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Class C preview: Brandywine after fifth straight title

Published 8:12pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Four-time defending Class C District champion Brandywine has a tough task ahead of it if it wants to win another title.

The Bobcats are looking at a district field that will include three teams with 18 or more victories.

Undefeated and No. 2-ranked Brandywine (18-0) must get past the winner of the River Valley-New Buffalo game Wednesday night before looking ahead to a possible match-up with host Watervliet in the title game.

“We want to finish the job this week for the seniors,” said Brandywine coach Josh Hood about the possibility of an undefeated season. “But once the tournament starts on Monday, all the records are 0-0. We have a tall feat in front of us. There will be three teams in this district with more than 18 wins.”

Hood said the team that makes shots and executes the best will be the one that’s “moving on.”

That is especially true for the Bobcats, who like to play pressure defense and shoot the ball from the outside.

“We’re not going to change our style,” Hood said. “It’s carried us to a pretty good mark. We like to shoot the ball from the outside and that’s what we are going to do. But we trust our three post players. We know that Victoria Knight, Brooke Smith and Tia Hullinger can get the job done if they need to.

“We are not always going to shoot the ball well from the outside. But if you play good defense, you can make up for that.”

Watervliet will face Bridgman in the other opening-round game Monday night. That game will be the second of a doubleheader.

New Buffalo will face River Valley at 6 p.m. with the Watervliet-Bridgman game to follow at 7:45.

Brandywine will face the New Buffalo-River Valley winner at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Dream Academy will take on the Watervliet-Bridgman winner at 7:45. The title game is set for March 1 at 7 p.m.


Class C at Marcellus

It has been a season of learning for the Cassopolis girls basketball team under first-year coach Nat Pittman.

The Rangers are just 6-13 heading into its regular season finale against undefeated and No. 2-ranked Brandywine.

Cassopolis is coming off its biggest victory of the season, a 38-20 conquest of Bridgman and is now turning its attention to the post season.

The win over Bridgman snapped a five-game losing streak for the Rangers and according to Pitman, showed his team what it is capable off if it executes and plays hard.

For the past couple of weeks, he has been preparing his team for its Class C District opener against the winner of the Lawton-Marcellus contest Feb. 27 in Marcellus at 8 p.m.

The Blue Devils and Wildcats will open up the tournament Monday night in the second game of a doubleheader at 8 p.m.

Constantine and White Pigeon will kick off the tournament at 6 p.m. with the winner of that contest advancing to face Decatur in the other semifinal. That game will be played at 6 p.m.

“I took a page from John Wooden,” Pittman said. “I went to several of his camps when I was coaching in South Bend. His philosophy was I am more worried about what my team is doing than what the opponent is going to do. I’m not worried about our opponent. I am worked about how we are going to play.

“If we execute, then I believe we can win. I have been emphasizing defense. I know we have to score, but I feel if our defense plays well we will score. We have to stop them in some manner. We aren’t going to stop them completely, but we have to play good defense.

Pittman said that his team has made great progress since opening practice last November.

“We have come a long way in every aspect,” he said. “Not just on the basketball court, but becoming young women and understanding the importance of working hard each and every minute. I am proud of the girls. They have been working hard and really want to do the things we are asking them to do.”

The championship game is set for March 1 at 7 p.m. at Marcellus High School.

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