Buzzer-beater burns Bobcats
By By ROBERT BABLER / Niles Daily Star
BERRIEN SPRINGS -- Even though it is still February, Berrien Springs and Brandywine gave the crowd a little taste of March Madness Tuesday night.
Though double-teamed, Shamrock guard Shelby Wood drained a fade-away 15-footer as time expired to lift the host Shamrocks over the Bobcats 63-61 in Lakeland Conference action.
Not content to simply hit a buzzer-beater, Wood made the shot even more dramatic than it had to be, said Berrien Springs coach Steve Spenner.
The final moment had been set up by Brandywine forward Danny Rauch, who sank a basket to tie the game with 20 seconds to go. This capped a furious run for Brandywine, who had just been down eight points with a minute-and-a-half left in the game.
But successive 3-pointers by guard Andy Low brought the Bobcats within two points.
Bobcat coach Dave Sidenbender thought Low's play was big all night.
The game started out with the Shamrocks jumping out to a 7-2 lead behind a 3-pointer from Vincent Ruhumuliza and two penetration baskets by Trey Lockett.
Lockett scored 23 points and consistently gave the Bobcats fits with his penetration.
With three minutes in the quarter, Bobcat center Brett Shoemaker hit a basket down low to bring his team to within three points, 11-8.
While Lockett gave Brandywine fits, the Bobcats were just as successful in the low post. Shoemaker, and forwards Rauch and Justin Sobecki, combined for 27 points, most of which were in the paint.
Sidenbender said trying to get baskets in the paint was a big part of his game plan, as his team doesn't shoot well from the outside.
In the second quarter, Brandywine seemingly took command of the game. Down 15-14 going into the stanza, and then 19-14 two minutes into the second quarter following a Ruhumuliza basket, the Bobcats went on a 16-1 run to close out the half, primarily on the back of Low, who scored 10 points in the quarter. Brandywine led at the half, 30-20
Berrien Springs responded to the Bobcat domination of the second quarter with domination in the third quarter. Lockett and forward Ryan Williamson each scored nine points to help the Shamrocks outscore Brandywine 26-6, and to take a 46-36 lead into the fourth quarter. Both coaches attributed the scoring swing to their respective teams' intensity level.
In the fourth quarter, Brandywine used a full-court press to create some turnovers to get itself back into the game. With four-and-a-half minutes to go, Brandywine had closed the lead to 50-49 on a Sobecki basket. Berrien Springs opened up a few more six-point leads in the quarter, only to see the Bobcats chip away at them, and then finally tie the game with 20 seconds left.
Low finished with 19 points and Sobecki chipped in 10 for the Bobcats.
Berrien Springs also won the junior varsity game, 72-52.
Brandywine, now 4-13 overall and 2-10 in league play, travels to Bridgman Friday night.