Bobcats survive New Buffalo upset bidPublished 10:36pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013
WATERVLIET — A furious second-half rally came up a bit short for New Buffalo against No. 2-ranked Brandywine in the Class C District semifinals Wednesday night.
The undefeated Bobcats had their way with the 19-2 Bison during the first half, but it was a different story in the final 16 minutes.
But in the end, Brandywine was able to make just enough plays to take a 52-47 victory.
The Bobcats (21-0) despite losing Tammy Lee to a pair of early fouls were able to turn a 6-4 deficit with 4:49 to play in the first quarter into a 23-6 lead by the end of the period.
Brandywine scored 21 unanswered points and held New Buffalo scoreless for nearly eight minutes as it opened up a 26-6 lead on a 3-pointer by freshman Emily Erwin with 6:39 to play in the first half.
Breanna Workman finally halted the streak with a pair of free throws with 5:17 showing on the clock.
With foul trouble of its own, New Buffalo wasn’t able to cut into the Bobcats’ lead much and settled for a 35-15 deficit at the half.
“In our first two quarters we had a lot of adrenalin pumping and we were real edgy,” New Buffalo coach Candy VanBuskirk said. “And so all of our shots in the first half were very rushed. That’s what we talked about in the locker room. We knew that in the second half we needed to show who we were.
“We needed to slow the basketball game down and play our game, not Brandywine’s game. And when we outscored them 15-3 in the third quarter we felt like we able to take a deep breath and say this is who we are.”
The Bison opened the second half with a 10-0 run and from there, whittled away at the Bobcats’ lead behind the play of Jade Madison.
Holding Brandywine to just three free throws in the third quarter, New Buffalo cut the deficit to 38-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bison kept up the pressure and eventually caught the Bobcats with 4:41 remaining in the contest on a basket by Madison that tied the game at 40-40.
Lee scored off a New Buffalo turnover to make it 42-40 and then Brooke Smith scored to extend the Bobcats’ lead to 44-40 with 3:24 left to play.
New Buffalo kept within striking distance, but two free throws from senior Mackenzie Shelton with 2:15 to play, a basket by senior Victoria Knight with 1:22 left and two free throws by Smith sealed the deal for the Bobcats.
Veteran Brandywine coach Josh Hood knew that despite not having a lot of close games this year that his team would keep its poise and get the job done.
“You can either panic and go home or you can just keep working and keep plugging away and hopefully good things happen at the end,” he said. “I give our girls a lot of credit. There haven’t been a lot of close games this year and again they found a way to pull it out.
“They (New Buffalo) did a great job of battling back. I told the girls we are not even going to talk about the second half of tonight. We have to rebound better if we are going to win Friday against a team that hasn’t lost on its home court all year.”
Shelton, Smith and Erwin all scored 10 points for Brandywine, which also got eight points from Knight.
Madison scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Bison. Zoe Lauricella added 15 points.
The Bobcats will put their undefeated record on the line Friday night against Watervliet (20-1), a 71-22 winner over Benton Harbor. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
NEW BUFFALO 47
Breanna Workman 1 2-2 4, Liza Kelly 0 1-2 1, Kristine Kucera 0 2-2 2, Zoe Lauricella 7 0-0 15, Jade Madison 7 7-8 23, Kelsey Tanksley 1 0-0 2, Chloe Topolski 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 12-14 47
Brooke Smith 4 2-2 10, Victoria Knight 4 0-1 8, Rachael Ort 0 0-0 0, Tammy Lee 1 2-2 4, Mackenzie Shelton 2 6-8 10, Emily Erwin 3 2-4 10, Makenna Hartline 1 1-2 3, Tiarra Hullinger 1 0-0 2, Michaela Hartline 1 2-4 5. TOTALS 17 15-23 52
New Buffalo 6 15 30 47
Brandywine 23 35 38 52
3-point baskets: New Buffalo 3 (Madison 2, Lauricella 1), Brandywine 3 (Erwin 2, Michaela Hartline 1). Total fouls (fouled out): New Buffalo 19 (Workman), Brandywine 13. Varsity records: New Buffalo 19-3, Brandywine 21-0