By Lee Davis
The Homewood Patriots have built a tradition of hosting the annual Metro Tournament in their spacious gymnasium off Lakeshore Drive.
And while the food in the hospitality room was top-flight and the locker rooms were spotless, the Patriots may be remembered as less than perfect hosts in 2014.
That’s because Homewood–playing some of its best basketball of the year–claimed the first-place prize for itself.
The Patriots upset Hillcrest of Tuscaloosa, the state’s third-ranked team in Class 6A, to claim the tournament title Saturday night. Homewood took a 43-37 victory despite being shut out in the second period.
Malik Cook led the Patriot offense with 14 points, and Owen Ferguson added 12. Stan Mizerany bagged 10 points for the winning cause.
Homewood’s record improved to 11-7.
The Patriots earned their way to the finals with a 74-42 rout of Bessemer City on Friday. Mizerany paced Homewood with 16 points, and Sean Eaton scored 11. The hosts broke open a close game by outscoring Bessemer 21-2 in the third period.
Coach Chris Laatsch’s Briarwood Lions capped an impressive run in the tournament with a 76-64 win over Hewitt-Trussville in a consolation round. Justin Brown, aided by a trio of three-point baskets, led the Lions with 30 points. Josh Laatsch, who also nailed three treys, contributed 25 points.
Briarwood appeared to be on the way to a rout by rolling to a 25-10 first quarter lead, but Hewitt rallied to tie the game 36-36 at halftime. The Lions dominated the second half.
Hillcrest opened the tournament with an easy 75-48 win over Briarwood, despite 15 points from the Lions’ Sawyer McKenzie. Thomas Collier added 10.
The Lions rebounded the next night to take a 48-46 victory over Vestavia Hills in the consolation round. Brown topped the Briarwood scoring with 17 points, and McKenzie chipped in 13. Michael Morton was the leading Rebel scorer with 16 points.
Vestavia rebounded from the loss to Briarwood to take a 64-53 win over Thompson to earn seventh place in the tournament. Michael Kithcart had 13 points for the Rebels, and Sam Wiggins scored 12.
The win gave Vestavia a 7-13 mark for the season.
Pelham defeated the Rebels in the tournament’s first round with a 46-42 victory. Morton was Vestavia’s top scorer with 12 points.
In a key boys’ game outside the tournament, fifth-ranked Mountain Brook defeated ninth-ranked Bob Jones 61-41. The Spartans outscored the Patriots 25-9 in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Ben Shearer scored 14 points and snagged five rebounds. Twelve of Shearer’s points came from three-point shots.
Mountain Brook’s defense held Bob Jones to a 32 percent shooting percentage from the field.
Patrick Keim contributed 13 points, six rebounds and six assists.
The Spain Park girls’ team split with two teams from Georgia over the weekend.
On Friday, the eighth-ranked Lady Jags fell to North Forsyth 64-44. Claire Holt led Spain Park with 16 points, and Victoria Baldwin had 14 points.
The following night, Spain Park slipped past Alpharetta 39-38. Baldwin scored 18 points as the alert Lady Jaguar defense forced 18 turnovers. Spain Park overcame a two-point halftime deficit to take the win and raised its record to 15-6.