Cassopolis’ Dwayne Morgan tries to keep Brandywine’s Austin Searles from getting the ball inbounds. (Cassopolis Vigilant Photos/SCOTT NOVAK)

Archived Story

Rangers hold off Bobcats

Published 6:26pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

A furious fourth quarter rally came up a bit short Friday night for the Brandywine boys basketball team.

The visiting Bobcats erased an 11-point Cassopolis lead in the fourth quarter before falling to the Rangers 48-45 in a Lakeland Conference thriller.

Missed free throws and turnovers doomed Brandywine in the final analysis.

The Bobcats turned the ball over 32 times against Cassopolis and were just 10-of-19 at the charity stripe. Brandywine shot all but two of its free throws in the fourth quarter.

“Turnovers hurt us more than anything,” Brandywine coach Nathan Knapp said. “Like I told the kids, this is the first time all season that we actually showed a little bit of character. When things were going bad we didn’t roll over and quit. We just kept working and trying to find a way to get back in the game.”

The Bobcats came back and tied the score with 45 ticks left on the fourth quarter clock when Michael Shelton canned a pair of free throws to tie the score at 45-45.

On its next possession, the Rangers were fouled by Brandywine, sending Vashaun Morgan to the line with 34 seconds left.

Morgan hit one of two free throws to give Cassopolis the lead back, 46-45. After another Brandywine foul, Tyler Gilliam would connect on one-of-two shots from the foul line to extend the lead to 47-45 with 24.5 showing on the clock.

The Bobcats would get three shots at the basket in the final 30 seconds as they tried to get back over the .500 mark.

A shot with 14 seconds was blocked by Gilliam, although the Brandywine bench wanted a foul called on the play.

Dwayne Morgan grabbed the blocked shot and was immediately fouled with 13.8 seconds remaining. He too, hit just one of his two foul shots, but it gave the Rangers a 48-45 lead.

Brandywine’s Austin Searles and Pierce Gleason both attempted 3-point shots in the closing seconds, but could not connect.

The Bobcats were good out of the gate Friday night, grabbing a 10-6 first quarter lead.

But in the middle two quarters, it was all Cassopolis.

The Rangers were able to build a 19-15 halftime advantage and led 31-24 heading to the final quarter.

Cassopolis’ lead reached 11 points before Knapp called a time out with 5:56 left in the game and challenged his squad to get back into the game.

“I just told them they had five minutes, there is no tomorrow,” he said. “I don’t know what you are waiting for.”

Damion Brown led Cassopolis and all scorers with 15 points. Kenneth Carson added 10.

Mykal Toxopeus led Brandywine with 13 points. Michael Shelton finished with 10. Michael Schoenleber and Alex Erwin both had eight points. Erwin also had 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals.

BRANDYWINE 45

Michael Shelton 2 4-6 9; Courtlan Gordon 0 0-0 0; Austin Searles 1 0-0 2; Michael Schoenleber 2 2-2 8; Alex Ulrickson 0 0-0 0; Brian Kline 0 0-0 0; Pierce Gleason 2 1-3 5; Mykal Toxopeus 5 1-3 13; Alex Erwin 3 2-5 8; Evan Hartman 0 0-0 0; Alex Brooks 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 10-19 45

CASSOPOLIS 48

Mitchell Moore 0 2-4 2; Dwayne Morgan 1 2-4 4; Tyler Gilliam 3 1-2 9; Kenneth Carson 4 2-7 10; Taylor Baker 0 0-0 0; Damion Brown 5 8-5 15; Justin Smith 0 0-0; William Wallace 0 0-0 0; Vashaun Morgan 3 2-4 8; Ryan Hawkins 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 14-29 48

Brandywine 10 15 24 45

Cassopolis 6 19 31 48

3-point baskets: Brandywine 5 (Shelton, Schoenleber 2, Toxopeus 2), Cassopolis 2 (Gilliam 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Brandywine 19 (none), Cassopolis 18 (none). Varsity records: Brandywine 5-6, 1-5 Lakeland; Cassopolis 6-7, 2-5 Lakeland

Brandywine…45

Cassopolis…21

For the second time this week, top-ranked Brandywine found itself down after one quarter of play.

And just like the Bobcats did Monday night in Mendon, they regrouped and went on to pick up the victory and remain undefeated, both on the season and in Lakeland Conference play.

Brandywine withstood a strong first quarter challenge from host Cassopolis Tuesday night in their girls basketball game. The Bobats outscored the Rangers 45-21 over the final three quarters to take the 58-37 victory.

Cassopolis (6-7, 4-4 Lakeland) came out fired up and chucking the ball at the basket. The Rangers got off 22 shots in the opening quarter, but only connected on five of them.

As a result, despite forcing 12 first quarter turnovers by the usually sure-handed Bobcats, Cassopolis was only able to manage a 16-13 lead when the first quarter buzzer went off.

That wasn’t nearly good enough.

Brandywine (13-0, 6-0 Lakeland) scored 12 in a row at one point in the second quarter and took the lead for good on a Mackenzie Shelton 3-pointer with 5:35 remaining in the first half, 20-19.

The Bobcats ended up outscoring the Rangers 17-7 in the quarter and held a 30-25 advantage heading to the locker room at halftime.

In there, veteran Brandywine coach Josh Hood stressed defense and his team responded in the second half, holding Cassopolis to just 12 points, including two in the third quarter.

After the Rangers scored the opening basket of the third quarter, the Bobcats scored the next 19 points and turned a close game into a 22-point advantage by the end of the period.

Brandywine took a 49-27 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We just talked at halftime about doing what we do,” Hood said. “We talk a lot of pride on defense and we were trading baskets. We try not to give up 50 points and they were on pace for 50. So we just talked about taking pride in defense because the offense was going to take care of itself.”

Cassopolis actually outscored Brandywine 10-9 in the final quarter, but it didn’t really matter.

Bobcats standout senior Carlie Newman led all scorers with 24 points and became Brandywine’s all-time leading scorer with 1,332 points. She surpassed the late Leonard Drake, who scored 1,328 points in his career, which spanned from 1970 through 1973.

Shelton added nine points, as did Tia Hullinger off the bench. Madison Pellow finished with eight points.

Courtney Moore led the Rangers with 13 points. Tammy Lee finished with seven.

BRANDYWINE 58

Carlie Newman 8 5-6 24; Rachael Ort 1 0-0 2; Mackenzie Shelton 3 2-2 9; Tia Hullinger 3 3-4 9; Victoria Knight 0 0-2 0; Brooke Smith 2 0-0 6; Mikayla Kemp 0 0-0 0; Madison Pellow 1 6-8 8. TOTALS: 18 16-22

CASSOPOLIS 37

Tammy Lee 2 2-4 7; Bre Coleman 1 0-0 2; Jessica Waldschmidt 0 0-0 0; Jameka Eleazor 1 2-2 4; Olivia Nelson 0 0-0 0; Lauren Smith 0 0-0 0; Savannah Sullivan 3 0-2 6; Jade Gatson 1 1-4 4; Courtney Moore 3 7-8 13. TOTALS: 11 13-22 37

Brandywine 13 30 49 58

Cassopolis 16 25 27 37

3-point baskets: Brandywine 6 (Newman 3, Shelton, Smith 2), Cassopolis 2 (Lee, Gatson). Total fouls (fouled out): Brandywine 17 (none), Cassopolis 17 (none). Varsity records: Brandywine 13-0, 6-0 Lakeland; Cassopolis 6-7, 4-4 Lakeland

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