Bobcats hold on for victoryPublished 11:54pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A fast start, hot first half shooting and clutch free throws carried the Brandywine Bobcats boys basketball team to a 56-52 victory over the visiting Mendon Tuesday night.
The Bobcats got on the board first as Mykal Toxopeus rebounded his own missed basket and put it back in giving the Bocats the early 2-0 lead. After a couple of free throws by Alex Erwin, Toxopeus drained his first 3-point basket of the night giving the Bobcats the 7-2 lead.
With each team swapping baskets, a 3-pointer by Austin Searles had the Bobcats out front 15-6. The Hornets closed out the first quarter scoring the last five points, including a 3-pointer at the horn to cut the score to 15-11.
The second quarter saw more hot shooting for the home team as Toxopeus connected three more times from behind the arc, while Searles and fellow guard Brian Kline each connected from long range as the Bobcat built their lead to nine, 37-28, at the half.
“We shot very well in the first half,” said Brandywine head coach Nathan Knapp. “Our kids can shoot when they have confidence, but you know when you shoot that well you have got to play defense. We worked hard to get good shots on one end and gave up layups on the other end.”
After the break, Brandywine offensively looked as if it had left the offense in the locker room as they managed mere nine points in the third quarter. Fortunately for the Bobcats, Mendon was only able to manage 10 points of its own and still trailed Brandywine by eight, 46-38, heading into the final stanza.
The final period is when everything started to unravel for the ’Cats.
After Michael Shelton knocked down two free throws giving the Bobcats the 48-38 lead, Mendon’s Joe Gales drained one from long range and Andy Brueck connected on two free throws of his own to cut the lead to 48-43 with 6:31 to play.
Shortly after that point and two Brandywine missed free throws, John Sears of Mendon connected on two free throws and then the Hornets stole the inbounds pass and converted it into a basket by Hogan Jaskolski, cutting the lead to 48-47.
Moments later, Jaskolski went to the line attempting to give the Hornets their first lead of the game, but he could only hit one free throw, tying the score at 48.
Erwin calmly sank two free throws giving the Bobcats the lead once again with 2:32 to play, but just a few seconds later Mendon’s Chance Nightingale hit a baseline jumper tying the game once again at 50.
Brandywine rushed a couple of opportunities on the offensive end of the court, but still found itself in a tie ballgame until Searles drained what turned out to be the biggest shot of the game, connecting a 3-point basket from the left wing giving the Bobcats the 53-50 lead with 1:18 to play.
An offensive foul on the Hornets gave the ball back to the Bobcats and they were able to milk some time off the clock before Searles was fouled with just 39.9 seconds remaining.
Searles connected on only one of two, but it gave the ’Cats a two-possession lead, 54-50.
A basket by Sears cut the lead to 54-52 with 25.8 remaining. Brandywine’s Evan Hartman tried to put the exclamation point on the victory with a dunk with 15.2 remaining, but the missed dunk resulted in the Hornets having the opportunity to tie or take their first lead of the game.
Gales for the Hornets took the ball hard to the basket, but was called for the offensive foul, sending Shelton to the line to shoot two free throws.
Shelton calmly sank both attempts and the Bobcats came away with the thrilling 56-52 victory.
“Our guards are playing with a little bit of confidence, but they still aren’t where they could be,” said Knapp. “When we are clicking on all cylinders we can be tough, we just have to get to that point”
Toxopeus led all scorers with 18, while Erwin, Shelton and Searles each contributed ten.
Brandywine improves to 5-5 overall and will travel to Cassopolis for a conference game on Friday night.
Joe Gales 3 2-2 10; Chance Nightingale 2 4-4 8; Tanner Cook 0 0-0 0; Derek Brueck 4 0-1 8; Andy Brueck 1 3-3 5; John Sears 4 2-2 10; Hogan Jaskolski 4 1-2 9; Kevin Kuhlman 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 18 12-14 52
Austin Searles 3 1-2 10; Pierce Gleason 0 0-0 0; Alex Ulrickson 0 0-0 0; Brian Kline 1 0-0 3; Mykal Toxopeus 4 0-1 18; Michael Shelton 0 9-9 9; Alex Erwin 2 6-6 10; Alex Brooks 1 0-0 2; Evan Hartman 2 0-2 4. TOTALS: 16 16-20 56
Mendon 11 28 38 52
Brandywine 15 37 46 56
3-point baskets: Mendon 2 (Gales 2), Brandywine 8 (Searles 3, Toxopeus 4, Kline). Total fouls (fouled out): Mendon 20 (none), Brandywine 16 (none). Varsity records: Mendon 3-6, Brandywine 5-5