Bobcats fall in district finalsPublished 11:37pm Friday, March 9, 2012
WATERVLIET — Brandywine was close Friday to celebrating its first boys basketball district title since 2001.
Instead, a disheartening final 28 seconds prevented the Bobcats from capturing some Class C District title hardware.
Bridgman became district champions for the third straight year after edging Brandywine, 39-37, in district final action at Watervliet High School.
Bridgman’s Cooper Mojsiejenko scored 22 points and came up with the biggest basket of the game. His 3-point play gave the the Bees a 37-35 lead with :28 left.
Brandywine had a chance to tie the game after Brian Kline was fouled with :13.9 remaining. After a Bridgman timeout, Kline stepped to the line and missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Evan Hartman hustled to get the rebound for Brandywine and passed the ball to Mykal Toxopeus, who missed a shot in the paint. Tyler Gnodtke grabbed the rebound for Bridgman and was fouled with :05.7 left. He hit both free throws to extend Bridgman’s lead to 39-35. The final points of the game came on a rebound basket from Toxopeus as time expired.
“It was a one possession game,” said Brandywine coach Nathan Knapp, whose team finishes at 12-10. “We had opportunities. That’s what stings.”
Neither team would take advantage of offensive opportunities to start the fourth quarter. The first points of the quarter came from Brandywine’s Austin Searles, whose 3-pointer tied the game at 30 with 3:55 left in the game.
“For awhile it was 30-27 and we got defensive stops,” Knapp said. “We just didn’t capitalize.
“Our kids left it on the floor tonight. Things just didn’t go our way at the end. Tough loss.”
The game heated up after Searles hit his 3-pointer. Two free throws from Brandywine’s Michael Shelton tied the game at 32 with 1:36 remaining. Then Mojsiejenko scored to give Bridgman a 34-32 lead with 1:06 showing on the clock. An unlikely scorer then emerged as Brandywine took a 35-34 lead after Kline hit a 3-pointer with :54 left. It was only the second shot of the game for Kline.
“As soon as he came off the bench their was a pass up top and then it went to the corner (to Kline) and I thought he was going to pass the ball into the post and he shot it and it went in,” Knapp said. “It was a good look and he’s a pure shooter.”
Good fortune at the end of a shot eluded Brandywine for much of the evening as the Bobcats struggled from the field (13-of-37) and from the free-throw line (7-of-14).
“Up and down,” Knapp said about his team’s free-throw shooting this season. “We work on free throws a lot. A few of our kids (after the game) we upset about that and they’re going to bust their butts working on free throws in the offseason.”
Brandywine was able to take a 21-17 lead into halftime because Bridgman had its own problems on offense. The Bees missed 15 of their 21 shots in the first half and turned the ball over eight times over the first 16 minutes.
Bridgman looked much better on offense in the third quarter. The Bees made their first four shots in the third quarter and finished the quarter with a 30-27 lead. Gnodtke hit two 3-pointers in the quarter for Bridgman. Before making those threes, Gnodke had gone 1-of-10 shooting 3’s during districts.
“(Bridgman) got some mismatches on Gnodtke,” Knapp said. “Gnodtke hit 3-pointers in the third quarter that were back breakers. We couldn’t let Gnodtke get off shooting.”
Toxopeus and Searles each scored eight points to lead Brandywine. Alex Erwin added seven points and seven rebounds. Shelton also scrored seven points.
“I just feel so bad because because I wanted to send our seniors out with some hardware and we came up short,” Knapp said.
Mykal Toxopeus 3 1-2 8, Austin Searles 3 0-0 8, Alex Erwin 2 3-7 7, Courtlan Gordan 0 0-0 0, Michael Shelton 2 3-4 7, Evan Hartman 2 0-0 4, Brian Kline 1 0-1 3, Michael Schoenleber 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 7-14 37
Jackson Kamp 1 2-2 4, Cooper Mojsiejenko 9 2-4 22, Tyler Gnodtke 2 2-2 8, Austyn Allwood 0 0-0 0, Matt Hendricks 1 0-0 2, Bryce Ponegalek 1 1-2 3, Justin Kiewel 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 7-10 39
Brandywine 11 21 27 37
Bridgman 7 17 30 39
3-point baskets: Brandywine 4 (Searles 2, Toxopeus, Kline), Bridmgan 4 (Mojsiejenko 2, Gnodtke 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Brandywine 13 (none), Bridgman 14 (none). Technical: Brandywine (bench). Shooting: Brandywine 13-of-37 for 35-percent, Bridgman 14-of-38 for 37-percent. Rebounding: Brandywine 21 (Erwin 7), Bridgman 26 (Mojsiejenko 12). Turnovers: Brandywine 8, Bridgman 13. Varsity records: Brandywine 12-10, Bridgman 12-10