Brandywine’s Hartline is a different type of playerPublished 8:51am Wednesday, February 26, 2014
A sense of relief could be heard in Michaela Hartline’s voice after what took place in last Thursday’s girls basketball game between Brandywine and Cassopolis.
What happened in the third quarter was still fresh in Hartline’s mind after her Bobcats beat the Rangers, 56-38.
In an attempt to try to save the ball from going out of bounds, Hartline grabbed the ball with one hand and tossed it with the ball hitting the face of Cassopolis’ Jayne Butts.
Butts turned out to be fine and Hartline could celebrate another win by Brandywine.
“I was scared,” said the 5-foot-8 sophomore forward. “I didn’t mean to do it.”
Hartline’s hustle was on display and so was her scoring and shooting against the Rangers. Hartline scored 17 points, including four 3-pointers, and grabbed four rebounds to help the Bobcats finish the regular season at 18-0.
“She’s a different type of athlete than we’re used to,” Brandywine coach Josh Hood said about Hartline. “She can play outside or inside. She’s very tenacious.”
Hartline is averaging nine points and nine rebounds a game for the Bobcats. The most improved part of her game is her perimeter shooting. She’s made 30 3-pointers in 17 games and is shooting 33-percent from beyond the arc.
“She’s confident because her release has gotten better,” Hood said. “Michaela’s ability to shoot the 3 this year has been phenomenal.”
Hartline admitted that she works on her shooting the most in practice.
“I wasn’t a good 3-point shooter last year,” Hartline said. “My strength this year has been my shooting because I’ve gotten more confidence shooting. At practice, we shoot a lot. After we get done doing drills we shoot for five minutes then we go get a drink. Then, we shoot again.”
Against Cassopolis, Hartline was in an unfamiliar position of coming off the bench — something she did regularly last year as a freshman. Because Hood started his seniors against the Rangers, which was the Bobcats’ regular season home finale, Hartline didn’t enter the game until 6:40 left in the first quarter.
“I was actually relieved that I didn’t have to start,” Hartline said. “It’s nice to get a break every once in awhile. I just wanted to go in and play hard.”
Hartline’s four-point play after getting fouled on a made 3-pointer with :16 left in the first quarter ignited Brandywine. Those points gave the Bobcats a 14-5 lead. It highlighted a 23-8 run by Brandywine, which gave the hosts a 31-8 lead with 3:21 left in the second quarter.
“I thought I did pretty good in the game,” Hartline said. “On defense, I struggled getting my hips turned around. During practice we work on getting our hips around. I want to get better playing defense.”
Hartline has been a fast learner when it comes to playing basketball. She didn’t start playing the sport until the sixth grade when she participated in the American Youth Basketball Tour in Niles.
“I didn’t like basketball then,” Hartline said. “Once I got the hang of it, I started to get more and more into it.”