Brandywine opens play WednesdayPublished 11:52pm Monday, March 5, 2012
Picking a favorite for this week’s boys Class C District Tournament at Watervliet may be easier if you just draw names out of a hat.
The tournament is wide open with four teams having a legitimate shot at winning the title.
If you had to pick a favorite, many would select defending champion Bridgman due to its strength of schedule.
But the Bees are just 10-10 on the season while Brandywine, host Watervliet and Benton Harbor Dream Academy all have winning records.
The Panthers and Toros both have 12 wins this season, but one of them will not make it to Wednesday’s semifinal as they met Monday night in the opening round of the tournament. Watervliet was 12-8 and the Dream Academy 12-6.
The winner will take on the Bees at 7:45 p.m.
The Bobcats snapped a 12-year string of losing campaigns when they ended the regular season at 11-9.
Brandywine after starting the season 3-5, caught fire in the middle of January and won eight of their final 12 games. It won four of its final five contests.
The Bobcats have used balanced scoring and an improved defensive effort. Brandywine’s ability to protect the basketball better has also been a key.
In fact, the Brandywine doesn’t have a single player averaging better than 10 points per game. The Bobcats have spread the ball around and are able to score from the perimeter as well as the paint.
On the outside on any given night, Mykal Toxopeus, Michael Shelton and Austin Searles can heat it up. When Brandywine goes inside it looks to Alex Erwin and Evan Hartman.
Erwin was one of the keys to the Bobcats’ success down the stretch as he averaged 11.7 points in the final three games of the season.
Brandywine will take on New Buffalo in the first semifinal Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m.
The Bobcats already own a 52-47 win over the Bison back in December.
In that contest, Brandywine snapped a three-game losing streak by leading the entire night.
The Bobcats took a 12-point lead into the final quarter, but had issues making layups and free throws which would have sealed the victory.
In the end, the Bison could not overcome the early deficit.
Hartman and Toxopeus combined for half of the Bobcats’ points in that contest as they scored 16 and 10 respectively.
For Brandywine to repeat its success from the first meeting it must find a way to stop Kevin Levine and Kendall Artz, who had 33 of New Buffalo’s 47 points. Artz led the way with 17.