Battle of unbeatens tonightPublished 11:40pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The Brandywine girls basketball team had no trouble improving to 7-0 at its own holiday tournament. The Bobcats will play in the championship game tonight after rolling past Hartford, 63-32, in opening round action on Tuesday.
Brandywine faces New Buffalo in the finals tonight around 7:30 p.m., while Niles and Hartford play in the consolation round at 6 p.m.
Madison Pellow’s rebound basket gave the Bobcats the lead for good at 3-2 and Brandwine from that point on dominated, coming close to producing a 40-point lead and a mercy-rule running clock.
“Sometimes, you get a little bit rusty when you have a week and a half off,” said Brandywine coach Josh Hood. “I thought in the first half we did a pretty good job of getting the tempo where we like it. We got a lot more shots, which is what we try to do in our system.”
After 16 minutes, the Bobcats owned a 45-14 lead. Brandywine shot 50 percent (18-of-36) in the first half, outrebounded the Indians, 25-10, and, defensively, forced 16 turnovers behind its full-court press. Hartford got up only 17 shots in the first half, making four.
Brandywine could have easily owned even a bigger lead at halftime. Poor free throw shooting (5-of-18) was the only negative in the first half for the Bobcats. That’s been a problem throughout the season for Brandywine, which entered Tuesday’s game shooting under 50 percent from the free throw line.
“We talked about (free throw shooting) at halftime,” Hood said. “It’s a concern. We have great shooters. I tell everybody this is the best shooting team that I’ve had at Brandywine. But at the free throw line we struggle. We work at it at practice. We just got to continue to that. We got good players. It’s all a confidence thing and a mental thing that we can fix as we go along.”
The Bobcats improved their free throw shooting (3-of-4) in the second half and built on their lead. Hood saw his squad take its biggest lead at 57-19 with 1:48 left in the third quarter after getting a basket from Pellow.
Pellow and Brooke Smith each scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Brandywine. Carlie Newman led Brandywine with 20 points, including three 3-pointers. Newman contributed seven rebounds. Mackenze Shelton added eight points — all in the second quarter.
“I thought Madison Pellow had a great game,” Hood said. “She’s not the biggest post player in the area, but I’ll take her over anybody because she works harder than anybody and loves contact.”
The Bobcats had a 37-26 edge in rebounding.
“I’m really proud of my girls,” Hood said. “We’re not the biggest team in the area by any means. We start four guards, but they’re long and athletic. As many outside shots that we shoot we really take pride and crashing (the boards) and getting a lot of long rebounds. We were the first one to the ball tonight.”
Kara Weberg led Hartford with 17 points. Brooke Edmonds added 11.
Brooke Edmonds 4 2-4 11, Kaitelyn Smith 0 1-4 1, Kara Weberg 6 4-6 17, Brianna Edmonds 1 0-0 3, Rebecca Drake 0 0-0 0, Olivia Freehling 0 0-0 0, Julia Kling 0 0-2 0, Kristen Lamphere 0 0-0 0, Ta’Kela Broyles 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 11 7-16 32
Rachael Ort 1 1-2 3, Brooke Smith 5 1-3 13, Madison Pellow 5 3-10 13, Mackenzie Shelton 4 0-0 8, Carlie Newman 7 3-6 20, Tiarra Hullinger 1 0-1 2, Mikayla Kemp 1 0-0 2, Victoria Knight 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 25 8-22 63
Hartford 4 14 24 32
Brandwine 21 45 61 63
3-point baskets: Hartford 3 (Bro. Edmonds, Weberg, Bri. Edmonds), Brandywine 5 (Newman 3, Smith 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Hartford 16 (none), Brandywine 13 (none). Shooting: Hartford 11-of-37 for 30-percent, Brandywine 25-of-62 for 40-percent. Rebounding: Hartford 26 (Smith and Bri. Edmonds 5 each), Brandywine 37 (Smith and Pellow 9 each). Turnovers: Hartford 29, Brandywine 13. Varsity records: Hartford 2-4, Brandywine 7-0