Brandywine advances to regional finalsPublished 11:02pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013
BRONSON — The No. 2-ranked Brandywine Bobcats were simply too much for the Decatur Raiders Tuesday night in the first round of the Class C Regional at Bronson High School.
Brandywine, which is trying to become the first team in southwest Michigan history to win four consecutive regional titles, was clearly the better team as it won easily, 53-17.
The Bobcats (23-0) had experience in their corner as they have reached the regional round for the fifth consecutive season, but it was a freshman, Emily Erwin that provided the spark needed to push Brandywine to a commanding 17-1 first quarter lead.
With the game tied at 1-1 Brandywine senior Mackenzie Shelton knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the ’Cats the 4-1 lead. After a layup by sophomore Brooke Smith, Shelton drained another three from the same spot and Brandywine was up 9-1. Following a Decatur (12-11) timeout, Erwin drained back-to-back bombs from the corner, capping a 16-point run to end the first quarter.
To start the second quarter, the Bobcats once again looked to the freshman as Erwin connected on two more long range jumpers helping Brandywine pull out to a commanding 35-9 halftime lead.
This was the third consecutive game that the Bobcats had scored 35 points in the first half, but unlike the other two where the opponents had come back to tie the game in the second half (New Buffalo 40-40 and Watervliet (41-41) the Bobcats weren’t about to let this lead get away from them.
“I was pleased with the start of the second half,” Brandywine coach Josh Hood said. “We obviously had some issues last week in the second half and that was our talk at halftime. You know, that maybe we need to play a little bit harder in the second half.”
Junior, Tammy Lee got the ’Cats on the board first connecting from long range to boost the lead to 38-9. Another layup by Smith, mixed with free throws by Mikayla Kemp and Tia Hullinger, capped by a 3-point basket from freshmen Michaela Hartline and the Bobcats held a dominating 46-11 advantage after three quarters of play.
The final stanza saw Brandywine empty the bench and get their JV girls some playing time, while resting their starters for the Regional final game on Thursday night where they will play Hartford (19-4) a 52-46 winner over Reading in the nightcap.