-34 lead. But Shelby County's Maggie West took the inbounds pass and sank a desperation heave at the buzzer to give Shelby County the comeback win.
Briarwood led Shelby County 30-15 following the third quarter, before Shelby County used a 19-4 run to tie things up in the final moments.
The Lady Lions got off to a hot start and held an 11-8 lead after a quarter of play, as Lauren Smith scored eight of her team-high 17 points. A slow second period saw the two teams combine for just 10 points, with five of them coming from Briarwood's Morgan Hutchinson, as the Lady Lions took a 17-12 lead into the locker room.
Briarwood extended its lead in the third quarter, as it outscored Shelby County 13-3, setting up the wild final period.
Briarwood's season ends with the loss. Callie Tedder is the lone senior for Briarwood, as she finished her career with five points in the contest.