Hartline accepts the challenge

Published 6:14 am Thursday, December 10, 2015

It was a challenge for Brandywine girls basketball player Makenna Hartline to keep her jersey tucked in during the second half of last Friday’s game against Comstock.

“Oh my God,” Hartline said. “My uniform is a large so the jersey pops right out.”

Hustle also contributed to the inconvenience with her movement and hustle. The 5-foot-10 standout grabbed 10 of her 14 rebounds in the second half and had two of her four steals while playing aggressively on defense.

A defensive rebound and a layup going coast to coast by Hartline gave the Bobcats a 36-26 lead with two seconds left in the third quarter. Brandywine wouldn’t look back in posting a hard fought 48-44 win.

Brandywine needed every bit of Hartline’s second half energy as the hosts went into halftime tied with the Colts at 22.

“When we were in the locker room (at halftime) coach (Josh Hood) told us that we needed to start rebounding,” Hartline said. “Their girls got a lot of rebounds in the first half. We just needed to pick up our rebounding. I figured that was my job when I went back in.”

Hartline spent most of the first half on the bench after picking up her second foul with 40 seconds left in the first quarter. She scored four of her six points in the first quarter.

“It was really frustrating,” Hartline said about being on the bench. “I didn’t think I fouled. I just wanted my teammates to pick me up. I also encouraged them while I was on the bench.”

Others tried to pick up the slack with Hartline on the bench, but it isn’t easy to replace the talented senior, who scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Brandywine’s first game of the year on Dec. 1 against

Kalamazoo Loy Norrix. The Bobcats won that game too, 46-31.

“She was a first team all-stater last year and she’ll be a first team all-stater this year,” Hood said. “She’s just a notch above when it comes to athleticism. I thought she did a really good job (against Comstock) of getting to the rim and finishing around the rim. The second chance points that her and her sister (Michaela) created for us (against Comstock) were big for us.”

Being one of the seven seniors on the team, Makenna knows she must take a bigger role when it comes to leadership.

“Last year I provided some leadership,” Makenna said. “This year I really have to step up because the younger players look up to the seniors.”
Normally soft spoken, Makenna was asked if she’s more vocal this year.
“I’m getting there,” she said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time for me to fill that role. I just don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings because our team is really close.”

Hartline is confident that the team will improve, especially offensively. Brandywine shot only 30-percent (16-of-54) from the field and 44-percent (12-of-27) from the free-throw line against Comstock.

“It’s still early in the season,” Makenna said. “Our shots aren’t really falling like they did last year, but we have plenty of season left to improve.”